Roach: Consult with people on ‘PR’
Anna Ramdass firstname.lastname@example.org
Independent Senator Hugh Ian Roach said he could not support the Government’s move to proportional representation (PR) in the local government system, as he believes there should be consultation with the people on the issue.
In his contribution to the Municipal Corporations Amendment Bill, 2013, at the Senate sitting on Tuesday, Roach made it clear he had reservations with the bill and questioned the Government’s haste.
“I think if we are going to introduce something for the benefit, hopefully, of the population, I think they ought to be properly informed as to what this measure is all about, what proportional representation is all about,” he said.
He pointed out that the Government has been engaging the population on constitutional reform, and suggested proportional representation could have formed part of this initiative.
Rushing proportional representation though local government may be littered with a lot of pitfalls, he said.
“We do not want this to be a repeat of section 34, you know... As much as well-intended, this may be in terms of bringing about a better level representation to a broader sector of the population in terms of having a say in a more direct way into the politics and the choice of representative at the local level.
“Yet still, I think that the education programme ought to be engaged in making the population more aware of what is this new change about,” said Roach.
He said in principle, he did not have an objection to moving forward with proportional representing with constitutional reform.
“But bringing it into the form of an amendment to the Municipal Corporations Act, I do have concerns and I do have reservations in supporting it in that regard. In a different time or on a different occasion, after fruitful discussions with the country, with the population, with the voters who have to benefit from this, I certainly would be more inclined to support it in its broader sense. But in this limited sense, I certainly, Mr President, have my reservations,” said Roach.