Monday, February 26, 2007

Smacking bill to get another suggested amendment

United Future is going to use one of their policies to suggest an amendment to Sue Bradford's smacking bill which, as the policy incorrectly implies, would mean that if both the amendment and the bill passed, the bill would only be enacted if it got more than 60 percent of the Parliamentary vote. If the bill passes by less than a 60% majority, it will automatically go to a public referendum if the United Future amendment is accepted by Parliament. The idea is that a Parliamentary vote reflects the will of the people and it makes referendums of this nature binding on Parliament.

But it is not the way to do it. United Future's amendment is impossible to pass.

MPs may not think that a 60 percent vote to enact certain bills only is democratic, particularly MPs who conscience voted for the bill and the bill passed with fewer than 60 percent of the Parliamentary vote. United Future appears to think that their votes would effectively be vetoed by the United Future amendment until a subsequent referendum is passed. That will not be the case.

But all votes for the United Future amendment will be effectively vetoed. And that's the thing. If the super majority clause passes and then the bill passes with less than that super majority, then that super majority clause is not enacted until a referendum either.

Meaning the amended bill can still pass with 50 percent plus one vote and the amendment wont mean a damn thing until after the election.

Of course the amendment won't concern Labour MPs, they don't conscience vote on issues like the Bradford bill. So like their attitude to conscience votes, they'll thumb their collective noses at this amendment too, as will the Greens and all other thinking MPs.

update Well, I have been emailed the SOP by a United Future MP who read my blog post. They have found a nifty way around the problem of self-contradiction with a recommendation that the first couple of sections of the bill pass on one day and the guts of it if upon the passage of a referendum at the next election, f there is no supermajority. So, lets hope there is no supermajority and MPs consider this SOP cerefully. However, I suspect they won't vote for it.

Now, if only the UF staffer who initially spoke to me about this SOP was up with the play.

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