Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Parliament's ugly, outdated protocols

Today Trevor Mallard resigned as Speaker, so he could go off to a corruptly-appointed diplomatic sinecure as a retirement package. Which meant Parliament today began with a humiliating "order" from the Governor-General to elect a replacement. It was entirely ceremonial and unnecessary; our House has its own processes around this, and does not need to be "ordered" by the unelected representative of a foreign monarch to follow them. It can (and should) just elect someone and tell the Governor-General to lump it.

But this is a powerful reminder that many of our political protocols and ceremonies were inherited from an age of absolute monarchy, when power and legitimacy flowed downwards from a monarch supposedly appointed by a god. In modern Aotearoa, we recognise the reality that they flow upwards from the people. And we should change those outdated protocols and ceremonies to reflect that reality, rather than the archiac views of early seventeenth-century England.