Friday, May 15, 2020

Some belated scrutiny

On Wednesday morning, Parliament passed the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020. Because it was passed under urgency, the Act did not receive the usual select committee scrutiny. But today the government moved a motion to have it scrutinised by the Finance and Expenditure Committee, with a report-back date of 27 July - just a few days before the Act's first 90-day renewal comes up for a vote.

This is a good move, and I'm glad to see it happen. However, under the circumstances I would have preferred to see it scrutinised by the (opposition-dominated) Epidemic Response Committee - both because of the Act's subject matter, and because the committee's membership will mean it will receive far better scrutiny than in the busy, government-dominated FEC. Still, the bill will be looked at, and hopefully the public will be given the opportunity for submissions we were denied when it mattered.