Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Terrorism and sedition

The Crimes (Repeal of Seditious Offences) Amendment Bill passed its committee stage this afternoon, 112 - 7, and according to the provisional Order Paper is now set down for its third reading tomorrow. So, I'll be hitching a bus to Wellington, to see it go through. After which, I shall have to drink something to the memory of Peter Fraser, Harry Holland, Rua Kenana, Te Whiti and Tohu, Paddy Webb, Tim Selwyn and all the other stirrers, troublemakers, and dissidents who have been victimised by this unjust law.

The bill is second on the Order Paper, which allowing for the usual general debate on Wednesdays probably means debate will start after dinner. As for what's ahead of it, it seems the government has decided that its a good idea after all to debate the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill against the backdrop of a terrorism scare. It's an extraordinarily cynical move, but I guess they figured that the longer they waited, the stronger the public backlash would be, and that a rapid passage is the best way to head off growing public calls for the bill to be amended to conform with basic standards of justice and human rights. On the plus side, it means the Maori Party and the Greens will be able to rip into it - though they'll be hard pressed to top Hone Harawira's speech from this afternoon. Still, I'm sure they'll be willing to give it a go...