Several things were missing in the highly-charged events at Parliament yesterday afternoon: decorum, proportionality and good judgment.
The lack of decorum occurred when Labour MP Kelvin Davis chose to sledge Prime Minister John Key on his way into the House by calling him "gutless."
• Key accuses Labour of 'backing rapists'
MPs should have the freedom to walk the corridors of power without being verbally assaulted by anyone, the public, the media, or political opponents.
Certainly anything that impedes an MP's route the House is a prima facie breach.
At a stretch, what Davis did could be close to a breach of privilege - privilege being "the sum of rights enjoyed by the House collectively and by the members individually without which they could not discharge their functions." [Erskine May].
Whether it is a breach or not, it is bad form and Labour leader Andrew Little should condemn it.
But Key's reaction in the House was completely disproportionate to the corridor cat-calling. Way over the top.
When Key accused Labour of supporting rapists and child molesters while he, Key, supported New Zealanders, Labour MPs were entitled to feel deeply offended.
Technically Key is right that Labour have been supporting criminals on Christmas Island, but they have been supporting their legal and human rights.
Key's accusation implied that Labour supported child molestation and Labour supported rape.
When shadow leader of the House Grant Robertson called for the remark to be withdrawn, the Speaker's usually good judgment vanished and he pronounced it acceptable because it was "political debating chamber" and that the whole "House" had to be offended.
In the Speaker's defence, it doesn't help Labour's case that Opposition MPs cry wolf so often to the Speaker, that David Carter may not be able to tell the difference between the pro-forma mock offence that they take, and sincerely- felt offence.
But there is no doubt that today's slur fell into the latter category and for that reason alone, let one to preserve the order of the House, it is inexplicable as to why Carter did not make the Prime Minister withdraw for his comments.
Half of the Labour caucus walked out of the chamber, one by one, and almost all of the women in the caucus. They re-entered en masse to seek leave to move a motion of no-confidence in the Speaker. It only takes one person to object and National objected.
The suggestions by some Labour MPs on Twitter that democracy was at stake was over-reaction and nonsense.
There were plenty of errors in the high drama at Parliament today but there was nothing undemocratic in what occurred.