Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Commission of Enquiry

If T. Aitu's letter in today's Observer is anything to go by, the (HRPP) Government's Commission of Enquiry into the Electoral Act 1963 runs the risk of being discredited even before it makes any official recommendations. The Commission is comprised of ten individuals, of whom
six members were all unsuccessful HRPP candidates in the recent...elections. This means 60% of the Commission are HRPP, 20% are part of Government and HRPP employed and only 20% are non-HRPP.
This isn't exactly the kind of balance one would hope to find in such enquiries. I haven't seen the Terms of Reference for the Commission, so can't comment on whether the whole process has been crippled in a way similar to how the Australian government established the AWB Commission of Enquiry currently underway in Australia. I'd love to see what kind of recommendations it will be able to make.

I'm not suggesting for a second that the enquiry is a complete loss. I've had informal discussions with members of the legal community in the last few days who assured me that there are provisions within the Act that do need to be reviewed. Recent electoral experience has also highlighted a need to review the processes that are used to vette voters' identities, etc. With the membership of the Commission so heavily stacked in the HRPP's favour however, it is hard to imagine a thorough examination of the recent allegations of bribery. We'll wait and see.

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