Shoeless, shirtless, breathless, Aussie lawmakers still vote
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Half-dressed, panting and disheveled, the lawmakers jolted awake by a middle-of-the-night vote were applauded by colleagues as they raced into an Australian state Parliament.
The Queensland lawmakers were quite the sight as they ran onto the floor of Parliament in Brisbane in bare feet, shorts and T-shirts on Thursday. One lawmaker managed to throw on a jacket but lacked a shirt.
The vote was called suddenly about 2:30 a.m. because opposition lawmaker Jeff Seeney was refused permission to give an unscheduled speech.
Several lawmakers caught unaware rushed back to the chamber from a nearby accommodation block in various stages of undress.
Lawmakers who were not caught napping laughed and applauded their panting colleagues while a government minister questioned Speaker Peter Wellington whether the shirtless man in a jacket complied with dress regulations.
Wellington allowed the irregular attire and advised lawmakers to get to the chamber to vote as quickly as possible.
Seeney lost his motion to speak before Parliament was adjourned at 3 a.m.
Seeney said he wanted to speak because a deputy speaker had denied him and other opposition lawmakers opportunities to debate a bill hours earlier.
The government holds a minority of seats in Parliament so the opposition hopes to highlight its tenuous grip on power by winning the occasional vote.