Alan Jones has received an official “bless you” response from the Australian parliament after sneezing on air during his radio show earlier this week. The bless you is proposed to be officially read out at an unprecedented joint sitting of parliament next week.
The motion to bless Jones’ sneeze initially achieved bipartisan support after a short debate in the lower house. The debate was inconsequential and revolved around a question by Education Minister Christopher Pyne, who suggested maybe it should be a parliamentary Gesundheit, which was just as respectful and may appeal slightly more because of the humorous element.
The suggestion was rejected by the mostly Christian parliament.
The on air sneeze came as Jones responded to criticism that he has too much sway over Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the federal government. Recently, the government reversed a decision to grant a lease for the construction of an aged care facility in Mosman. Many have pointed to Jones’ involvement in protesting the development as the primary reason for the backflip.
In response, Jones said: “The approval has been revoked and I did have some role in this. Yes, I did. Do I apologise for it? No I… (achooo!), don’t.”
When asked to comment on Jones’ reaction, Prime Minister Abbott responded: “No he doesn’t have any undue influence over me, why what else did he say, does he like me?”
The Opposition leader issued a statement saying that Labor supported the motion and stood ready with a hanky should Jones require it.
Upon hearing of the opposition’s support Abbott declared, “Well if the opposition support it then we are opposed to the motion.”
Shorten then reaffirmed bipartisanship on the issue by withdrawing support for the motion that Abbott introduced, which led Abbott to change his mind and begin supporting the motion again. Shorten started supporting the motion again and, well, this could take a while.
They were last spotted in parliament debating on the intricacies of the issue saying “We’re for it!”, “well then we’re against it,”, “well then we’re against it”, “well then we’re for it,” “you can’t be for it we’re for it,” “yes we can,” “no you can’t, “yes we can”, “no you can’t”…