Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No urgency

It looks like the government has backed off from its plan to push for urgency in hearing the remaining stages of Sue Bradford's Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Bill. Good. While I want to see the bill passed, there's no compelling need for urgency, and no justification for interfering in the normal democratic process.

Meanwhile, in its quest to pad out an increasingly thin Order Paper, the government has been reduced to fillibustering itself. Last Thursday they took repeated speaking calls on the Criminal Procedure Bill simply to drag it out, while today the chief item of government business is a motion that the House

endorses the Family Support Tax Credit increase of $10.00 per week per child that comes into force on 1 April 2007.

With 10 minute speeches, and a subject ripe for attacking the Opposition, it ought to waste an hour or so.

They've also found another way of padding out the government Order Paper: plundering the Member's bills. Lynne Pillay's Human Rights (Women in Armed Forces) Amendment Bill is now a government bill in the name of Lianne Dalziel. Arguably it should have been a government bill all along, and I guess they don't have the excuse of being "too busy" any longer...


Given some of the legislation (Proceeds of Crime, etc) this government wants to introduce, having an empty order paper might not be a bad thing.

I don't think there's a majority for very much progressive legislation in this house anyway - although to my surprise the anti-child beating bill has got support from some unlikely quarters.

If I was Labour, my number one priority would be to reform public service / SOE accountability. Treating the functions of government as if they were private business is clearly not working. Unfortunately I think many in Labour just don't see this.

Posted by Rich : 3/27/2007 01:10:00 PM

As I've said before in comments on this blog, I hardly think that the number of Bills on the Order Paper is a fair measure of the govt's performance. Not all problems are solved by legislation. We also need to keep in mind that under MMP legislation is supposed to take longer to pass.

Wait till changes to the Electoral Act come up for debate, that will really set the House alight!

Posted by Chris : 3/27/2007 11:21:00 PM

I think the bill should just be allowed to take its course, the backlash from an urgency passing could very well see a right wing government in power in 2008.

At least this section 59 bill has sparked a major debate in the way we treat our children and the level of child abuse in this country, which, both supporters and opponents can agree on, is sorely needed in this country, and regardless of how the bill goes, we will be better for it...

In the meantime, the government should set up a Royal Commission with wide ranging powers to fully investigate our child abuse rates.

Posted by Anonymous : 3/28/2007 12:50:00 PM