Monday, October 11, 2004

Democratic transparency III

Don Brash has responded to my query regarding National party whips refusal to disclose who had voted which way on the recent Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill:

Your comment surprised me, and I have been investigating the matter. Individual votes should be recorded, and I will be endeavouring to find our why this is not happening. Thanks for drawing this to my attention.

Not much of a response, but it at least acknowledges the requirement for transparency. Hopefully he'll publish a list in a few days.

There has been no word yet from either Peter Dunne or Rodney Hide.

Wednesday's Hansard is now on the web, and it does not record who voted which way. Peter Brown's complaint about secret voting is near the end, directly above the debate on part 4 of the bill (click here and scroll upwards). From the look of it, the Business Select Committee recently agreed to abrogate democratic oversight and allow MPs to vote secretly without recording names. It's also interesting to note that Simon Power was very very careful to ensure that things were being done in secret before any voting actually took place. I guess he felt he had something to hide.

This is simply unacceptable - it is a deliberate attempt by our representatives to hide their votes from us so that they cannot be punished for them. It is simply untenable in an open democracy for an MP to say, as National Whip Lindsay Tisch said on Wednesday night, that:

We have written proxies from our members, which I hold here. I am not prepared to divulge who voted which way. I have cast the votes with the leave of the House for a split vote, and it is certainly not my intention to divulge the information about our members’ preferences.

Tisch's email is Why not email him and ask him what he's trying to hide?