So the embattled Speaker of the House faces a grilling today as he fronts to Parliament’s governance and administration select committee. The Wellington inquisition. Whether it turns out to be just a dog and pony show remains to be seen, but I suspect they could sell tickets to it.
One strand to this scandal is likely to be seized on by Trevor Mallard. That being that the former Deputy Speaker, Anne Tolley, signed off on the legal financial support and the fiscal envelope to settle this defamation action. She received plenty of official advice, including from Crown Law, who don’t appear to have considered Mallard’s outrageous claims on state-radio as wreckless.
But Tolley’s role is actually a side show, a potential distraction. Fully expect the Labour members of this select committee to try and run plenty of interference.
The question remains – should Trevor Mallard resign as Speaker? And the answer is YES.
It’s completely disingenuous for the Prime Minister to opine that the Opposition’s loss in confidence is regular behaviour. Or that votes of no confidence in the Speaker routinely happen. Rubbish.
This is a man who has repeatedly acted appallingly. And egregiously.
He refused to accept fault for over 18 months. He has failed to explain himself to the House. He timed his written apology for the Royal Commission release. He has cost us a bomb. And he’s has compounded his perception as a hot-head, devoid of the dignity the Speaker’s chair demands. He also serves at the government’s will. God didn’t appoint him.
Jacinda Ardern says he made a mistake. No Prime Minister, he’s made a mockery of the Office of the Speaker. And contrition hasn’t come easily.
Maybe Mallard will turn on the taps, the tears, the humility and the remorse today. Maybe he will try to. But I think its more likely he will go off-piste, lose his rag, lash out and poison his well even further.
He’s a bully who has destroyed a man’s life. His lingering presence reflects on Labour’s character.
Trevor’s credibility as Speaker remains terminal.