Senatorial Poll Topper Senator Ian Le Marquand has wasted very little time in getting to grips with his Ministerial Duties at Home Affairs.
He has inherited a huge backlog of unfinished business left by his predecessor - the HDLG scandal, (illegally?) suspended Police Chief, Operation Blast, staff shortages, budget constraints and who knows what else?
Besides which he came in (in the eyes of many progressives) as a right wing, authoritarian, ex Magistrate, Devil Dodger.
However despite these fears he has, in a very short time, knocked the long awaited Sex Offenders law into shape and will be presenting it to the States this coming week. Not only does he want the public to be in the States gallery to give him support, he has actively invited them/us to turn up and do so. He did this at a public meeting he chaired last night at St Paul’s Centre which he agreed we could video (below)
Previously he had also agreed to “The Voice” filming his Scrutiny Panel Meeting and at the same time encouraged members of the public to engage in discussion with him, and the Panel, on the proposed Sex Offenders Law.
The importance of this “democratic development” can not be overstated. Firstly we, “the public”, “Bloggers”, “Citizens Media” call us what you will, were allowed to video record the proceedings the same as the “accredited” Press and the world didn’t stop turning!! Secondly the “3 day notice” rule was once again shown to be a nonsense because prior notice was neither sought nor necessary. Thirdly the value of allowing the public to participate in the discussions with Scrutiny and the Minister was demonstrated (the Scrutiny “rules” state members of the public must remain quiet).
However we at “The Voice” do still have reservations. We are concerned at his expressed sentencing policies for young offenders and his lack of enthusiasm for anti discrimination legislation. We have been critical of the Senator in the past and no doubt will be again in the future, and some credit must go where it is due.
But we are pleasantly surprised at his willingness to engage with the public and his strongly independent Ministerial stance. If rumours are to be believed that there might be a vacancy for a Chief Minister in January then Senator Le Marquand must be a strong contender!
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