Wednesday, August 02, 2023

More petulance from Andrew Little

Back in June, the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee reported back on the Inspector-General of Defence Bill, making numerous improvements. But Defence Minister Andrew Little said "fuck transparency" and petulantly undid them. Now it looks like he's going to do a repeat performance. The same committee has reported back on the Immigration (Mass Arrivals) Amendment Bill, delivering a unanimous report that it was unnecessary and that it not be passed. They recognised that the bill undermined our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and international human rights law, and effectively criminalised seeking asylum. Andrew Little's response? It's the committee and submitters who are wrong:

Little vowed to continue progressing the bill despite the select committee’s concerns. He said classified information, which the committee heard, would explain the need for this law change.

He reprimanded the select committee on Tuesday, saying there was something “seriously wrong” with it.


Little said the committee had failed to adequately consider “legislation dealing with a pretty serious potential national security risk”.

...Or maybe his bill really was an ill-considered power grab which infringed fundamental human rights without any justification - and one so awful that even the authoritarians in the National Party could see it (you know you're in trouble when the National Party is acting as your conscience...)

Unfortunately, thanks to single-majority government, Little will probably get his way. He'll convince Cabinet, Cabinet will whip the Labour caucus, and that's 61 votes. The actual merits simply don't come into when one party holds a majority. Which means the sooner this aberration is over and we can get back to the checks and balances of normal consensual MMP politics, the better.