David Leyonhjelm has written a "Performance Review" on the Shooters Party MLC's first 1 and 2 years in NSW parliament. It can be found on the ‘Australian Gun Owners Blog.’
MLC Performance Review.
By David Leyonhjelm.
In May 2008 it was a year since Roy Smith took his seat in the upper house of NSW Parliament and two years since Robert Brown took over John Tingle’s seat. This post examines their performance over that period.
Politicians must be held to account. We pay their salaries and they spend our money. It is pointless merely being in parliament if it has no effect. We all know that politicians mostly just talk, but outcomes are what really matter; tangible changes that benefit those who voted for them, not just press releases, questions in parliament, speeches and newsletters.
In March 2007 Robert Brown wrote on the party’s website: “We will negotiate the end of the ridiculous twenty-eight day so called “cooling off” period, at least for second and subsequent firearms. This has been dropped by most other jurisdictions, as being pointless and expensive.”
After the election Shooters Party members were told in a newsletter in the third quarter of 2007: “Our two votes will be crucial again and again, and the Government will be aware of that when our members are negotiating improvements in the firearm laws, and other matters affecting legitimate firearm owners.”
Roy Smith’s inaugural speech in parliament spelled out a list of objectives.
Smith and Brown regularly do hold the balance of power in the Legislative Council. Many votes are decided by a majority of one, two or three votes, meaning there would have been a different result if they had voted differently.
However, it is also a fact that they do not hold the balance of power exclusively. There are eight cross bench members, including the Greens with four and the Christian Democrats with two. If the Greens and Christian Democrats join with either the Government or Opposition, the two Shooters Party votes will not determine the result.
So, given that, have Brown and Smith met the expectations they raised? This is my opinion of their performance so far. For background, go to the summary on MLC Watch or for more detail, Hansard is on line. My rating of their performance (out of 10) is as follows:
Brown: 2 for effort 1 for results
Smith: 5 for effort (mostly due to the Firearms Amendment Bill) 0 for results
To understand why they have been given this rating, Go to David's article for a detailed rundown, I thoroughly recommend it.