Inefficient and ineffective MPs supported by the Clerk of Parliament

Ok, that’s not exactly what was said, but should MPs be given a free pass on their work ethics andhabits?

Wrong to ask MPs to work efficiently, panel told

Members of Parliament should not be compelled by law to work “efficiently and effectively” because delay was a legitimate political tool, a panel of MPs was told yesterday.

The Clerk of Parliament, Mary Harris, said she wanted the reference removed from the proposed Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Services) Bill.

She told the committee that a requirement to be effective and efficient in some situations was inconsistent with reality.

“For example, Opposition members may see it as their legitimate duty to obstruct the progress of controversial Government legislation by filibustering in the House,” her submission said.

“Such a debating technique is time consuming and does not necessarily align with the usual perception of business efficiency.”

I don’t think anyone expects MPs work to “align with the usual perception of business efficiency”, but a reasonable degree of responsibility and performance should be expected.

The bill should not tell MPs how to do their jobs, she said.

“How members discharge their duties is a matter for them as members of the House and any attempt to dictate the way that they carry out their responsibilities could be regarded, in my view, as fettering the privilege of the House to control its own operation.”

Leaving them to decide how to “carry out their responsibilities” could be regarded, in my view, a free pass for open slather politics with no consideration of what ‘the people’ might want and expect of them.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard said every party in every democracy used the filibuster technique.

Yes, and they should be able to. But it’s a matter of frequency, degree and intent.

I don’t think the people like silly willy nilly filibustering.

In fact from what I hear there are many people who have had a gutsful of poor behaviour and performance from some MPs, and that can severely taintsthe performance of parliament as a whole.

Maybe it’s up to those MPs who do want to work efficiently and effectively to actively support what the people want and impress on their more inefficient and ineffective colleagues that they need to up their game and down their gamemanship.


Leave a comment


  1. James Meager

     /  19th July 2012

    I’m inclined to agree with the Clerk.

    Name and shame poorly performing MPs and use the general election as the ultimate measure of their performance.

    • I’m inclined to agree too, but it would be good to have some practical and fair way (that couldn’t be abused by parties) of naming and shaming during the term.


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