Duncan Garner: I've never seen a Speaker stoop this low - and only Jacinda Ardern can control it

OPINION: Parliament descended into farcical scenes on Tuesday night - of which I have never witnessed before. 

Speaker Trevor Mallard, Parliament's most highly ranked official who is meant to be above and beyond reproach and a judge of the rules, took to the floor to double down on his claims of sexual assault against a former Parliamentary staff member.

This is extraordinary because Mallard's initial claim of rape in 2019 didn't stack up, and ended up costing taxpayers $300,000 in a payout to the staffer falsely accused and the staffer was forced to quit his job.

Mallard's playing the game the only way he knows how; a brutal, confrontational approach - basically re-accusing the man of sexual assault.

I have never seen a Speaker take the floor of Parliament like that and use his privileged position like that to settle a score. 

And he has legal immunity too by saying it inside the chamber.

It really is bully boy stuff - Mallard was acting like a maverick Opposition MP seeking revenge. National's Chris Bishop says he's unfit for the job.

In the 26 years I have followed and reported on Parliament, I never saw a Speaker stoop to this hit-man approach.

Only Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern can control that - I can't imagine Ardern is impressed.

But Mallard won't walk away - Ardern will have to move him on and that would require Labour MPs to vote with National and against Mallard. 

No chance - the most Ardern will do is have a quiet word in his ear. 

Parliament stands on a knife-edge.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.