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Doors Locked But No Vote From Batten

GEORGE HAWKINS
Member of Parliament for Manurewa
Labour Spokesperson on Police, & the Serious Fraud Office
Labour Associate Spokesperson on Internal Affairs, & Customs

Manurewa MP George Hawkins is appalled at the inept performance of Mauri Pacific MP and whip, the Rev. Ann Batten.

During an important vote on the Sale of Liquor Amendment Bill (No. 2) the Rev. Ann Batten failed to cast a vote, or abstain, despite being present in the chamber. Members who are present in the House and do not participate in a vote, or abstain during a division, are in contempt of House in accordance with Speakers rulings.

"As a Parliamentarian, the Rev. Ann Batten is required to vote or officially abstain if she is present in the chamber. On this occasion, the Rev. Ann Batten did neither and violated Standing Orders. She has once again demonstrated a complete inability to work as an alert and effective Parliamentarian," said George Hawkins.

The tradition of keeping the doors locked in the chamber and requiring the Members present to vote dates back to England in 1629. The House of Commons wanted to relay their objections to King Charles I regarding the power to approve taxes. Some Members were frightened at the prospect of voting on resolutions conveying the Commons' objections and wanted to leave the chamber at the time of the vote. So the leaders of the Commons demanded that the doors be locked and that everyone inside the locked doors vote.

Since that time, when there has been a division, the doors are locked and Members inside the locked doors must vote. Failure to do so is a contempt of Parliament.

"I wonder why the Rev. Ann Batten is in Parliament if she's not prepared to vote. Either she's for things or against things. She even has the option of registering her abstention from voting. But on this occasion she decided to do nothing and that is in contempt of Parliament. It's a waste of taxpayer's money flying her to Wellington to sit on her hands. She must be an embarrassment to Mauri Pacific," said George Hawkins.

End

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