Armstrong on Labour’s day of shame

August 6th, 2011 at 10:59 am by David Farrar

writes in the NZ Herald:

The Party does not have very much cause to feel grateful for anything right now. But it should get down on bended knee and thank the Almighty that hardly anybody would have been watching Parliament late on Wednesday afternoon.

Anyone doing so would have witnessed a spectacle which would immediately have brought several words to mind – words such as pitiful, pathetic, embarrassing and disgraceful.

You can watch for yourself at In the House.

What matters now is that last Wednesday things shifted from straight to pure farce. The only characters needed to make this Trevor Mallard-orchestrated protest a complete pantomime were Chuckles the Clown and Dorothy the Dinosaur.

Labour not only demeaned itself, again – something it is perfectly at liberty to do – it also demeaned Parliament, and that is unacceptable.

For the best part of an hour, Labour MPs raised timewasting points of order and forced a series of pointless votes to try to stop debate on Roy’s bill from even starting.

Labour made repeated demands that Speaker Lockwood Smith be recalled to the chamber to rule on decisions made by National’s Eric Roy, who was chairing the House.

This went beyond the ridiculous by including decisions from Roy (no relation to Heather Roy) granting those very Labour MPs the call to speak in the debate – a perverse case of deliberately biting the hand that feeds.

Next time Labour protests the use of urgency, they should be reminded of this.

Some of the Labour MPs caught up in this episode must now surely regret it.

One such MP, Wellington Central’s Grant Robertson, felt obliged to post a lengthy explanation on Red Alert, the Labour MPs’ blog.

He made no apology for the ways in which Labour was trying to stop Roy’s bill. He admitted it was “unedifying” – surely the understatement of the week – but claimed it was all part and parcel of parliamentary practice.

Well, no. A clear line can be drawn between trying to delay a measure’s progress through Parliament by filibuster and trying to find and exploit gaps, loopholes and apparent anomalies in Parliament’s rules to subvert the will of the majority. Labour crossed that line.

On top of that, Labour’s filibustering has denied other parties’ MPs the opportunity to get their own private member’s bills – some of which are worthy measures deserving of enactment – on to the order paper.

That is unfair. But it is symptomatic of Labour’s lingering arrogance from its years in power.

Incredibly, it continues to try to pull the wool over voters’ eyes by promising to bring in private member’s bills to block things such as National’s plans for partial state asset sales. Such talk is poppycock. Such bills would first have to be lucky enough to be drawn in the ballot which determines which bills get on to the order paper.

In the last ballot, 24 bills were vying for a lone spot.

Furthermore, there has not been a ballot since November last year. No prizes for guessing who is responsible for that.

This has been the delicious irony. Labour have blocked every single Labour and Green private members bill from progressing, in their desire to ensure their mates retain compulsory funding. And it has all been for nothing.

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47 Responses to “Armstrong on Labour’s day of shame”

  1. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    Perhaps the Labour Party is right, democracy doesn’t work.

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  2. Yeti (49 comments) says:

    The wheels are falling off their bus.

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  3. lofty (1,317 comments) says:

    As I posted in GD.
    I would not mind betting that the Lbour MP’s and in particular the shadow leader of the house, are secretly feeling somewhat embarressed by the beating John Armstrong gave them this morning, and rightly so, it was disgraceful conduct and brought the house in to great disrepute.

    Shame on the lot of them.

    I want a parliament which has a robust opposition, not a bunch of petulant children, this has just strengthened my resolve never to go back to voting for these frauds as long as my brown wrinkle points south!

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  4. mikenmild (12,340 comments) says:

    Wow – five posts on students’ associations in a week – including the hyperbolic ‘Freedom moves closer’. This really must be the most critical issue of our times.

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  5. BeaB (2,164 comments) says:

    Add that embarrassing display of childish deceit by Carmel Sepuloni and you can only conclude there is no leadership and the idiots are running the asylum. Give her her due, Helen’s management would have stopped this nonsense before it started and John Key is an exceptional leader who would never tolerate such disarray. You have to hope some of them feel some shame though I doubt it when I see Claire Curran making such an ass of herself too. Trevor Mallard no longer makes any sensible contribution to the House. He turns it into an interminable PPTA meeting with endless points of order. How did this rabble ever run the country? That’s a rhetorical question of course.

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  6. Viking2 (11,672 comments) says:

    Well the Labour Party seem to think so! 8)

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  7. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    Wow – five posts on students’ associations in a week – including the hyperbolic ‘Freedom moves closer’. This really must be the most critical issue of our times.

    Freedom? Yes. You’re right. It is.

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  8. mikenmild (12,340 comments) says:

    Heather Roy for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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  9. reid (16,683 comments) says:

    …in their desire to ensure their mates retain compulsory funding…

    You mean their young retain our compulsory funding of them.

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  10. Psycho Milt (2,423 comments) says:

    A clear line can be drawn between trying to delay a measure’s progress through Parliament by filibuster and trying to find and exploit gaps, loopholes and apparent anomalies in Parliament’s rules to subvert the will of the majority.

    Er, what? Apart from the clear line between a Labour opposition doing it and a National opposition doing it, which is Armstrong’s real beef with this instance of filibustering, is there some other line? One that exists outside his imagination, I mean.

    Next time Labour protests the use of urgency, they should be reminded of this.

    More to the point: next time you’re defending National’s misuse of urgency, you should be reminded of this – and how you called it a “day of shame.”

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  11. burt (7,424 comments) says:

    Labour have blocked every single Labour and Green private members bill from progressing, in their desire to ensure their mates retain compulsory funding. And it has all been for nothing.

    Would you expect anything else from the self serving muppets. Their entire recruitment process is under threat, the river of other peoples money they get to use for their own self serving purposes might dry up….

    What possible good outcome is there for a socialist party if the lifeblood of socialism (the ability to force the many to fund the few) is taken away.

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  12. lofty (1,317 comments) says:

    You can spin it in your own mind as much as you like Psycho Milt.
    The fact of the matter is (and I watched all the tapes) it was a disgraceful display and worthy of being called A day of shame.
    Sepuloni in particular does not deserve the priviledge of sitting in our house of representatives, that is unless she is representing petulant, rude self centered children.
    Mallard is a disgrace also, along with being inept, & Robertson just came across as inept.

    Shameful display!

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  13. s.russell (1,649 comments) says:

    On a (rare) visit to Wellington earlier this year I decided to amuse myself by attending the Public Gallery.
    I was actually quite shocked by the behaviour of Labour MPs. Their only argument was shouting. They were behaving like schoolchildren. And this was not some major debate – it ws just routine House business on non-controversial local bills.
    It seems they have only become worse. And they think (or claim to think) they ought to be running the country.

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  14. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    You have to love it when the leftards surface and bleat because posters on KB point out the obvious: their beloved party has become a bunch of bad mannered and potty mouthed kids who not only stamp and shout when they don’t get their way, but they also tell lies.

    Sepuloni is just one good reason to reconsider corporal punishment in schools and discipline in the home (without fear of the neighbour calling the Police).

    In the House this week, she exemplified some of the poorer traits within the Labour caucus – arrogance, petulance, truculence and an overwhelming sense of self righteousness.

    We really deserve better…

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  15. burt (7,424 comments) says:

    I was wondering – after a generation of Labour politicians have come through the machine without compulsory funding from all to let them not worry about fund raising or even having a valid message – will they stop breaking the law stealing tax payers money for election advertising ?

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  16. Minnie (89 comments) says:

    The instinctive reaction by Ms Sepuloni when she was called out, and other more senior Labour MPs during the Royal Society/VSM debacle, was to go feral. Ms Curran behaved similarly when her dress sense was recently questioned. Labour run the risk of becoming a rabble during proceedings unless there is some discipline asserted by the party. I wonder if anyone within caucus has had a quiet talk to people like Ms Sepuloni to set some standards of behaviour?

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  17. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    # mikenmild (1,616) Says:
    August 6th, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Wow – five posts on students’ associations in a week – including the hyperbolic ‘Freedom moves closer’. This really must be the most critical issue of our times.

    A bunch aging and even older men settling old scores.

    I must have missed the widespread demonstrations, sit-ins and occasional bombing that we used to make our points in the 1970’s.

    I guess today’s students need yesterday’s students to do their fighting for them.

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  18. burt (7,424 comments) says:

    Luc

    Tell us again how compulsory membership = freedom… yes we like that fairy tale, next to the three little pigs it’s my favorite.

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  19. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    All Labour seem to have discipline on is repeating quack potted talking points.

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  20. burt (7,424 comments) says:

    The way I see it the demise of totalitarian student unions which have automatic entitlement to a bucket of money taken by force from the domain it’s a parasite on will be the demise of much I hate about the current Labour party.

    Tax payers money, like compulsory student fees, is taken for a specific purpose. There is a loose contract that states the administration has stated policies and agreed way to spend the money. Both student unions and Labour when in office show blatant disregard for that purpose and use it to further their own best interests.

    The interplay between the student unions and the Labour party point to the student unions as being a core piece of Labour’s grass roots indoctrination process. Perhaps people not indoctrinated when young to expect they can use money collected for the collective good in their own best interests won’t do it when they get a bit older and it’s tax payers money.

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  21. TWF (22 comments) says:

    I did wonder whether Heather Roy *intentionally* waited until this week (so it will pass 3rd reading with only 1 members day to spare) before playing that card, just to prevent any other members’ bills making progress before the election. That would be strategically using Labour’s own filibuster against them, which is possibly slightly less shameful than doing their own filibuster.

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  22. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    If I heard the RNZ News Bulletin at 1pm correctly, the OUSA cannot force their potty mouthed president from the role because it was decided at the last AGM that the President could only ‘retire’ voluntarily and not be voted out of office.

    Bwahahahahahaaaaaaaaa Democracy at work – not!

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  23. burt (7,424 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    And these are future members of the Labour party !

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  24. annie (539 comments) says:

    @burt 12:59 –

    Well said.

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  25. reid (16,683 comments) says:

    Perhaps people not indoctrinated when young to expect they can use money collected for the collective good in their own best interests won’t do it when they get a bit older and it’s tax payers money.

    I’d like to think they would come to expect that burt but I don’t think they will. There’s something about the lefty recruitment process that twists well-intentioned thinking into some kind of warped sense of entitlement in the name of the cause which justifies any tactic no matter how underhand. It must do for all Liarbore politicians exhibit an almost psychopathic attitude toward social dynamics that work and are good but which conflict with the tenets of the cause, such as the traditional family unit. It’s like they’re on a crusade to tear down tried and trusted social institutions just so they can inflict “the cause” on the rest of us no matter whether we want it or not. They are all simply a total bunch of complete and utter arseholes. They are. Who the fuck are they to tell us what we need to do to live our lives. We know what they are doing we know why they are doing it and we don’t want it. Fuck off, lefties. But no, they have to impose it and they don’t stop and they won’t, ever.

    Arseholes.

    I hope some of the genetic research turns up a way to turn them around because fuck, it’s so fucking tiresome fighting all the friction they cause worldwide with their utterly fucked, fundamentally flawed and completely mental ideas and propositions.

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  26. scrubone (3,097 comments) says:

    I have to disagree. Labour simply continued their policy of trying to slow the whole thing down. They certainly pushed the chair, but that is to be expected.

    I didn’t see much to write home about, outside of Mallard pushing his luck somewhat. Carmel Sepuloni’s behaviour the next day was far worse – so bad I’m mildly surprised she still has a place in the party (but of course that would indicate that Labour had standards, and I’m not sure any party actually has those).

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  27. reid (16,683 comments) says:

    I have to disagree. Labour simply continued their policy of trying to slow the whole thing down. They certainly pushed the chair, but that is to be expected.

    Yes but scrubone, the operative question is: Why?

    Why did Liarbore want to “slow the whole thing down?” No one ever has questioned their right to filibuster just like no-one except Liarbore people question the right of National to break the filibuster using – quelle horreur – Standing Orders.

    Oh dear!

    My (unanswered) question is: why did Liarbore feel justified in doing this in the first place, given that it is not restricting but to the contrary, extending people’s freedom?

    Is it really true that Liarbore people hate other people’s freedoms? Really?

    From their actions you have to assume they do, hence my question which normally, you’d expect your average lefty to be right behind.

    Why, precisely, does Liarbore hate other people’s freedom and by extension, the children?

    Why?

    They must be the worst people in the world.

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  28. mikenmild (12,340 comments) says:

    I’m still amazed at the amount of horror this trivial matter generates on Kiwiblog. I’m a bit surprised that Labour wanted to filibuster this, but that’s their tactical decision. Their tactics and behaviour seem pretty standard to me. we’ve a long way to go to match Taiwan though:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xCn3ZYTU0Y
    All a bit tame here in comparison.

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  29. reid (16,683 comments) says:

    I’m still amazed at the amount of horror this trivial matter generates on Kiwiblog. I’m a bit surprised that Labour wanted to filibuster this, but that’s their tactical decision.

    FFS mm, are you naive or just being disingenuous?

    Everyone knows why they did it: to protect their hatchery, at taxpayer expense. That’s always been the reason.

    Liarbore would definitely conduct politics Taiwan style and will, the minute they can get away with it.

    Remember, they’re all arseholes.

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  30. Viking2 (11,672 comments) says:

    Labour run the risk of becoming a rabble

    Really,

    Bwahahahahahahah

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  31. Whafe (650 comments) says:

    I dont have the words to describe what Labour have become…….

    Most can’t stand politicians… Well those that can’t stand them, hate to know what they are thinking of Labour’s pathetic behavior over this past week alone….

    Labour, sort your shit, you are acting like a bunch of arseholes (thanks reid ;) )

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  32. Inventory2 (9,373 comments) says:

    @ mikenmild; it wasn’t the filibuster itself that Armstrong was critical of; it was Labour’s behaviour after they were ambushed. It was petulant (as was Sepuloni’s the next day), the authority of the Chairman of the Committee of the House was constantly challenged, and decisions were disputed which is totally outside Standing Orders. To cap it off, Mallard’s refusal to leave the House when ordered to do so showed an absolute lack of respect for Parliament. THAT is the issue here.

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  33. Nookin (3,558 comments) says:

    Whafe

    “…..you are acting like a bunch of arseholes…”
    I am not altogether sure that you are right on this. I don’t think they are acting at all.

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  34. scrubone (3,097 comments) says:

    My (unanswered) question is: why did Liarbore feel justified in doing this in the first place, given that it is not restricting but to the contrary, extending people’s freedom?

    Why?

    Because it’s in their political interest to do so. It’s their training ground.

    But it is funny in a way. You’d think they’d at least *try* to subtle about showing their priorities, given what they are really opposing here. As DPF says, there are a lot of things they claim to be concerned about, but this is the one they’ve chosen to die in a ditch over.

    Almost enough to make you wonder if there’s something we don’t all know.

    As it is, people should be thinking very carefully about the left’s commitment to human rights in general after fighting so hard against freedom of association (and of course freedom of speech with the EFA). What other rights would the compromise if they got in the way of their political goals?

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  35. mikenmild (12,340 comments) says:

    IV2

    Thanks. This behaviour, while regrettable, is just par for the course. Don’t you remember goody-good Dunne’s annual lists of bad boys? Some of the comments here would give the impression that this stuff is unprecedented. It’s just part of how we do politics here.

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  36. scrubone (3,097 comments) says:

    To cap it off, Mallard’s refusal to leave the House when ordered to do so showed an absolute lack of respect for Parliament.

    I have a suspicion that our friends on the left would be able to uncover similar behavior from National or ACT. I didn’t actually think Mallard’s stunt even ranked in his personal top ten… ok three :)

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  37. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    @mikenmild

    Five posts are because its topical. It’s become more topical in light of Labour’s strategy to try to prevent the passage of this bill. Clearly some people in the Labour party consider compulsory student associations to be extremely important- so important that no other private member’s bill (even their own or from their Green allies) approaches the magnitude and significance of the Roy bill.

    Politics is the art of the possible. The numbers to get the Roy bill passed are there. A rational opposition may have opted to switch effort to more popular causes. It might have considered how to adapt to a different student association regime. Disgracing themselves on a forlorn hope shows that neither intelligence, planning nor integrity are elements of the Labour opposition.

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  38. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    This behaviour, while regrettable, is just par for the course.
    It’s just part of how we do politics here.

    They’ve been claiming similar things on Red Alert and as I’ve said there, I don’t accept this. Yeah, of course I got criticised for that.

    Politicians saying “it’s just how we do things” is either a poor excuse for very poor behaviour or they deliberately want to be in a shithouse rather than a house of representatives. They should be setting an example of responsible resolutions of differences.

    If MPs chose to act like responsible adults we would have a parliament that operated much better for us and MPs would get a lot more respect.

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  39. reid (16,683 comments) says:

    It’s just part of how we do politics here.

    It’s the venal naked unacknowledged unchallenged and unadmitted vested interest at play here which really personally, pisses me off, mm.

    How fucking dare Liarbore use my money to promote its hatchery?

    What the fuck gives them the right to expect me to pay for their hatchlings?

    What would they say, if they identified similar goings on in the conservative camp, whereby lefties were forced by law to pay for young conservatives?

    What, pray tell mm, do you think lefties would say then?

    And do you think such goings on are ever justified, by either side?

    Apparently, you do. But only by the one side, not the other, right?

    If I’m wrong, then pray excoriate Liarbore for its venal sin. Go ahead, I’m listening.

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  40. CharlieBrown (1,054 comments) says:

    Funny – labour making a mockery of filibustering and National are making a mockery of passing laws under urgency. Both parties are a bunch of spineless r-tards.

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  41. Murth (27 comments) says:

    I’m disappointed David that you keep referring to the Government’s use of urgency and Labour’s filibustering – the two are unrelated. Labour is filibustering only on Private Members Days and this does not impede the Government’s ability AT ALL to pass their own legislation. Labour deserve to be called out for their delaying tactics (that have really gone on for long enough now) but raising the use of urgency I believe is dishonest and only weakens an otherwise valid criticism.

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  42. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    More contempt for democracy and debate from Labour. How the fuck do they maintain this “born to rule” attitude when they were rejected by the public last election, and they will be even more strongly rejected this time. They have no mandate to do this, or anything, except disappear quietly.

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  43. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I remain stunned at the acrimony displayed by so many over a relatively minor matter.

    When I was at uni membership was compulsory and the services were so valuable that it was hardly questioned.

    People like reid who ascribe some kind of political (leftie) power to student associations are simply deranged. Paranoia personified. Students remain a mainly conservative bunch far more interested in just having fun and passing their exams, and generally have the political views of their parents at that stage of their lives (Hurf Durf would be an exception – very, very few mums and dads are THAT mad!).

    Labour should have just allowed things to run their course and left it up to students to sort out their affairs around the new paradigm. In general, voluntary membership results in a more engaged membership, maybe with fewer services, but the remedy for that is in students own hands.

    A final point, in Australia, voting is compulsory, and the people there don’t seem to think their freedom is compromised by that.

    I think DPF makes as much of a fool of himself over this as any Labour/ACT/National pollies!

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  44. mikenmild (12,340 comments) says:

    Luc

    I remain mystified on two counts:
    1. Why the obsessive interest in the blogosphere on what is pretty much a non-issue
    2. Why Labour seem to care so much about it

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  45. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    2. Why Labour seem to care so much about it

    It could be something to do with this:

    Clare Curran: ‎Grant Robertson Iain Lees-Galloway David Shearer Chris Hipkins and many other colleagues have been active in student associations. Something to be proud of.
    http://www.facebook.com/clarecurranmp

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  46. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    There’s no mystery. Forcing thousands of people to give you money, which will then be used for neo-fascist agitation. What’s not to like for the Left?

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  47. JamesMeager (18 comments) says:

    “If I heard the RNZ News Bulletin at 1pm correctly, the OUSA cannot force their potty mouthed president from the role because it was decided at the last AGM that the President could only ‘retire’ voluntarily and not be voted out of office.”

    I haven’t heard that bulletin, but it’s essentially correct. I was on the Executive in 2010, and what happened was that a lack of organisation on our behalf lead to very messy and not-well thought through Constitutional changes being put forward to the Student Body. These changes were intended to result in a structural change of the governance (the Executive), but it also unfortunately included changes to the way AGMs are held (changes which I ultimately voted against).

    The latter changes were a mess, and resulted in a situation where votes of “no confidence” (the way students remove the Executive) could only be held at a meeting requiring 50% of the membership to be present (10,000 members). So, while not a theoretical impossibility, it is a practical one.

    Incidentally, there appears to be little sense of urgency in remedying this situation (an attempt late last year to fix the Constitution failed to meet the quorum, and another attempt earlier this year also failed).

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