iPads approved in new parliament paradigm

Following a thumbs up on the use of laptops and other mobile devices in the parliamentary chamber from Speaker Harry Jenkins yesterday, new Labor MP for Chifley Ed Husic today read his maiden speech straight from his iPad.

Following a thumbs up on the use of laptops and other mobile devices in the parliamentary chamber from Speaker Harry Jenkins yesterday, new Labor MP for Chifley Ed Husic today read his maiden speech straight from his iPad.

Parliament

Malcolm Turnbull arrives in parliament
with iPad in hand (Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

Jenkins spoke of the use of laptops and mobile devices in parliament late yesterday following allegations that outspoken Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella was "bullying" National MP Tony Crook in parliament by photographing him using her mobile phone. Crook had sided with the government in a division on health reform legislation.

"Earlier this year a matter of privilege was raised concerning the apparent use of a mobile phone to take a photograph of a member during proceedings," he said. "I iterate comments I made at the time: the taking of a photograph by a member during proceedings would indeed be outside the guidelines for photography in the chamber — the guidelines do not even contemplate the taking of photographs of members by other members"

While opposing taking photos, Jenkins was overall in favour of using technology in parliament.

"Like speakers Andrew and Hawker, I have felt that members should be able to use laptops and mobile devices in the chamber in ways that enable them to make more efficient use of their time, but in ways which do not infringe on the rights of others and the ability of the house to operate; the misuse of mobile phones or other devices has the potential to contribute to lowering the standing of the house," he added.

"I am confident that members generally would share my concerns in these matters. I would hope that we will be mature enough to allow members to make good use of modern technology, but resolute in rejecting inappropriate use of the devices that are available to us," he said.

Given the all-clear, Husic revealed that he would rise to read his first speech in parliament from his iPad, and did so at about 1:15pm today.

"So I'm gonna take a leap today and read my inaugural off my iPad. I can't take pictures off it so the speaker won't ping me," Husic tweeted this morning.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has frequently used his iPad in parliament and has even been known to respond to tweets while sitting on the Opposition front bench.

The use of technology in parliament has had its share of controversy, too; last year Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey was criticised by Treasurer Wayne Swan for tweeting during Question Time.

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