Hamel-Smith quite capable of contributing

I generally have a high regard for Reginald Dumas’ opinions and observations but I must confess that on the latest issue concerning Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith he might have strayed off-side.

As I understand the role of Senate President, Mr Hamel-Smith as presiding officer takes no part in the debate and if it comes down to him using his casting vote (in the event that no Independent or Opposition Senators support the bill) he is required by convention to maintain the status quo, i.e., to vote against the bill.

How, therefore, his personal opinions can influence the outcome of the debate has nothing to do with his role as presiding officer.

For Mr Dumas to suggest that unless Mr Hamel-Smith recuses himself from presiding over the debate that he would have shown himself to be unfit to hold the position is, in my opinion, quite harsh and overly judgmental.

Hamel-Smith is entitled to his opinions and has demonstrated during his tenure as Senate President a laudable willingness to express his opinions on constitutional reform. He has a vantage point in the Senate and his observations and experiences have quite rightly influenced his views on how we might do things better. It seems as though Mr Dumas has chosen to overlook these valuable contributions.

A pity.

Jeremy Matouk

via e-mail
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