Thursday, June 2, 2011

Heather Roy’s bill costs taxpayers $453,000 an hour – just like every other irrelevant bill does

Heather Roy is upset that her bill that aims to change membership of student associations’ from compulsory to voluntary is making slow progress in the House. She says:
Since December 8th last year Labour have filibustered the bill - the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill - every members day since then…and is costing taxpayers over $453,000 – the same cost as a Hone Harawira Te Tai Tokerau by-election – every hour that Parliament sits.

ACT's figure was provided by the Parliamentary Library which took the cost of wages for all MPs and Parliamentary staff and divided it by the average number of hours Parliament sits in a year. Wonder how much that cost to provide?

Member’s bills are the only mechanism backbench MPs have to raise issues they feel strongly about. Filibustering is the only mechanism opposition MPs have to raise issues relating to members bills they feel strongly opposed to and are unable to vote down – once their supplementary order papers have been summarily rejected.

By filibustering, Labour is actually representing the voters and the majority of submitters to a select committee who oppose this bill.

If Heather Roy is so concerned about time wasting, she has several options: Withdraw her bill, convince the government to make it a government bill, or get cross-party support like the government did with the anti-smacking legislation.

Roy claims her bill has cost the country millions of dollars – but it is not money that could have been spent on health, education and funding students associations, as Parliament would have sat anyway.

But this bill is so important to Heather Roy that she is willing to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers money by refusing to withdraw it, or amend it, while complaining of taxpayers money being wasted because other bills can’t be debated instead.

And isn't it good that this lame speech of ACT MP Hilary Calvert only took 48 seconds. Pity, according to Heather Roy, it cost the taxpayer more than $6,000.

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