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Democracy only for Luddites?

Written By: - Date published: 1:59 pm, September 15th, 2010 - 19 comments
Categories: national, workers' rights - Tags:

In the Today in Politics column in the DomPost there’s a snippy little piece about the Fairness at Work submissions.  The CTU reckons around 6000 people have made submssions against the Bill. A lot of these were made via its website. Not bad going considering the government gave people just over three weeks to have their voice heard.

Anyway, the chair of the select committee hearing the Bill, David Bennett, managed to shrink  6000 submission down to 200.  Because apparently  6 boxes of ‘form letters’ don’t count.

 How does putting your name (and address) to a form submission that you wish to endorse somehow make that submission invalid?

So unions are using technology to enable people to take part in the democratic process.  Alert the press.

Is Bennett a luddite or are the real numbers just a little bit scary?

19 comments on “Democracy only for Luddites? ”

  1. Rex Widerstrom 1

    Online “form letters” are hardly new. They’ve been used by political parties themselves, activist groups, NGOs and the like the world over for years.

    Usually a standard text is presented and you can add / amend / delete as you wish. Provided that option has been offered then the recipient can hardly complain that the sender isn’t expressing their own feelings on the matter.

    Indeed I’ve occasionally visited the website of an organisation running a campaign against an initiative I support and used their “send a message to government” form to delete their protest and replace it with a “don’t listen to these other knobs, keep up the good work” message 😀

    Devaluing the opinions of 5,800 people simply because they agreed with a prepared text is an interesting strategy though. Presumably Mr Bennett will be demanding that the votes of MPs who support the legislation as drafted be disallowed on the same basis.

  2. Form letters seemed to be ok when National was in Opposition

  3. Lanthanide 3

    It is standard practice to count form submissions as a single submission. I’m sure Labour has done it in the past, too.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      I suppose it’s a question of what you mean by counting them as a single submission. Is it that they count it as a single submission with a support of 6000 or do they count it as a single submission with support of 1?

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    It is difficult enough to get people to participate in public affairs these days without dickheads like Bennett. If Helen Kelly plus her best friend had been the only ones to put in submissions one can imagine the natz crowing-no public interest etc.

    I usually add a custom line or two at the beginning or in the body of form submissions. My worry is how this will affect those wanting to be heard in person, the Fairness at Work FB page said there were several thousand wanting to be heard. That is my guess for the reason for downgrading the numbers.

  5. Vicky32 5

    Not good news! (Mine was one of those “form letters” and yes, they did offer the option of changing what was said, on their website.)
    Deb

  6. lefty 6

    I was part of organising mass submissions to a select committee when Labour were in govenment. They did exactly the same thing. These particular submissions were trying to push Labour to the left so the Nats supported them in refusing to allow anyone who had made a form submission from making a personal submission and insisting on many thousands of submissions being counted as one. Labour is no friend of democracy.

    • Bob Stanforth 6.1

      Heretic! Pitchforks!!

      And in other news, defintion of submissions stayed the same as it has for years, and repition via the web was ignored.

      Next?

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