No Wrong Turn

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn blogged:

At the moment several African governments are progressing virulently homophobic legislation. There’s Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, which would impose the death penalty for homosexuality and require reporting of homosexuals to the government. And in Nigeria there’s similar, though less brutal, legislation, which would (among other things) outlaw LGBT support groups.

Today Labour’s Charles Chauvel tried to move a motion expressing Parliament’s condemnation of this bigotry:

National vetoed it. 

I think this tells us exactly where National stands on gay rights. They’ll send John Key along to the Big Gay Out, but at their core they’re simply bigots, no different from Family First or the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Idiot/Savant goes feral and sanctimonious so often, I’m not even surprised anymore. I doubt anyone takes his denunciations too seriously but in case they do, I thought I’d point out how Parliament operates.

A motion by a individual MP is basically never scheduled for debate or voting on. To have an MP’s motion considered, you need to seek permission of the House, and it takes just one individual MP to object to leave being granted. So if you want your motion voted on, then there is a process in place to ascertain in advance that the Government is happy for it to be put (so long as without debate). Basically you discuss it with your party’s whips, they discuss it with the Government whips, and they check with the Leader of the House. This process is widely known and is there precisely so opposition MPs can get non-controversial motions considered. The Government has actually been very accommodating of the rights of the minority through things such as negotiating extended sittings rather than forcing urgency on the House.

Now if we look at the draft Hansard for today, it says:

Su’a WILLIAM SIO (Labour—Māngere): I seek leave of the House to move a motion without notice and without debate about Cyclone Evan.

Mr SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action being followed? There is none.

Su’a WILLIAM SIO: I move, That this House express its acknowledgment and support to the peoples and Governments of Samoa and Fiji after Cyclone Evan wreaked havoc on these islands just before Christmas last year, and in particular convey its condolences and sympathies to Samoa’s head of State, His Highness Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Prime Minister the Hon Tuila’epa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, members of Samoa’s legislative assembly, and the people of Samoa for the loss of five lives, and to the families of the 10 people still missing when floodwaters drove through settlements in the Apia township, dragging people, homes, vehicles, and personal property out to sea and destroying power, water, and other infrastructure, including food crops, and note that for many families it is the first-time experience of losing literally everything, and acknowledge the resilient response of families, people’s organisations, and Governments in both the islands and in New Zealand to aid families and friends in need.

Motion agreed to.

[Continuation line: Chauvel motion]


Motion Without Notice—

CHARLES CHAUVEL (Labour): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek leave to move members’ motion No. 4 in my name, without debate.


Motion Without Notice—

 Mr SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action being followed? There is objection.

So Sio had no one object to his motion, but Chauvel did have an objection. Why? It’s simple. Sio followed the process and did his homework by letting the whips know in advance. Chauvel did not. If Chauvel had done the courtesy of letting the whips know in advance he was going to seek leave, then almost certainly he would have got it I suspect. So I/S should direct his rant towards MPs who grandstand rather than follow the process.

People may not be aware but if an MP seeks leave, the whips have only around two seconds to object. You don’t have time to read the motion and decide after a minute’s contemplation. This is why it is well known amongst MPs that you inform the whips in advance of your desire to put it to a vote, and the whips check with the Leader of the House.

I find it appalling that I/S uses the failure of an Opposition MP to follow the process, to label the Government as bigots. It’s pathetic.

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