3 November 2005

NZ Parliament: conscience votes

While I inevitably disagree with the substance of Maxim's views (and, quite frankly, find much of their "research" dubious), they are rather good at creating wizz-bang web features which assist with the debate and dialogue on some political social issues. See, for example, Letter Writing Wizard, Change Agent Toolkit, and NZ Votes. Of course, while these are no doubt intended to be used by moral conservatives, they are also useful for social liberals! One of the more recent ones I've come across (hat-tip: Tony via Jeremy) is a wizard showing how MPs votes on the "conscience" issues in the last Parliament. You can input how you would have voted and see which MPs shared the same views. Out of interest, my votes would have been as follows:
Civil Union Bill: Yes Relationships Bill: Yes Death With Dignity Bill: Yes Prostitution Reform: Yes Sale of Liquor Act (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction): No Care of Children Amendment: No
This apparently puts me in the same league as the following MPs:
- Deborah Coddington - Rodney Hide - Heather Roy - Ken Shirley - Sue Bradford - Rod Donald - Jeanette Fitzsimons - Keith Locke - Nandor Tanczos - Metiria Turei - Tim Barnett - Steve Chadwick - Helen Duncan - George Hawkins - Dave Hereora - Marian Hobbs - Pete Hodgson - Judith Tizard - Russell Fairbrother (who abstained on one vote).

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Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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