For the past days I have been watching the shenanigans of our elected representatives with horror, sadness and shame. The democracy we hold so dear to our hearts and are so proud of looks like a joke when you see the behaviour of our august parliamentarians in the hallowed halls of parliament House. I am not going into the merits or demerits of any Bill in particular but simply highlighting how things happen. We all witnessed how our 49th state was created yesterday.You do not need to be a rocket scientist to understand the reasons for the rush in passing this Bill in an election year. Once again sleeping with the enemy was acceptable as every party wanted a share of the pie.
To my simple mind, the very fact that there were so much dissent to this bill, would have meant that it should be looked at again and not passed in a hurry behind closed doors while a technical or tactical glitch kept the drama away from the very people whose government you are meant to be. Once rushed through the lower house, the higher house spent a 'day' discussing it before again passing it. What we saw was people shouting, holding placards, and shouting some more. One has to ensure that Parliamentarians have a good pair of lungs! But jokes apart it all seem well orchestrated: you will shout, you will try and speak, and the chair will intersperse it all with a dose of 'please sit down' and the ultimate 'the house is adjourned for 10 minutes' and the whole thing repeated over and over again till the time everyone wants to have his evening drink and meal. Then the show changes mode and you go on to pass the bill by what they call voice vote. The punch line then is either the ayes or the noes who have it, have it, have it and voila the fate of millions is decided. Yesterday there were many moments when MPs were busy laughing or talking and never said there ayes and noes. It was all prearranged.
One would have thought that Parliament is where people discuss and amend bills. Not at all. It is where politics is played at an astronomical cost paid by you and me. There are over 130 bills
pending and one day to pass them.
There is one day left. I wonder how many bills will be passed today. Will the Disabilities Bill be passed or are the disabled people not a good vote bank, and what about the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act to ease restrictions on use of opioids like morphine for pain management. Will it be passed or will the cancer patients be denied an easy death because our MPs are too busy garnering brownie points.
Only time will tell.