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Oct 20, 2016

Foreign Affairs Minister Believes New Senator Will Not Help Gridlock

Wilfred "Sedi" Elrington

Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington is of an entirely different position.  He maintains that despite introducing the idea of a thirteenth senator several years ago, it has become apparent that non-government senators often oppose any motion that is tabled simply for the sake of doing so.  Elrington argues that a thirteenth senator is just another cog in the wheel of upper parliament.

 

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“My own view with respect to the Senate in particular is that it’s, because it is not an elected body it doesn’t have the kind of power that an elected body has, you know.  It’s really made up of appointed persons.  I think the initial resistance to the appointment of a thirteenth senator is that we have discovered that every appointee who is not appointed by the government opposes everything that the government does.  I mean there is not an occasion when one of the non-governmental appointee would support the government’s motion and when that is done people seem to be affronted by it.  For example, recently I think there was some fairly big controversy when Senator Rocke voted along the lines that the government senators voted.  People thought he was a traitor, people were so abusive, people were so rude to him because a culture seem to have grown up that if in fact you are not a government appointed senator you must oppose everything that in fact the government comes up with.  So that was the thing that gave the prime minister second thought.  It must be remembered too that he was the one who came up with the idea of a thirteenth senator to bring everybody in.  But when he saw the attitude of the N.G.O.s and their penchant for opposing everything, he thought that it would have seemed to conduce to greater delay in getting things done.  We have a serious backlog of legislation that we need to get past and if these things are simply going to be delayed because some people take positions that are based largely on politics to oppose it, then we do not think that that would have been an advance in our democracy but it was a retardation of our democracy.  But, given the situation the prime minister has decided, government has decided okay let’s go ahead and sign it.  It is not our view that it is going to enhance the process.  We are seriously of the view, I am seriously of the view that it is going to help to retard the process, but it will not stymie it, simply retard it because the Senate is never able to block anything, it can only delay it.”

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