Politicians often question the competence of their rivals but it’s less often that members of the same party do so.
Bruce Atkinson, president of the state upper house, seemed to do just that recently when he queried planning minister Matthew Guy’s competence to answer planning questions.
Greens MLC Greg Barber was on his feet asking Mr Guy about several Darebin Council planning decisions. After rowdy interjections from the chamber, Mr Atkinson made an unfortunate slip of the tongue.
‘‘I’m concerned about the extent and the scope of this question in terms of the minister’s capacity or competence to answer that question,’’ thundered Mr Atkinson from the big chair.
He was quick to reassure Mr Guy he meant no harm.
‘‘I have absolutely no reservations about the competence of this minister,’’ he added.
‘‘The context in which I used the word ‘competence’ is the question of whether or not this falls within the minister’s jurisdiction and responsibility.’’