Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The first secret bill

The ETS has just passed its third reading, and the government has introduced its first secret bill from the urgency motion: the Policing (Constable's Oaths Validation) Amendment Bill. Its not online yet, but from the Minister's speech, it retrospectively validates a failure by police to swear in their constables properly for a year (caused by the law change - the new Policing Act has different procedures, but the hidebound police kept doing things the old way).

This is a classic urgent patch-up bill, and there is a clear case for urgency through all three stages to pass it. However, there was no case to keep even the title of the bill secret from the House and the public. It seems that Brownlee simply has a pathological case of secrecy.

I'm also wondering how those in the sewer who so vigorously opposed retrospective validation just a few years ago, calling it unconstitutional and inherently abusive, will react to this bill. Will they be consistent and condemn it? Somehow, I think not.