It was a momentous day in 1990 when the Australian government decided to permit the broadcast of proceedings in the Australian parliament on free-to-air television.
Since then it has been possible for the electorate to see first hand what elected members get up to in their day jobs.
We can all follow the procedure, the tradition, the ceremony, the banter, the heckling, the bad behaviour, the nodding off after lunch, and the politics.
It is the last bit that interests me.
Tune in to question time and you will see the government field questions on where it stands on the issues of the day. The opposition will poke and prod to unearth the truth, the philosophy that underpins the position. This they will then undermine and deride to make their alternative position seem so much more sensible.
In return the government will fire back proclaiming the logic of their stance and how the alternatives will surely fail.
In short, there will be debate.
And debate will help us all understand the options and form our own opinion. Those of us not able or foolish enough to take in question time live will be able to get a potted summary in the weekend editorials or a sound bite on the news, maybe even head to the blogosphere to see what everyone else thinks.
So what happens when, back in the chamber, you are so afraid of your philosophical position you bury it so far back in your mind that after a while you easily forget what it is.
You now have nothing to defend. No philosophical foundation on which to argue the issue; no weapons or ammunition for a verbal fight and no empathy, compassion or understanding if enlightenment is your gig. You have nothing.
And there is no debate.
Tune in to question time today and what you will witness is a slanging match over nothing more than personality and procedure.
It is simply too painful to watch.
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