The good thing is that this is the first time in around two years that the Government has used urgency. That is the longest period in recent times we have ever had without its use, thanks to new Standing Orders.
The bad thing is that one of the bills, the GCSB Bill, will pass through all stages under urgency. I think that is a bad decision. While I can appreciate that there is a need not to take the normal nine months to change the law, I don’t see why the bill couldn’t go to the Intelligence and Security Committee for a brief round of submissions They could report it back in a month, and it would be passed within say six weeks. That is not too long to wait.
Fortunately the sister bill around telecommunications interceptions will at least go to select committee. There are some very meaty issues in that bill to be worked through and absolutely vital it is fully scrutinised.
UPDATE: I am pleased to say I was misinformed and the GCSB is in fact going to the Intelligence and Security Committee for submissions. That is the right thing to do. So obviously my comments above are invalid.