Aus Law Innovations

How to make sure politicians aren’t accused of lying:

Acting speaker Brenton Best ruled that no member of the Tasmanian Parliament could use the words liar, lie or lying anywhere within the House of Assembly. (more)

How to reduce the cost of legal procedures:

Premier Anna Bligh announced the new powers for police to issue on-the-spot notices for public nuisance offences … The move would increase efficiency, save time and fast-track more important matters in the courts by stopping minor public nuisance offenders from clogging the justice system. She said the measures, targeting offences such as public urination, disorderly conduct and abusive language, would save the Government between $18 million and $30 million.  The power to issue on-the-spot fines of between $100 and $300 could result in public nuisance prosecutions soaring 20 per cent. … That could see 5500 more people slapped with the offence across Queensland each year. (more; HT)

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  • Jess Riedel

    I read the “more” and “HT” link, and I still don’t understand the second story. Is the issue that new behaviors have been made illegal (swearing in public, I guess) or that police have been given new powers? If the latter, is it that the police are collecting money in person as opposed to just issuing a citation? Or is it that it’s impossible to appeal a citation once issued by an officer?

    How is any of this different from the typical situation in the US, where you get a citation which you can choose to either pay by a certain date or show up to court to fight?

  • http://rudd-o.com/ Rudd-O

    The entire premise that the republic system rests on, is: The people who make the laws are not supposed to be the people that enforce the laws. The people that enforce the laws are not supposed to be the people that judge the laws. The people who judge the laws are not supposed to be the people who make the laws.

    **That** is the problem.

  • Australian

    Jess: “on-the-spot fine” means that these offences will be treated like traffic tickets: the officer need only take down the offender’s name and address and they are issued a notice of infringement in the mail. Previously, the offender would need to appear before a magistrate.

    I’m sure you’ll be able to appeal, but in Australia the losing party pays the winner’s legal fees, so you’re much less likely to take it to court as you risk $1000s to save $100s.

    • Jess Riedel

      Why does anyone care, then? It’s not any easier for the police to give out these citations, nor is your right to trial/judge being infringed, nor are you required to pay more money for court costs (since, before this law, you *always* had to pay court costs if you were convicted).

      The only thing that has changed is that it is less expensive for the state. Relying on the expense of prosecution seems like a pretty bad protection from the government.

      • http://lesswrong.com/user/komponisto komponisto

        Relying on the expense of prosecution seems like a pretty bad protection from the government.

        It’s one of very few means of protection truly available.

  • Joe Combs

    Another interesting thing about the aussies is that they have instant runoff voting. One time I tried to describe the benefits of IRV and I sat there for a minute trying to explain why it was good, and at they were like, at the end, “we have that.”

  • salacious

    IIRC, there has been a longstanding rule in the british parliment that one MP cannot call another MP a liar during floor debates. The ostensible justification is that once someone is called a liar, that is the end of productive debate…

    • http://williambswift.blogspot.com/ billswift

      Or, possibly, the beginning of a more productive one.

    • ad

      This is why Winston Churchill once accused an opponent of “terminological inexactitudes”.

  • Sigivald

    TMPs cannot say “I am not a liar” in Parliament?

    Excellent.

  • Andr

    So….so this is crazy right?

  • http://www.hopeanon.typepad.com Hopefully Anonymous

    “How to make sure politicians aren’t accused of lying:

    Acting speaker Brenton Best ruled that no member of the Tasmanian Parliament could use the words liar, lie or lying anywhere within the House of Assembly. (more)”

    Is this important for us to look at? I sense this is a waste of time for the minds here in the OB readership.