Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Robson Replies

Matt Robson has replied to the Privileges Committee's attempt to resurrect the ancient monarchical abuse of lese majeste - and being a nice guy rather than a rabid freedom of speech advocate, he's willing to apologise. On the other hand, he also lays bare the committee's hypocrisy and the effect on Parliament's standing:

Mr Robson had no problem with unreservedly apologising to Mr Dunne however. Mr Robson noted that now that the Committee had decided its punishment he looked forward to Helen Clark referring Don Brash to the Privileges Committee for Dr Brash's comments about the 'corrupt Labour government'.

Mr Robson was however concerned that members of the Committee had inferred that he had lowered Parliaments' standing in the eyes of the public.

"I can't claim the credit for that," he informed Scoop.

Unfortunately, you need to be an MP to raise a complaint of privilege - otherwise I think it would be worth lodging one on both issues. They'd be dismissed of course - but that would simply show the inherently political nature of Parliamentary privilege. Which is yet another reason to get rid of it - it is bad enough that they claim the right to restrict what we can say about them beyond the bounds of ordinary defamation law; it is worse when you consider that they are engaging in what are effectively selective and politically motivated prosecutions of their opponents. We disapprove of this sort of oppression when it occurs in Singapore, and we should not tolerate it here. It is time we put our Parliament on a leash.

The Committee's report is first on the Order Paper, and will be debated immediately after Question Time. National Radio's net feed was playing up yesterday, so people may have to rely on an old and outdated form of technology, which uses (so I am told) broadcast electromagnetic radiation. It's almost like carrier pigeons...