Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Don't criticise Peter

Did you know it's still a 'crime against Parliament' to bring the House into contempt? Says Speaker Margaret Wilson, "Standing Order 400(n) establishes that the House may treat as a contempt reflections on the character or conduct of a member in the member’s capacity as a member of the House." Doing so might just "breach Parliamentary Privilege" and thereby bring you before the House to answer for your temerity.

Claims the Speaker, this measure exists "to protect members going about the business of the House from unfounded, scurrilous allegations of serious impropriety or corruption."

Oh, the horror! Frankly, I find a day only half-done in which I don't make at least one "allegation of serious impropriety or corruption" against a parliamentarian, so naturally I view this potential curtailment of my freedom to criticise ineptitude and power-lust with some alarm.

This feudal leftover, if you recall, was the Parliamentary Standing Order under which Carmen was hauled before Parliament some few years ago for bringing the House into much-deserved contempt, much in the same fashion as a peasant was once hauled before his Lord for a similar 'crime.'

Why am I telling you this? Because former MP Matt Robson is being hauled before the Privileges Committee in his private capacity for having the temerity to say something rather intemperate about the petulant Peter Dung in his monthly internet newsletter. Petulant Peter, poor lamb, took umbrage at a claim by Robson he voted according to the bidding of the liquor industry. Despite the claim being removed ever-so-swiftly from the net, presumably at the request of the petulant one, the tantrum remains undiminished, and the Dunne One demands satisfaction!

What a plonker. And what a threat to free speech if we can't criticise those like him who ooze self-importance and power-lust.

Idiot/Savant has the details
of the case. Why not get on top of them and then write to Petulant Pete and Speaker Margaret and tell them what you think of their attack on free speech. Peter.Dunne@Parliament.Govt.NZ and Margaret.Wilson@Parliament.Govt.NZ. They can't take us all to task, can they?

LINKS: An abuse of privilege - No Right Turn (Idiot/Savant)
Privilege: Robson-on-Politics/Peter Dunne - Press release, Margaret Wilson, Scoop

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Free Speech


  1. I'm baffled--what else but contempt should one regard parliament with?
    Awe? reverence? respect?

  2. A compelling argument apart from one small fact - its Matt Robson!

  3. Seems I was right when I said on KG's blog that Labour would continue to provide me with things to blog about. And so I am blogging about about my take on this issue, making two posts today.

    As, KG, said contempt is the only deserving way to consider parliament. This whole issue proves it. Oh no me and him are going to get hauled in front of the privallages committee now! :-P

    Seems my Grimeworld stories really are a good idea.

    As I said: Freedom RIP 2006. But even before then it was dying of a chronic illness.

  4. It's not Margaret Wilson's job to ignore standing orders - she made the only decision she could in the circumstances - there is a rule, an MP has complained of a breach of that rule - if there's a case to answer it goes to the Privileges Committee. Simple as that.

  5. "...there is a rule, an MP has complained of a breach of that rule..."

    And the point is to question whether such a rule should exist -- whether our employees should be exempt from our criticism.

    I say "No!"

  6. I agree - I was more taking issue with your assertion that Margaret Wilson was attacking free speech.


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