Case for parliamentary reform
It is clear that the "blame game" in respect of Section 34 continues unabated with the former justice minister, Herbert Volney, now pointing fingers at one of his former colleagues while absolving the Attorney General.
At the same time, the Leader of the Opposition, seemingly buttressed by a motley band of supporters whose only stated nexus is removal of the AG from office, is again threatening yet another march. Lawyers are now also coming out of their proverbial "cubbyholes" and seeking to assign blame.
Perhaps even more ludicrous in this "blame game" is the spectacle of MPs, both of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, continuing to blame themselves for inadvertently giving their assent unanimously to the infamous Section "on the nod", in the wee hours of the morning.
Where will it end?
This debacle would have been avoided had the composition and modus operandi of the Parliament been of such a nature as to allow for indepth scrutiny of all intended pieces of legislation in order that the "general will" of the population may be reflected therein. constitutional reform, moreso parliamentary reform, is required urgently. I propose the following:
(a) The Senate should be converted into a genuine revising chamber with a vastly increased membership of not less than 60, say;
(b) The automatic "built-in" majority which the Government enjoys in the Senate should be dispensed with;
(c) Professional bodies, including the legal profession, as well as civil society, should be represented in the Senate;
(d) A certain number of seats in the Senate should be reserved for political parties which would be reperesented proportionally in accordance with a formula which allocates such seats based on the number of votes which individual parties would have received in the preceding general elections, such representation being drawn from a previously declared slate;
(e) Composition of the House of Representatives is, of course, a separate matter;
(f) The Parliament should be provided with well-trained interdisciplinary research staff to be at the disposal of MPs;
( g) Finally, the Office of the Leader of the Opposition should also be adequately staffed, such office being located within the precincts of the Parliament itself.
Errol OC Cupid