Greens right on Gillard

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, February 15th, 2011 - 146 comments
Categories: greens, Parliament - Tags:

It seems odd at first, blocking our closest friend’s leader from speaking in our Parliament, but the Greens were right to look at the higher principle. The debating chamber is where our sovereign assembly meets, it is not a place for foreigners to come, at the government of the day’s invitation, and lecture our elected representatives. I think the NBR put it best (not online):

“Like the Peters Sellers character in Being There, Key’s transition from “Chance the Gardener” to “Chauncy Gardiner” has been so convincing that no one dares challenge it. He now lacks advisers who can say “No, prime minister”. Where were his media people to stop him mincing down the catwalk and being blokey with Tony Veitch on radio, repeating the mistake he made with Paul Henry on television?

An even more cringeworthy mistake, although so far unremarked, is his idea of having Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard make a speech in parliament’s debating chamber. It’s a first, he says, apparently without understanding why it’s never been done before.

The chamber is designed solely for debate between members of parliament. Not only are all the seats taken; there is nowhere for her to stand. To have our elected representatives subjected to a lecture from a foreign prime minister is an act of supreme constitutional cringe. It’s a wonder that the Speaker, who control entry to the chamber, is allowing it to happen.”

Yes, a remarkable lapse from Lockwood, who is usually so keen to defend Parliament and its customs. Key, however, just doesn’t get it, like he doesn’t get anything. Most of his politics is based on the myth that he alone can somehow overturn the norms and rules of politics, that he can turn water into wine  (and smile and wave at the same time). It’s not true, and the dangerous thing is he believes the myth.

And where was Gillard meant to stand? In the Speaker’s chair?

146 comments on “Greens right on Gillard”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Russell Norman expressed concern it might open the door for someone dreadful, e.g. George Bush, to speak in parliament. Shock. Horror. Not that I am particularly endeared to George Bush myself. But, good grief, surely our politicians are grown up enough to filter out messages they don’t like, and are able to shield their tender little egos from people who have contrasting views to their own.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      Russel.

      Parliament’s debating chamber is not a place for the government to invite whomever it wants from aboard to come and give political speeches. It’s an invitation to abuse.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        Yip. Next thing you know, we get “overseas experts” coming in to address parliament about how great private prisons are, or how great it is to put the tax rate up to 50% and give everyone a universal income.

        I would agree with Key that letting Gillard in, the PM of Australia, is clearly a very conservative and sensible place to start. But Norman is right – it’s a slippery slope that has no obvious end.

    • orange whip? 1.2

      That’s not what Parliament is for, tsmithfield.

      Sheesh, why don’t you ever make an effort to learn at least a little about the subject before weighing in?

    • Jenny 1.3

      .
      By refusing to allow this precedent to be set, Thank God, we have been spared the possibility of the cringing spectacle of our house of representatives being addressed by Tony Blair.

      Go the Greens!

      Blair to visit NZ

  2. randal 2

    the nats portray themselves as conservatives when in reality they are empty headed spruikers looking for every and any main chance.
    parliament has evolved over the centuries with rules and regulations to prevent itself from being used and abuse by any extraneous factors.
    along come the tories and think they can make up the rules as they go along.
    it does not work like that and this attempt to use parliament for its own purpose only goes to show the electorate the lack of principle that undegirds all national supposed philosophy whih is actually zero.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Bloody hell, where does Goff and LAB stand on this constitutional sell out?

  4. prism 4

    My contention is that Australians are not our friends. They are close neighbours with the same language and similar backgrounds, and our economy is dependent on trading with them. We have a positive camaraderie and encourage mutual visits. But they will put the boot in now and then, a bit of rough from them is to be expected occasionally so we shouldn’t set up sweet little myths of closeness, be alert. Canada and the USA are close too, integrated, but Canada similarly has probably lost more than it has gained in signing up to be USA’s big buddy.

  5. Richard 5

    Yes, the Greens are absolutely right here.

    It looks like the Greens have learnt something since the Gerry Brownlee Enabling Act.

    I’m not surprised that Key, DPF et al do not see this as an issue. This is because they seem to fundamentally see government as a game with mutable rules that they play to benefit themselves. They really don’t seem to understand that the point of government is the actual governance.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Perhaps John Key could get the stars of The Hobbit to stand up in Parliament and say what a nice guy Peter Jackson is.

  7. SPC 7

    Even the GG (or the sovereign on the throne) cannot enter and address parliament – a convention since Charles 1 tried to enter the Commons and arrest MP’s. It’s part of the unwritten constitution of the UK and us.

    It’s a surprise that the Australians did not notice … or were too polite to notice or thought we were so ignorant we were prepared to show the form of conceding sovereignty before we discussed bi-lateral ties as “equals”.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    The slippery slope argument is stupid.

    All the Greens have to do is to agree to vary the rules on an ad-hoc basis, with the full agreement of parliament each time the case arises. Then, if the proposed speaker is someone who offends the Green’s tender sensibilities, they don’t have to agree and the speaker won’t be allowed in.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      There is no slippery slope. Only NZ parliamentarians get to speak in the House. Varying this, ad hoc or otherwise, confers no benefit on the business of governing the country.

      The Greens “tender sensibilities” versus John Key’s “Hollywood sensibilities”. Such a tough choice mate.

      • tsmithfield 8.1.1

        “Varying this, ad hoc or otherwise, confers no benefit on the business of governing the country.”

        Says you, oh omniscient one.

        • mcflock 8.1.1.1

          well, at the very least the burden of proof surely rests on those who want to take up parliamentary time with a non-mp addressing the house?

    • toad 8.2

      So, tsmithfield, if the Greens agreed to a Government request for Julia Gillard to speak to a sitting of Parliament, but then refused to agree to a similar request for Hu Jintao to speak, what happens next?

      I’ll tell you what happens – a huge bloody diplomatic incident that sours our relationship with China and makes New Zealand an object of international ridicule.

      • tsmithfield 8.2.1

        Na.

        The Chinese are used to the Greens antics ala Russell and his flag. So, they would just put it down to the Greens being the Greens again…and again…and again…

    • Lanthanide 8.3

      So, ts, I suppose you wouldn’t mind if they invited the CEO of a private prison organisation into parliament to give a lecture on how private prisons are so great?

      Or if they invited an educational expert to give a lecture on how badly flawed National Standards is and that it should be replaced with their own teaching and testing method that they invented?

      *That* is the slippery slope argument. We might start off with the prime minister of Australia, which seems perfectly safe, but in the end you could up with people presenting to parliament with their own vested interests at heart, and not that of NZ.

      Also your point about “let the Greens decide who should speak” – sure, that sounds fine. But the problem is it sets a precedent. In 40 years time the Greens may not be around, and the government proposes that “expert Y on subject X” talks to parliament and hold up precedent as for why it is ok for this to happen.

      The slippery slope argument is one about the creeping nature of change over time – we’re not talking 1 or 2 years here, but 40 or 50. Then again it doesn’t surprise me that you don’t care about the future.

      • tsmithfield 8.3.1

        If all parliament thought it would be worth their while, I wouldn’t have any problem with that.

        • Richard 8.3.1.1

          …I wouldn’t have any problem with that.

          You should.

          The “slippery slope” argument is a red herring, IMO.

          The issue is that Gillard herself using our parliamentary “sitting” time is not appropriate if we have a sovereign, independent parliament.

          The only thing that makes our parliament sovereign, independent and legitimate is that it acts like it is. As soon as parliament starts to act counter to such principles our system of government is undermined.

        • Bright Red 8.3.1.2

          “If all parliament thought it would be worth their while”

          And, evidentally, not all of Parliament thinks it worthwhile for any non-MP to speak in the chamber. So, that’s the end of that, hs agrees with the Green’s right to do this and by definition doesn’t object.

    • fraser 8.4

      “they don’t have to agree and the speaker won’t be allowed in.”

      such a right would have to be given to all parties – i think all of us can predict the partisan mess if that came about.

      also – what happened to the “wasting my tax payer dollars” argument? (maybe not yours specificaly, but its been a fairly constant meme from those on the right).

      I mean, sure pollies waste money all the time – but shouldnt the time set aside and funded (via our tax payer dollars) for doing government work be used for just that and that alone?

    • The Voice of Reason 8.5

      Stupid is as stupid says, in your case, TS. Did you not see comment 1.2?

      Destroying the convention on an ad hoc basis is an even dafter idea than what Key is proposing. Neither you, nor Key, seem to understand why the debating chamber is sacrosanct in a Westminster system. Try and read a few of the other comments here, maybe google it, and then come back and comment on an educated basis.

      If Key is determined to see this sovereignty confirming tradition end, he should give a reason why it should go. Ignorance of historical fact is no defence for mincing John and it doesn’t do you any favours either. I suspect you are slightly brighter than Key, TS, so why don’t you have a think about things for a while and come back with some convincing arguments as to the need for change.

      There are some valid reasons out there, BTW. For example, the two US chambers often meet together to hear from forign leaders and it has become something of a highlight in their parliamentary year. But it’s not a spur of the moment thing for the seppos, it’s something that required debate and cross party agreement many years ago and does not in any way indicate a loss of control over the house, as Key’s proposal does.

      • SHG 8.5.1

        Neither you, nor Key, seem to understand why the debating chamber is sacrosanct in a Westminster system.

        In recent memory Parliament at Westminster has been addressed by Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Mitterand, Giscard, Sarkozy, Pope Benedict, and Nelson Mandela.

        Parliament at Canberra has been addressed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Prime Minister Harper of Canada, President Bush the Younger, and (apparently) three other foreign leaders I can’t bring to mind.

        Parliament at Wellington has been addressed by Winston Peters and Phillip Field, so yeah… sacrosanct.

        • Pascal's bookie 8.5.1.1

          Were those parliaments sitting when addressed by uncle tom cobley et al SHG?

          Or were those events just like the one the Greens have said is entirely appropriate.

          • Colonial Viper 8.5.1.1.1

            Yeah I’m waiting for SHG to come back with some decent answers this time, too.

  9. Ed 9

    There is a perfectly good Legislative Council Chamber that can be used – it is specifically set out for speeches / receptions. That room would have the advantage of not having members seated in party blocs – mixed seating would indicate at least some common ground on foreign affairs issues.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    “But it’s not a spur of the moment thing for the seppos, it’s something that required debate and cross party agreement many years ago and does not in any way indicate a loss of control over the house,”

    Just like what I said earlier then?

    All the Greens have to do is to agree to vary the rules on an ad-hoc basis, with the full agreement of parliament each time the case arises.

    • The Voice of Reason 10.1

      Nope, not what you said at all, TS. The US system is a permanent arrangement, not an ad hoc one, and it involves both houses suspending their business and joining together to hear the guest. In other words, it is outside the normal business of the house. Key proposes making it part of the business of the house.

      • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1

        So they did what the greens suggested, and what Key has agreed to.

        Looks like everyone agrees with the Greens, but some don’t want to admit to doing so because stupid Greens.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          *Sigh*

          Is it truly that out of fashion to stand up for our own sovereignty and traditions as a country? Why not officially become a state of Australia hmmm?

  11. tsmithfield 11

    Reading the comments above it looks like many posters are so addicted to the concept of nanny state that they want it extended to parliament as well.

    Well I have news for you. Our parliamentarians are all grown up, although sometimes it might be hard to believe. If they can make big decisions about things like how much tax they should take off us and whether or not we should go to war, then surely they should be able to decide whether or not someone will speak to them in parliament. If they make the rules for themselves, they are able to vary those rules as well.

    I guess if the Greens are worried their minds might be polluted by a particular speaker, they always have the option of putting their fingers in their ears and going “nah nah nah nah nah nah….” through the speech. 🙂

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Wow tsmithfield you really are a sovereignty sell out.

      Since Gillard is such an honoured guest, we should give her a vote in our November elections. You know, to symbolise how close our two countries have become.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 11.2

      We have allready seen an MP obstructed in the precinct of parliament, so whats to say national might stop troublemakers ( hone anyone ?) from even appearing in the chamber.

      Thats what happens when precedent is upended just to suit Keys photo opportunity of the day.

  12. The Voice of Reason 12

    BTW, a small aside on why the Aussie PM is not a good choice to be given temporary sovereignty over our Parliament.

    The Aussie parliament, at least up until the building of the new structure (and possibly in that house too), had seats set aside for the day NZ chose to become part of the Commenwealth of Australia. At the time of federation, NZ was considered to be a sovereign state in name only and it was thought to be only a matter of time before we saw the light and returned to Australian control. I understand we would have had more seats than Tasmania, though, so that’s nice.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    I fail to see how sovereignty is threatened at all.

    Look at it this way. If you invite someone into your house, you are not surrendering your house to them. You still have the right to ask them to leave if you wish. You haven’t surrendered your personal authority in the slightest. The same with parliament.

    • Bright Red 13.1

      it’s just not appropriate. she can and will talk while the house isn’t sitting but not while it is.

      • tsmithfield 13.1.1

        “it’s just not appropriate. she can and will talk while the house isn’t sitting but not while it is.”

        Not even an argument??? Is this what you’ve been reduced to? How weak!!

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.1

          These times in the NZ Parliament are for NZ parliamentarians.

          Not for Key’s photo ops and various celebrity appearances.

          Its not rocket science TS. The fact that you don’t understand issues of sovereignty is not our problem.

          Talk about selling us down the river for free.

    • Richard 13.2

      Sovereignty is threatened because parliamentary sitting time is time reserved for the sovereign business of parliament. A speech by Gillard, a representative of a foreign government, is not the sovereign business of parliament.

      She can give (and is giving) a speech outside the time slots in which parliament is sitting. She shouldn’t be eating into the time scheduled for the normal soverign business of parliament.

      Afterall Bronwlee, apparently, needs to go into urgency all the time, because he keeps running out of parliamentary sitting time. Surely, you are not suggesting he in fact has plenty of time, never actually needs to go into urgency, and is merely playing out a cynical piece of theatre designed to stifle legitimate, timely questioning of his government’s business?

      • tsmithfield 13.2.1

        “Sovereignty is threatened because parliamentary sitting time is time reserved for the sovereign business of parliament. A speech by Gillard, a representative of a foreign government, is not the sovereign business of parliament.”

        What utter nonsense. Parliament has the sovereign authority to determine how it spends its time. It may well be in the sovereign interest of parliament to hear from a foreign leader.

        • Colonial Viper 13.2.1.1

          It may well be in the sovereign interest of parliament to hear from a foreign leader.

          At the appropriate time, asshat, of which there are plenty to choose from.

        • Richard 13.2.1.2

          Parliament has the sovereign authority to determine how it spends its time.

          No it doesn’t. Parliament is not an elected dictatorship. Parliament has to act according to the law. And parliament has to go beyond mere technical obedience to the law. It has to act in way that is seen as legitimate.

          It may well be in the sovereign interest of parliament to hear from a foreign leader.

          Of course, and it can do so at the appropriate time. Which is what is happening.

        • Pascal's bookie 13.2.1.3

          So by your logic, if parliament was to decide that it wanted to hand over its sovereign authority to canberra, then that wouldn’t be a loss of sovereignty because that is what it decided to do?

          • tsmithfield 13.2.1.3.1

            Richard “No it doesn’t. Parliament is not an elected dictatorship. Parliament has to act according to the law. And parliament has to go beyond mere technical obedience to the law. It has to act in way that is seen as legitimate.”

            Duh. Parliament is the law.

            Pascal “So by your logic, if parliament was to decide that it wanted to hand over its sovereign authority to canberra, then that wouldn’t be a loss of sovereignty because that is what it decided to do?”

            But that would involve handing over decision-making authority. Someone speaking in parliament does not require that any authority is relinquished to that person. The person is speaking at the whim of the hosts. The hosts have the right to terminate the speech anytime they choose. You still haven’t made a case for the loss of sovereignty.

            • Richard 13.2.1.3.1.1

              Parliament is the law.

              No it isn’t.

              Parliament makes laws.

              And parliament makes laws by following due parliamentary process. Which is exactly why it is a bad idea to drop parliamentary process in order to hear the usual banal “very good friend” platitudes.

              • tsmithfield

                It can also change due parliamentary process if it wants to. If parliament sets the process, it is also able to change it. The way you are suggesting it, it seems that due process is a holy grail set in stone, never to be changed. Ever.

                If that were the case, then parliament has already lost its sovereignty. To a rule book.

                • Richard

                  It can also change due parliamentary process if it wants to.

                  Of course.

                  The crux of the matter is why parliamentary process is being changed.

                  You are proposing changing parliamentary process in order to flatter a representative of a foreign government.

                  This is not the sort of thing that a strong, independent, sovereign, democratic parliament does.

                  It is the sort of thing that a dictatorship might do. And it is the sort of thing that a fawning colonial backwater might do.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    How about a self-styled fawning colonial Prime Minister?

                    Of course, a colonial viper would never consider such a thing 😀

                    • Richard

                      I imagine that a colonial viper would bite it’s colonial masters when they were least suspecting.

            • The Voice of Reason 13.2.1.3.1.2

              “Duh. Parliament is the law.”

              Nope, this guy is the law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Dredd

              Given that you seem to hail from the world of fantasy yourself, I thought you would have known that!

              You know, you really are making an arse of yourself today, TS. Give it away, ffs, even your master has twigged how silly the idea was. How come it’s taking you so long?

              • Colonial Viper

                I finally figured out ts has no actual interest in the smooth, effective functioning of our democratic Government, nor in maintaining our country’s status as a sovereign power. Yeah, I know I’m a bit slow today 😛

              • tsmithfield

                TVOR “You know, you really are making an arse of yourself today, TS.”

                Given that others are vehemently asserting that sovereignty is at risk but are unable to explain why, I have to disagree with you.

                CV: “finally figured out ts has no actual interest in the smooth, effective functioning of our democratic Government, nor in maintaining our country’s status as a sovereign power.”

                Yawn. Another baseless assertion that we are at risk of losing sovereignty over this. Please, Please, Please, give me a cogent explanation of how rather than repeating the mantra.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Your disagreement is irrelevant ts, since you do not care about our nation’s sovereign status.

                  Your failure to see how giving up time and ground traditionally reserved for elected NZ parliamentarians only is a diminishment of that sovereign status is also irrelevant.

                  Haha I’m gonna stop with this now because I’m going to get a DNFT ban in a moment 😎

                  • tsmithfield

                    And you can’t seem to see that parliamentarians are using their sovereign authority to decide if, when, and where they want to here from outside speakers, and whether or not that would be useful to them.

            • Pascal's bookie 13.2.1.3.1.3

              Someone speaking in parliament does not require that any authority is relinquished to that person.

              It would involve handing over the authority to speak in a sitting parliament, so the logic is established. At the moment, to speak in a sitting parliament, you have to be elected to it. Getting rid of that is no small thing, which is why we didn’t do it.

    • Lanthanide 13.3

      It’s not about inviting someone into your house – that is exactly what the Greens are saying we should do it.

      It is about you holding a meeting once a week for organising a local community group where you decide how the community is going to be managed, and how to respond to the issues of the day. The aussie PM is welcome into your house, but is not welcome to your community group meeting because she is not a member of the community.

      A bit of a tortured metaphor, but that is really the describing the situation at hand much better than yours does.

      • tsmithfield 13.3.1

        Very poor analogy. Community groups often have outside speakers come and talk to them about salient issues. You need to find a better analogy to make your point.

        • Colonial Viper 13.3.1.1

          You need to find a better analogy to make your point.

          Why? Engaging with you is a waste.

          • tsmithfield 13.3.1.1.1

            When you start descending to this level, its a sure sign you’re losing the debate.

            • Colonial Viper 13.3.1.1.1.1

              I’ve had better ‘debates’ against rock faces.

              • tsmithfield

                By that do you mean you’ve lost debates to rock faces? 🙂

                • Colonial Viper

                  Haha I think a couple times I was definitely the one worse off 😀

                • orange whip?

                  I think he means you’re a fuckwit.

                  NZ Parliament is for Members of Parliament, representing the people of NZ.

                  Without your understanding and acceptance of this simple fact, people are wasting their time trying to draw analogies as there simply isn’t one you’ll recognise.

                  So give yourself a pat on the back tsmithfield. You’ve kept a couple of people busy for an hour or so trying to use honest reason against your sophistry about something important to them which you just don’t care about.

                  Well done.

                  • tsmithfield

                    The general consensus here seems to be that parliament can’t do what it wants to because it is bound by a rule book of immutable rules.

                    As I have just pointed out above, if that is actually the case, then parliament has already lost its sovereignty. To a rule book. However, if it has the freedom to change rules as it pleases, such as whether or not external speakers can speak to parliament, then it is exercising its sovereignty.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    thanks orange whip 😀

                    ts the guy who doesnt care about sovereignty, lecturing about what it is 😀 😀 😀

                    • tsmithfield

                      If parliament invited Gillard to decide our future in ANZUS, that would be ceding sovereignty, because it diminishes NZ’s ability to determine its own destiny.

                      If parliament invited Gillard to come to parliament to speak as a guest, that is exercising its sovereignty. Because parliament is exercising its sovereign right to decide who does or doesn’t speak to parliament. If necessary, it can exercise its sovereign right to change the rules so it is able to happen.

                      Arguing against this on the basis of perceived loss of sovereignty is just plain dumb. Don’t know why you can’t see it.

                      From what I can see from the arguments above, it boils down to wasting parliament’s time. However, parliament has the sovereign right to determine whether it is a waste of time or not.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey glad you made it to a dictionary to look up ‘sovereignty’ mate.

                      Next question: is giving foreign corporates the right to sue the NZ Govt for losses incurred due to NZ Govt decisions, but through a foreign tribunal and foreign laws a diminishment of the sovereignty of our government and our court system, ts?

                    • tsmithfield

                      “Hey glad you made it to a dictionary to look up ‘sovereignty’ mate.”

                      Is this some sort of concession??

                      “Next question: is giving foreign corporates the right to sue the NZ Govt for losses incurred due to NZ Govt decisions, but through a foreign tribunal and foreign laws a diminishment of the sovereignty of our government and our court system, ts?”

                      I guess we already have that to some extent with the WTO, but on a governmental scale. Foreign entities are likely to be more willing to deal with NZ if they feel they have accessible recourse if something goes wrong, so it is a bit of a double-edged sword I guess.

                      So far as sovereignty is concerned, I guess it is necessary to cede some degree of it to fit in with the rest of the world. For instance, we have ceded some of our sovereignty to the UN, WTO etc. However, we do this because we expect other nations to do the same.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Thanks for explaining your stance on ceding sovereignty to the multinational corporates 😀

                      Personally I think its a bad idea – just like selling off our strategic power assets to them.

                    • tsmithfield

                      I think ceding sovereignty at various levels is unavoidable, not necessarilly desirable, if a country wants the rest of the world to deal with it.

                      I think you will find that we do this in all sorts of ways now that you might not even think of. I don’t know if you are married, or have a partner. But imagine how things would be if you decided to exercise your “sovereign” right to go out and booze all night, or sleep around all over the place. I don’t think your partner would tolerate your “sovereignty” for too long. So, being willing to give up that sort of behaviour for the sake of the relationship involves giving up a bit of your “sovereignty”. The payoff is peace, happiness, and hopefully plenty of nooky. 🙂

        • Richard 13.3.1.2

          A better analogy is that if you are university students living in a flat, and everybody has agreed not to have parties at the flat during exam week. And then one of your flatmates decides to have a party at the flat anyway, because they are pretty convinced that they don’t need to study.

          It’s not having a party that is the problem. It is having a party during the period when you have all agreed to try to study.

          Same thing here. It is not her speaking that is the problem. It is her speaking during the time allocated to parliamentary business. Which is what Key originally proposed.

          • tsmithfield 13.3.1.2.1

            Richard: “A better analogy is that if you are university students living in a flat, and everybody has agreed not to have parties at the flat during exam week. And then one of your flatmates decides to have a party at the flat anyway, because they are pretty convinced that they don’t need to study.”

            This analogy fails too. This is because it is given in my argument that parliament as a whole agrees to the speaker giving the speech. In your analogy, that would be the same as all the flatmates agreeing to change the rules about parties so that they can occur during exam week.

            • Richard 13.3.1.2.1.1

              Yes, analogies are never perfect.

              However, I think you will find that in reality not everybody did agree to change the rules about how parliament operates just to flatter some foreign politician.

              There are also unlikely to be yard glasses involved in Gillard’s speech. So the analogy fails on that level too.

              • tsmithfield

                Not being perfect is one thing. Your analogy was plain wrong.

                • wtl

                  Actually, your argument is internally inconsistent. It comes down to this:

                  Do you agree that a party in the NZ parliament has the right to object to a outside speaker giving a speech during sitting time, for whatever reason?

                  If the answer is yes then maybe the Greens reasoning doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever their reason, it is their right to object and there is nothing wrong with that.

                  If the answer is no, then the analogy above holds. You are saying that a party can only object if you agree to their reason (or can’t object at all). Going back to the flatmates analogy, that would mean the other flatmates can have a party even if one objects unless that one flatmate comes up with a ‘good’ reason not to. Obviously, ‘good’ being subjective means that the other flatmates can simply choose to never accept that the reason is ‘good’ and have a party regardless.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Except if you go waaaaay back to one of my earlier posts, you will find that I argued parliament as a whole should be able to make decisions on an ad-hoc basis about whether external speakers could speak to parliament or not, irrespective of what the rules are.

                    In the flat mate analogy, the flatmates may have made a rule not to have parties during exam week. Then, all later agree to change their minds and party up large anyway. So long as they have all agreed to the change, it doesn’t really matter what the rule they originally set was.

                    • Richard

                      So, it again comes to the reason why you are proposing that parliament changes its rules.

                      Changing the rules to flatter a representative of a foreign government is not the actions of an independent, sovereign state.

                    • tsmithfield

                      You have interpreted it as “flatter”. What if parliament is interested to learn something from Gillard that might help them improve their own decision making?

                    • wtl

                      So what exactly are you arguing against? The Greens decided to object. You’ve already admitted that that is their right.

                      Therefore, arguing about their reason is irrelevant, isn’t it?

                    • tsmithfield

                      Nah. From what I heard from the Greens, their position was that it shouldn’t ever happen. Under any circumstances. Because it was setting the path to a slippery slope where evil people such as George Bush would soon be spouting forth in parliament.

                      My position is that is utter nonsense. Parliament can decide to ignore its own rules on an ad-hoc basis if all parliament agrees without setting an immutable precedent. So, the Greens could agree to hear Gillard, but still quite safely refuse to hear George Bush.

                      I really don’t see why this would be a problem. Do you?

                    • Lanthanide

                      “You have interpreted it as “flatter”. What if parliament is interested to learn something from Gillard that might help them improve their own decision making?”

                      How does Gillard delivering a speech during a sitting parliamentary session somehow differ from her delivering that exact same speech outside a sitting parliamentary session? Is the content somehow going to change, or the MPs somehow going to learn less in the latter situation than they would’ve learnt in the former?

                      I think you’ll find, ts, that if there was a war on, or a worldwide financial crisis, or some other important issue at hand, then having the PM of Australia address a sitting parliament might make sense. But just because the PM wants a social visit doesn’t constitute a good enough reason to do such a thing.

                    • wtl

                      Yes, we know you don’t agree with the Greens reasoning. But they still have the right to object even if you don’t like their reason. So aren’t you just wasting time arguing about their reason?

                    • Richard

                      What if parliament is interested to learn something from Gillard that might help them improve their own decision making?

                      It’s laughable to think that parliament could really learn something from a public, political speech like this, especially one from the representative of a close, stable, allied country. It’s a photo-opportunity.

                      Even if they could learn something — what could they possibly learn which would mean that they had to suspend normal parliamentary business to do so?

                      What’s wrong with hearing the speech and following our normal parliamentary rules?

                    • mcflock

                      “Parliament can decide to ignore its own rules on an ad-hoc basis if all parliament agrees without setting an immutable precedent. ”

                      Interesting constitutional point, there.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “But they still have the right to object even if you don’t like their reason. So aren’t you just wasting time arguing about their reason?”

                      If there reason was that they didn’t like a particular speaker, I could respect that. However, the reasoning they have given is irrational, and would prevent parliament making a sovereign decision in this respect. I object to that. And I object to the banal repetition of the “loss of sovereignty” argument that doesn’t make sense at all.

                      Lanthanide: “I think you’ll find, ts, that if there was a war on, or a worldwide financial crisis, or some other important issue at hand, then having the PM of Australia address a sitting parliament might make sense.”

                      Be careful. You’re leaving the safe haven of idealism for the choppy waters of pragmatism here. So now you’re saying there are some circumstances where it might be OK. You’re stepping onto the slippery slope now.

                      McFlock: “Interesting constitutional point, there.”

                      Yes. But not without precedent. Remember, parliament was debating whether or not it should continue opening with prayer awhile ago. I guess if there was consensus (or maybe even majority, I don’t know) then the rules would have been changed in this respect.

                    • Richard

                      You’re leaving the safe haven of idealism for the choppy waters of pragmatism here. So now you’re saying there are some circumstances where it might be OK.

                      Sure, it is possible to imagine some sort of extraordinary crises where it might be a good idea for parliament to adopt different rules. Although, you could equally well argue that it is exactly during a crises that it is most important for parliament to follow the rules.

                      However, John Key meeting a redhead is not that sort of extraordinary crises.

                    • Lanthanide

                      “Be careful. You’re leaving the safe haven of idealism for the choppy waters of pragmatism here. So now you’re saying there are some circumstances where it might be OK. You’re stepping onto the slippery slope now.”

                      A slippery slope of “exceptional circumstances” that also sets the bar very high for any future attempts at the same. Not really very slippery, compared to “lets have a photo op” that Key is (was) proposing.

                    • wtl

                      “If there reason was that they didn’t like a particular speaker, I could respect that. However, the reasoning they have given is irrational, and would prevent parliament making a sovereign decision in this respect. I object to that. And I object to the banal repetition of the “loss of sovereignty” argument that doesn’t make sense at all.”

                      So you are saying that the Greens shouldn’t object unless they have a reason you agree with?

                    • tsmithfield

                      “So you are saying that the Greens shouldn’t object unless they have a reason you agree with?”

                      I think their objection should be on rational grounds. Arguing that there is a rule that says they can’t do such and such when they are part of the process that makes and amends the rules is irrational.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      If there reason was that they didn’t like a particular speaker, I could respect that. However, the reasoning they have given is irrational, and would prevent parliament making a sovereign decision in this respect.

                      This contradicts your whole argument, such as it is.

                      The Greens can’t stop parliament doing anything. They can’t prevent parliament doing things. Key could have done it his way if he wanted to. Parliament can diminish its sovereignty if it so desires. No one is really denying that. What the Greens, (and after them pretty much everyone else), are saying is that they shouldn’t .

                      Why is parliament sovereign? What legitimises it?

                      If you think it is elections, then you should, I would think , have a problem with non elected people speaking in a sitting parliament.

                  • wtl

                    “I think their objection should be on rational grounds. Arguing that there is a rule that says they can’t do such and such when they are part of the process that makes and amends the rules is irrational.”

                    So the Greens shouldn’t object unless they have a reason that you think is ‘rational’? This is just another way of saying they shouldn’t object unless you agree with the reason.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Warning. Keep arguing with ts and pretty soon you won’t be sure which end is your cake hole and which end is your crap hole any more.

                  • orange whip?

                    It’s ok, ts is already there.

                    According to tsmithfield, Parliament can do and change and ad-lib anything as long as a simple majority of members want to. Essentially “might is right”.

                    According to tsmithfield, if a simple majority of members voted that all Parliamentary sessions would henceforth be conducted naked, then so be it.

                    Of course it isn’t true, never has been true, and ts isn’t interested in finding out.

                    • tsmithfield

                      “According to tsmithfield, Parliament can do and change and ad-lib anything as long as a simple majority of members want to. Essentially “might is right”.”

                      Wrong. I have been arguing for parliamentary agreement from all sides. Not just a majority.

                      “According to tsmithfield, if a simple majority of members voted that all Parliamentary sessions would henceforth be conducted naked, then so be it.”

                      Your premise is wrong, so your conclusion is wrong also.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Actually parliament is omni-powerful and omni-competent. They can pass any law they like, and they also cannot pass laws that they later cannot repeal. If they passed a law saying “to repeal law X, you must get 90% agreement in the house”, they could repeal *that* law with a simple majority and then repeal law X with a simple majority also.

                      The only real check in place for parliament’s powers is the governor general, who is constitutionally required to pass laws that the government wants passed and to refuse would create a constitutional crisis. And of course the public, who can vote them out at the next election (which could be forced by a ‘vote of no confidence’ in the house if they could get a simple majority).

                    • tsmithfield

                      I am not the only one pointing out how logically stupid the Green’s position is.

                      In the Stuff article linked above, Martin Kay raises some of the points I have been raising all afternoon.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Martin Kay doesn’t point out anything in that piece. Certainly nothing logical is involved in it. He brushes off the downsides by assuming they would never happen.

                      He says for example that bad guys would never be invited. Say Russia or China made the request to speak to a sitting parliament as a part of negotiations over trade. Trade agreements with NZ are pretty much about the symbolism for such states, and that symbolism would be enhanced by such a speech. Are you sure that the major parties would be prepared to lose a trade deal over such a request?

                      The rest of his piece is similarly poor, but yes you’re not alone.

                    • tsmithfield

                      So what if, shock, horror, some evil dictator did get invited?

                      Don’t you think our elected politicians should have the intelligence and critical analytical skills to deal with any drivel that comes out of their mouth. Perhaps our own politicians would get the opportunity to influence the beliefs and attitudes of the said dictator for good.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      But they don’t need Parliament to be sitting to do any of that ts.

                      When parliament is sitting, it is exercising its sovereignty. It’s legitimacy stems from the fact that the members of that parliament are elected to it by those that the parliament governs.

                      Why fuck with that?

                    • Lanthanide

                      “Why fuck with that?”

                      For a photo op, clearly.

                    • orange whip?

                      “Wrong. I have been arguing for parliamentary agreement from all sides. Not just a majority.”

                      No, you’ve just been arguing against anything that challenges the supreme authority of your beloved leader.

                      You’ve changed your tune from one comment to the next so many times you can’t even remember what you’ve written.

                      Either you think the Greens objection should be overruled and ignored or you accept that it stands. It’s that simple.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Martin Kay’s points are an ass. He’s just playing the BS politically correct card by trying to bring in the names of Aung San Suu Kyi etc.

                    Fact of the matter is that these luminaries can address Parliament. In Parliament.

                    Just not when the House is sitting – because that is when our elected Parliamentarians do the business of the country on our behalf and neither Gillard nor Aung San Suu Kyi qualify.

                    Now, that’s not rocket science is it ts?

                    • tsmithfield

                      Well if Gillard et al. get to speak during sitting time it might mean a bit less time for petty back biting and stupid interjections and a bit more focus on what is important. In fact, if they spent half their time listening to external speakers, they would probably still get just as much done because they waste so much time now on inane stupidity.

                    • Speaking Sense to Unions

                      foreign affairs and trade generally do get to be considered “business” of parliament.

                      The only reason that Gillard didn’t address parliament while sitting was because no one wanted the Greens to embarrass everyone with stupid point scoring about foreigners.

                      There was absolutely no reason why Gillard could not have. The idea that this means we’re giving up sovereignty is stupid – as Goff pointed out.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Even I agree with Goff, as is evidenced by my litany of comments here. Why can’t people here agree with their hero.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey you guys want to give Gillard a vote in November as well? I mean, since you want to let her speak at a time and place reserved for our elected parliamentarians who are also all NZ citizens?

                      I mean that must make her just as good as, right?

                      And in the spirit of ANZAC friendship, why not give her an honourary vote in our elections? 😀

                      Key already saw the light, it will dawn on you guys too eventually. Maybe.

    • Colonial Viper 13.4

      I fail to see how sovereignty is threatened at all.

      Your failure to see is not our problem.

      • tsmithfield 13.4.1

        Your failure to prove how it is a problem is more relevant.

        It doesn’t prove anything by repeating the mantra that sovereignty is threatened. You need to demonstrate how it is. You haven’t done this.

        • Colonial Viper 13.4.1.1

          Since you don’t understand or value New Zealand as an independent sovereign power what do you care?

  14. Alwyn 14

    There is one excellent rule that Australia uses in its Parliament.
    Members must ONLY be citizens of Australia, dual citizenship is not allowed, and if a prospective member is also a citizen of another state they must renounce that citizenship.
    There is a minor exception where the original country of citizenship, eg Greece, does not allow anyone to renounce their citizenship but provided every possible attempt has been made they are considered to have met the test and can sit in the Oz Parliament.
    I don’t know whether Dr Norman, or any other MP, is also a citizen of another country but if so I think it entirely reasonable that they should renounce that alternate citizenship, and be loyal exclusively to New Zealand.
    Incidentally only Australian citizens can vote. This is something else I think we should adopt. If you aren’t willing to take citizenship why should you be allowed to vote.

    • Lanthanide 14.1

      “Incidentally only Australian citizens can vote. This is something else I think we should adopt. If you aren’t willing to take citizenship why should you be allowed to vote.”

      This came up a while ago in the context of recent immigrants. I know that permanent residents can vote, but it might also be the case that people on temporary residence permits can also vote? There was talk about “coming off the plan 2 days before an election and then voting”, which apparently is pretty unique in the world.

      • Bunji 14.1.1

        You have to be a permanent resident, but you can have your permanent residency arranged before you enter the country – thus you could come off a plane and vote (with a special vote) 2 days later in theory. You’d have to be very organised and it would be a miniscule section of the population in this type of scenario on a given election day of course!

        I agree with Carol below – residence is more important, which is why there’s a good rule that you have to have been in NZ within the last 3 years, to show that you are still in touch.

        In the US you have to be a citizen to vote, and it can be very hard to become a citizen. Which means the whole gripe that founded their country “no taxation without representation” still applies to hundreds of thousands of immigrants in their country, taxed heavily in what has become their permanent home, but without a voice.

        • Lanthanide 14.1.1.1

          Listening to my boyfriend’s explanations of early American history, “no taxation without representation” was a load of bunk anyway. Britain was spending a huge fortune shipping supplies over to the US, protecting the ships from piracy etc. The colonies had also dragged Britain into a war with the French. The taxation and levies that Britain charged the colonies was just an attempt to get them to help pay their way – but the majority of the cost was still being borne by Britain.

          Americans like to ignore the details and pretend they’re the victims (in all things), though. Then again it’s probably not really their fault, what passes for history in their schools is much more akin to propaganda.

    • Carol 14.2

      As someone who has dual citizenship (NZ & UK), I think that it is part of the reality we live in. We don’t stay located in one country.It’s a very inter-connected world.

      I have, however, only voted in the country I am residing in at the time. I don’t know as much about the other country when I’m not living there, and the actions of that government have far less impact on me. I consider residence in a country is a more crucial basis for voting. In the period that I was living in Aussie, I couldn’t vote, but many of the things the government did impacted on me as an employee and taxpayer.

      It was frustrating as well, because I taught young Aussie people about how their government worked and about their culture and history (among other things). I had a far better grasp of their political system that most of my students.

      • Alwyn 14.2.1

        I was only approving of the Australian approach of one citizenship for politicians, not for everyone.
        I rhink that if you claim the right to rule the country you owe exclusive loyalty to that country.
        I also lived in Australia for some years but, unless I was willing to take out Australian citizenship I never thought I should have the right to vote.
        Actually, not being on the roll had one advantage, you couldn’t get called for jury service.
        I also quite enjoyed going past polling booths on election day and refusing the “how to vote lists” for the preference voting system. I would tell them I never voted, and in fact never enrolled because voting only encouraged the bastards. It was amazing how the people offering the lists would start to stutter as they tried to tell me I was breaking the law.

  15. Tel 15

    Yeah, sure, let’s open Parliament up for other counties leaders to preach to us. I’ve compiled 5 people I’d love to hear speaking from Parliament (in no particular order)…
    Julia Gillard
    Kim Jong Il
    Than Shwe
    Robert Mugabe
    Omar al-Bashir
    Anti-spam word: suspecting 😆

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      We might learn something from Hosni Mubarak too!

      • toad 15.1.1

        Yeah, I suspect Key and the Nats would love to learn how to stay in power for 30 years and feather their own nests to the extent of somewhere near $70 billion.

        Much more lucrative than being a merchant banker.

  16. kultur 16

    So much of our system seems (emphasis on seems) changed now beyond recognition … its all been up for grabs and a free-for-all idealogues playground since 1984 with Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble etc – continued with Ruthless Richardson and now perpetuated with the Key Unplanned Economy. China seems to tell us what to do anyway – what loss if Hu Jintao or whoflungdung throws a hissyfit etc etc. At least its a Labour PM from Aussie who will address our politicians on this occasion. Perhaps it might benefit our political landscape if all these people were required to front up and represent their real aims and ambitions direct to our representatives both elected and unelected. Perhaps things have changed so damn much that there is now no going back.

  17. Speaking Sense to Unions 17

    No one has yet shown how Parliament inviting some one to speak is in any way an infringement of sovereignty. The Greens make this claim – with no basis – but no one else did. And Key decided it wasn’t worth the potential embarrasment the Greens would cause going on about foreigners.

    As far as I can tell listening to an invited guest is hardly going to compromise NZ. Or maybe I have a more robust sense of our sovereignty.

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      Where does parliament get its legitimacy from? What gives someone the moral right, in a democracy, to take part when parliament is doing its business?

      • Speaking Sense to Unions 17.1.1

        “What gives someone the moral right, in a democracy, to take part when parliament is doing its business?”

        when Parliament invites them to do so.

        • Armchair Critic 17.1.1.1

          when Parliament invites them to do so.
          rightly so, and quite different to “when the government invites them to do so.”

        • Pascal's bookie 17.1.1.2

          when Parliament invites them to do so.

          nah. Way I see it it’s our house. The MPs are there, and can take part, because we elect them there. They are there as representatives.

          Certainly they can legally do what they want, but they have that authority on our behalf. They could invite any one they like to take part, they could even hand authority over to a dictator. But they shouldn’t. They would lose their moral authority. The person they appointed would have no democratic legitimacy. Just as a foreign representative would have no democratic legitimacy to speak in our sitting parliament. Who would such a leader be representing, and why should such people have representation in our house?

          It’s not parliament’s sovereignty that’s being diminished, it’s ours.

          Your ‘robust’ view of sovereignty amounts to the crown having precedence over the people. That issue was sorted out centuries ago. (the people won)

          • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.2.1

            That issue was sorted out centuries ago. (the people won)

            Yeah, but the Lords have been working hard towards round 2.

  18. Has anyone asked if John is supplying a new mattress for Julia

  19. SPC 19

    Of course they’re right, their argument is based on principle – only MP’s should speak when the House is in session. The Greens were unable to force the re-location to the another room in the building to listen to Gillard (where the Queen or GG would address MP’s) because their capacity as MP’s to object only occured when the House is in session.

    As to precedent and deciding on an ad hoc basis who else could speak – why create diplomatic issues? Recently the Chinese were demanding a state visit to the USA and for their President to address the 2 houses of Congress (while together neither was sitting). If they did not have the balls to say come back and do it when you allow elections as we do, would we?

    Key, Goff, Dunne, Turia and Sharples and Hide all showed the lack of respect for our parliament and our democratic sovereignty that one would expect from those supporting things such as the TPP without question.

    Something similar happened on the enabling act as well.

  20. Norman is probably thinking about the Green Senator Nettle case in Australia when George Bush addressed a joint session of the Australian Federal Parliament in 2003. She heckled the President and was named by the Speaker. If Norman had allowed the session he could have heckled Gillard. Instead he’ll probably just sit there thinking about cuddly trees. Lots of Parliaments allow addresses from foreign leaders. Obama addressed the Indian Parliament in November last year. He said the US is the world’s oldest democracy. Yeah Right. That would be NZ with universal sufferage. There is no principle here only politics.

  21. Campbell Larsen 21

    Despite the proper response from the Green Party on this issue, One News (at 4:30) still trumpeted that Gillard speaking was a landmark occasion and incorrectly reported that she spoke during a ‘special sitting’ of Parliament – which is clearly untrue, this being exactly what the Greens had vetoed.

  22. randal 22

    so parliament is no longer jealous of its own privileges and like any old whore she is lifting her skirts for anyone now.
    if gillard needs to speak then there are other chambers in the house besides defiling the debating chamber for a mess of potage.

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