Right of Recall – Draft for Consultation

Apologies for the lack of posts lately – last week was rather hectic for me.

I’ve released a draft Right of Recall Act for public consultation, with the hope of (a) getting constructive criticism to improve it; and (b) encouraging the Government to speed up their commitment to this, and other, political reform(s).

In developing the draft I relied heavily on existing recall legislation in British Columbia (Canada) and the UK, as they have a related legislative history to ours.  I also consulted other jurisdictions, namely various US States, Venezuela and Switzerland. fountain-pen-1441111-m

I’ve tried to strike a balance between direct democracy and not letting the process be hijacked by party politics.

I’m hoping for feedback, both here, on Facebook, the Bernews post and the RG article.

I’m sure there’ll be people who will either attack me personally – and ignore the draft itself – or ignore it completely out of political animosity towards me.  However, I’m hoping that most people will see it as an effort to accelerate the pace of political reforms and contribute some genuine feedback on it.

I would love it if a Senator or MP adopts the draft and introduces it as a private bill on my behalf.

Beyond that, in as much as the Government claims to remain committed to these political reforms, by introducing a draft and encouraging feedback on it, the Government too can benefit from the feedback in designing their own Act, should they choose not to adopt the one I’ve offered.

I cannot stress enough, that if we, the electorate, do not push for things like this, if we don’t advocate and act for their adoption, then the politicians have absolutely no incentive to change the status quo – a status quo that they actively benefit from.

If you want our politicians to become more accountable to the people, then you need to take action to ensure they adopt these reforms rather than simply hoping they’ll do it out of the goodness of their hearts.  It doesn’t happen that way.  They will only adopt these reforms if they calculate it’s in their interest – in this case, that they’ll suffer a backlash at the polls if they don’t.

Of course, in our severely polarised racial-economic political reality, both parties believe they don’t need to worry too much about that possibility due to a combination of our polarised politics (where key voting blocs will vote for their party against the other no matter what) and the historical passivity of our people.

Nonetheless, swing voters determine election outcomes here.  And if an issue such as these political reforms grows enough to capture a significant chunk of the swing vote, then both parties will push to adopt the issue as their own.

So, hopefully there will be some good feedback from this draft Right of Recall Act, and hopefully voters will lobby their MPs to get a move on, or to even adopt my offering.

The full draft is available on the Bernews article itself, or you can open a pdf here.

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2 thoughts on “Right of Recall – Draft for Consultation

  1. Quick thoughts.

    I’m not sure that giving as much discretion as the word “may” provides, is the right way to go particularly with regards to Section 1. I would much prefer to see the word “must” replacing “may” in that section. The rationale is that you go on to be quite specific in Section 1 in certain places, e.g. attendance rate of less than 60%. Either the MP has attended less than 60% – or he/she has not.

    If the discretion is there because there may be good reasons for the lack of attendance, then build those reasons into the text.

    With regards to Section 1(g), i.e. incapacity, do you mean “temporary” or “permanent” incapacity. A temporary situation where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and a return to House in a reasonably short period of time, should surely be treated differently to where the incapacity is of a permanent nature – a situation where the MP is incapable of continuing to effectively represent the electorate.

    Requiring a $250 fee to be paid for the issuance of a recall petition is understandable, but I wonder whether it might put the process out of reach for some? I realise there has to be some way of avoiding flippant/malicious applications etc, but question if this is the right way of achieving that?

    Finally, is it possible to have retroactive legislation?

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