Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The bully pulpit

Larry "Seething" Baldock has submitted his latest CIR question to the Clerk of the House, as Idiot/Savant reports. Apparently, this is standard procedure. The Clerk is now inviting comment on whether the question should be such as to:
• convey clearly the purpose and effect of the indicative referendum,


• ensure that only one of two answers may be given to the question.
So, what happened last time? Why did we spend all that money and effort on a question that made no sense?

This time, at least, Mr Baldock's purpose is clear: "Should Citizens Initiated Referenda seeking to repeal or amend a law be binding?" He wants a CIR about CIRs, a meta-CIR if you will. Having failed to bully the Government into overturning the "anti-smacking" legislation by means of a referendum which almost half the elecorate ignored, he wants to make his silly stunts mandatory. Before us, we see a political landscape of constant referenda, on any subject which irks Mr Baldock and his miserable band of Christian Rightists. Doubtless, he would try again to have the Prostitution Reform Act abolished; doubtless too, he or others like him would try to have abortion made illegal and capital punishment revived.

It may be worth noting that we live in one of the world's most democratic countries, with short-term Parliaments elected by proportional representation. Despite this, the Christian Right's attempts to establish a bloc in Parliament have failed, because the electorate do not want that sort of thing. So Mr Baldock wants to force his odious views through by binding referenda on questions that he sets, aided by the forces of talkback radio and the grumpy old men who dominate public opinion.

I wish he would go away.


George said...

Four percent did, in 1996. Shudder.

Anonymous said...

The CIR Act explicitly allows for nonbinding referenda only, so the result of such a nonbinding referenda on binding referenda would also be nonbinding.

Repeal the CIR Act 1993, I say...

Craig Y.

PS: Baldock is obviously unaware of the CIRS in Oregon and Washington that decriminalised physician assisted suicide. Do I see pressure points in the Christian Right between fundies and conservative Catholics over this...???