Ripon MP Louise Staley ejected from parliament for interjecting during a debate over the state government Anzac Day poll

Veterans march during Ararat's 2013 Anzac Day parade. Picture: PETER PICKERING
Veterans march during Ararat's 2013 Anzac Day parade. Picture: PETER PICKERING

Ripon MP Louise Staley was ejected from parliament on Tuesday for repeatedly interjecting during a debate over the state government commissioning a poll on Anzac Day ceremonies.

On Sunday, it was reported that the state government commissioned a poll that asked if Anzac Day should recognise Aborigines attacked by early settlers.

“I’m confident the people of Ripon want me to advocate for Australia Day, ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day to remain as they are,” Ms Staley posted on social media after being ordered to leave the chamber temporarily. 

“(Premier) Daniel Andrews needs to stop trashing our values,” 

Historians estimate that about 20,000 Indigenous people and 2000 Europeans died in direct fighting between 1788 and 1934.

A University of Newcastle record of Aboriginal massacres shows three such incidents in the region, including at Lake Bolac where 11 Gai wurrung or Djabwurrung people died in late 1859.  

The government’s online poll reportedly targeted 500 participants.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy asked Mr Andrews about the poll in parliament.

“Why are you showing such disrespect to all of those who lost their lives defending Australia and its values by undertaking polling that questions the very nature of Anzac Day and supports the undermining of our most sacred national day?” Mr Guy said.

When Mr Andrews began to answer and referenced the privilege of attended Anzac Day dawn services at the Shrine of Remembrance, Ms Staley and other Coalition MPs started interrupting. 

Lower house speaker Colin Brooks issued warnings, saying that he would “not tolerate this level of shouting across the chamber.”

Premier Daniel Andrews in Parlaiment on Tuesday for the first sitting day of 2018. Photo: Justin McManus

Premier Daniel Andrews in Parlaiment on Tuesday for the first sitting day of 2018. Photo: Justin McManus

Mr Andrews went on to say that there would “be no changes to any aspect of Anzac Day.”

“It is my view, and the view and policy of the government, that there is no need to change any aspect of Anzac Day,” he said.

Mr Andrews did not respond directly to questions about who had authorised the poll and how much it had cost.

About 15 minutes later, Mr Guy asked Mr Andrews why he was “refusing to legislate to ensure councils recognise Australia Day on 26 January”.

In response, Mr Andrews made references to a widely circulated photo of Mr Guy appearing to use his smartphone during last month’s Australia Day parade.

“I think the vast majority of people that were at that town hall and town halls across Victoria — all sorts of occasions, all sorts of community celebrations — were far more focused,” Mr Andrews said.

At that point Ms Staley interjected again and, having been warned multiple times previously, was ordered to leave the chamber for one hour.

Ms Staley was the third most ejected member of parliament in 2017, according to a tally kept by News Corp.

Tuesday was the first sitting day for parliament for the year.

This story Ripon MP ejected during Anzac and Australia Day debate first appeared on The Ararat Advertiser.