Milton Dick, the man who was once booted out of parliament for bringing in Muppets is now in charge of the whole show.
The House of Representatives elected the Queensland Labor MP as its new Speaker during the first sitting on Tuesday.
One of his key qualifications for the role – being on the Speakers’ panel, a list of people able to chair debate in the lower house – was almost brought undone by a question time prank.
Dick and his then-desk buddy Luke Gosling were thrown out of the chamber in 2018 for bringing a set of Muppet dolls into question time, which they waved around in front of cameras. Former Speaker Tony Smith was not amused and ejected the pair for their antics.
Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Leader of the House Tony Burke thanked Smith for subsequently agreeing to put Dick on the Speaker’s panel roster despite the blight on his record.
“It was possibly a difficult thing to put you on the Speaker’s panel, and I should confess to the parliament that that was my fault,” Burke said.
“It was entirely my idea that you do that. You were chosen on the basis that, at that point, you were the only member of the caucus who had not yet been thrown out. So, while it was disorder, it was disorder on the basis that you, to that point, for an opposition member, had been too respectful of the system.”
The Muppets were a reference to a comment by Scott Morrison soon after he took over the prime ministership from Malcolm Turnbull. He had said during a television interview “the curtains have come down on that Muppet Show and an absolute new curtain has lifted up”.