Two veteran political observers struggle to justify the existence of Parliament in a review of the session just passed. “I found most of the debate and discussion in Parliament pretty trivial. It’s posturing, name-calling, bullying, threatening, and all too often mean-spirited and nasty as well,” says professor Ned Franks. But it is not just the tone that was dispiriting, it was the relative lack of legislative accomplishment—relatively little of substance happening after Parliament dealt with the government’s massive budget. “The government introduced a relatively small number of bills, half of which got royal assent. Of those that did receive approval, a number of them were routine estimates approval and one of them was the budget. There wasn’t a lot of impressive ones when you think beyond the routine business,” says David Mitchell, president of the Public Policy Forum.