Saturday 9 December 2017

"She wants to replace herself with herself,"

I was told by a neighbour.  She had just told me that one of the Senators who was caught up in the dual citizenship/Section 44 of the Constitution debacle is actually trying to do this. 
What this former Senator is now arguing is that because she has now renounced her British citizenship she should be eligible to be included in the recount. I don't think the High Court will come at that one as she was ineligible to be on that ballot paper in the first place. The former Senator is trying to argue that the candidate now most likely to win is no longer a member of the party concerned and therefore would not represent the will of the people.
It's an interesting argument. Do people vote for the party or the person? 
I suspect it is often the person. 
But the business of "resignation" is something else. You can resign or you can offer to resign. There is a big difference between the two things. The former Senator could have offered to resign. Instead, she resigned. It would not have made much difference to the outcome perhaps but it might have made a difference to the arguments she is now trying to use.
I can see where the Senator is coming from, "I didn't mean to resign. I didn't want to resign. You have to reappoint me. It was my job. Now I am unemployed." Yes, it sounds like "splitting hairs" but the reality is that an actual resignation is not the same thing as an offer to resign. The latter should always be discussed. Others - in this case the High Court - should be informed and given the opportunity to say something. It's the democratic way of doing things.
It isn't a nice situation to be in. It will be interesting to see which way the High Court goes. I suspect it will be "no, you were ineligible". After all, there was a very strict interpretation of sec.44 before and every reason to suppose there will be a similar strict interpretation now. 
But had she merely offered to resign and perhaps stood aside while a decision was made perhaps the court could have found a way around it. We will probably never know.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting distinction. It is also a valid one. All she had to say was, "I might have been elected illegally. Will you wait for the court to hear my case?" Isn't there a contract between her and the electorate? You agree to do the job for the term of the parliament in question and then stand for re-election or get voted out or whatever.
It applies in other situations too. Unless there are very good and very obvious reasons for it then people should always be able to have their say - or at least get given an explanation. It's very rude to resign without an explanation at very least.