Monday, March 21, 2011

Reported back

The Commerce Committee has reported back [PDF] on Amy Adams' Fair Trading (Soliciting on Behalf of Charities) Amendment Bill, and recommended a complete substitution of the bill. The bill proposed a statutory regime to force charitable collectors to disclose how much they were keeping, and how much was actually passed on to the charity. The committee decided that this didn't quite work, and has proposed a regulatory power instead. It seems like a workable solution, and I'm hoping the bill will be passed.

However, there is one oddity. First, the new section repeats the now standard principle that the Minister may not prescribe a regulation unless they have consulted with affected parties and considered their views. Then it says that a failure to consult does not affect the validity of the regulation - effectively overturning the principle. The net effect is that the Minister doesn't have to consult or consider, and can ignore the law saying so with impunity. Great work, guys! You've shat on one of our evolving democratic constitutional principles in favour of unreviewable executive authority! Again! And all to pre-empt an expected legal challenge. Really, the Commerce Committee has done us proud today...