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Author Topic: CONSTITUTIONAL RATIFICATION (AMENDMENTS) THREAD  (Read 4368 times)
Platypus
hughento
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« on: October 19, 2008, 02:15:51 am »
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This thread is for debating proposed amendments to the Constitution undergoing Ratification in this thread.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 02:25:48 am by hughento »Logged

Platypus
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2009, 10:48:44 am »
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OK, THE CONSTITUTIONAL RATIFICATION VOTING THREAD IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks to the other participants.

All unanimously supported sections are agreed as accepted at this stage. Those not unanimously accepted include:

NAYS:
1,VI
2,V
2,VI
2,XV
4,*
5,XVI
6,XIII
8,I
8,V

AMENDMENTS:
1,II
1,IV
1,VII
1,VIII
1,IX
2,IV
2,V
2,VI
2,VII
2,IX
2,XIV
2,XV
2,XVI
3,II
3,III
4,V
4,XIV
5,III
5,IV
5,XIV
5,XV
5,XVII
6,VIII
6,XV
6,VII
6,IX
6,XIX
7,II
8,IV

NO VOTE:
1,IV
2,XV

...and so we get to discuss the above, here, and flesh out a constitution!
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Platypus
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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2009, 11:16:39 am »
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View of the Nays:

1,VI: The Parliament of the Republic shall have the authority to determine the qualifications of its members, and may censure or expel any member with due cause and a two-thirds majority.

I support this clause, because someone has to determine the qualifications of parliamentarians, and it's better that its parliament than any other possibility. I could accept needing 2/3 agreement on what the qualifications should be, though.

2,V The Prime Minister shall stay in office until a Measure of No Confidence passed by the Parliament of the Republic takes effect or until a new Prime Minister is appointed by the Parliament of the Republic.

This seems like a perfectly reasonable way of doing this. I'm still in favour of it.

2,VI A Measure of No Confidence passed by the Parliament of the Republic shall not take effect until the Parliament of the Republic elects a new Prime Minister.

This is too open. I'll comment more when I discuss amendments.

2,XV The Speaker may only refuse to execute a law if the Speaker resigns from the post or following a dissolution of the Parliament of the Republic.

This comes down to how powerful the role of speaker should be. I think it should be a parliamentary President, otherwise nobody would accept the role. As far as this actual clause goes, it gives a method for the Speaker to refuse to execute a law but one that has significant consequences in the first case personally, and in the second in a governmental way. Note that the Speaker cannot cause the dissolution, but can use the dissolution (ie, the period between the end of one government and the election of the next) as a 'cause for pause' whilst the public determines its stance on the government and its laws, including this one. The new speaker must then enact it, unless the new parliament withdraws it.

Article 4 in total

I voted Nay, because articles 5 and 6 are designed to replace article 4. To have 4, 5 and 6 is overkill and a waste of space; ergo, I choose to reject the relatively weak article 4 for the more robust articles 5 and 6.

5,XVI The Parliament of the Republic shall pass no law impairing contracts law

Waaay too broad. This should be a law enacted by parliament with lots of specific exceptions. Let's determine things like what 'lawfully entered into' means etc before this becomes part of Antillia's framework.

6,XIII Citizens of Antillia shall have the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for themselves and their families an existence worthy of human dignity, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and supplemented by other means of social protection in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, death of a spouse, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control.

Let's leave this to parliament. Social security is important and I look forward to the debates, but at this stage lets keep it out so that we can have that debate.

8,I To take effect, this document must be ratified by the Antillian Constitutional Convention.

I think this should take effect when the GM says it does. The GM will be presented with the final constitution, of course, and it will be ratified..........eventually.

8,V Amendments shall consist of direct revisions to the text, rather than sections added to the end.

Amendments should be able to take whatever form is appropriate.
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Smid
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2009, 06:47:25 pm »
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I realised I missed the boat to propose amendments on the clauses already accepted, but am I able to move fresh amendments on the clauses that are still open to debate, or is debate only open on the amendments previously moved.
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Platypus
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2009, 11:12:29 pm »
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you can propose amendments to any section not yet accepted, mate
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Smid
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2009, 01:22:33 am »
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you can propose amendments to any section not yet accepted, mate

Cheers for that! I assume I can also move amendments to include a clause or two?

I printed off a copy of the Constitution and the list of sections still open for debate and have begun making notes. Was reading the standing and sessional orders of a couple of Australian Parliaments (state and federal) today regarding some of these sorts of things. About to head and catch the train, but will make additional notes on my way home.

Oh, also - shall we have a Preamble?
« Last Edit: February 11, 2009, 01:24:54 am by Smid »Logged
IDS Attorney General PiT
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2009, 11:35:24 am »
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     I would like a preamble. Grin

     Also, it would be nice to see the amendments that are not yet accepted to figure out what we want to do with those.
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Smid
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2009, 08:03:54 am »
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I have a few changes and I'm still going through the Constitution, so I think I shall put forward my thoughts and amendments Article by Article. I have a few years experience with Australian Parliamentary Procedure (but not Constitutional Law) so most of my thoughts and suggestions will be based on how things are done here. Antillia isn't Australia though, so feel free to disagree with anything I say here. Some of my thoughts will be specifically based on procedure here - and as such, I will attempt to support my beliefs with hard evidence that you may find useful. Here are my thoughts and Amendments to Article 1:

1,II Aye
I support the section as moved and am opposed to the amendment. I think any rule about the process of future elections as recommended by the Khan proposal should be set out in an Electoral Act passed by the Parliament, rather than within the Constitution. 

1,IV Amend to:
The Parliament of the Republic shall elect from among its members a Speaker, who shall not be entitled to vote on matters before the Parliament, unless:
a)   the vote is tied,
b)   he or she is entitled to vote under another clause of this Constitution, or
c)   he or she is specifically allowed by an Act of Parliament.


There may be certain exceptional circumstances in which the Speaker should be entitled to vote. This amendment upholds the general principle of disallowing the Speaker from voting, while allowing for my next amendment (which provides a circumstance where the Speaker receives a vote) and also allowing for an Act of Parliament which may define another example where the Speaker is entitled to vote (I can’t think of any at the moment, but it’s better that the Constitution allows for that circumstance). My main concern is when we see votes in which the requirement is a two-thirds majority – I believe that these are typically the instances where the Speaker should be entitled to vote.

1,VI Amend to:
The Parliament of the Republic shall have the Authority to determine the qualifications of its Members, and may censure any Member by moving a motion of censure requiring a majority of Members present, or expel any Member with due cause and a two-thirds majority of Members present, including the Speaker, who is entitled to vote on any expulsion motion.

This reflects the fact that a censure motion carries less impact than an expulsion motion and sets the standard for the vote to pass accordingly higher for a motion of expulsion. A two-thirds majority may be difficult to determine if a vote is tied, so allowing the Speaker a right to vote on an expulsion motion may help prevent confusion.

1,VII
I have not yet made up my mind on this section but am leaning fairly strongly Nay (indeed, the more I think about it, the stronger the urge to vote against this section) and will cast a vote after I have had the chance to hear the Ayes convince me. Again, these rules should probably be part of the Standing Orders of the Parliament. I also have an issue with the practicality of this rule – while in real Parliaments, it is necessary to have a quorum, it would be difficult to measure this in the Antillian Mock Parliament. How do we count who is in the Chamber? How do we count who makes up Members not in the Chamber? If someone had previously registered but was no longer active, should their absence count towards the quorum, or should it only count someone who has been active recently but inactive in the past couple of days? What if they haven’t been inactive, but really have been absent from the Chamber and intend on returning shortly? If the GM determines the party to hold Government by appointing NPCs in the Parliament, will they be counted as being present or absent – and if automatically present, since they’d make up more than half the Members (unless the game becomes very, VERY popular) then we would automatically achieve a quorum.

Even in real Parliaments, 50% is a very high number for quorum – many MPs in Australia, at least, spend most of their days in their offices in Parliament House and show up to vote when the division bells ring. They can follow the debate from the tv in their office. The parties typically keep a duty roster organised by the Chief Whip, setting out who is on “quorum duty” at any time on any given day, including who is the “Minister on Duty.” If quorum falls below the requisite number (rare because of the quorum roster kept by the Whip and usually only happens if the backbenchers on the list have been lazy) the Opposition can (and does) call for a quorum count – at which point the division bells are rung for three minutes and the House attempts to make quorum. I think the quorum for the Australian House of Reps is 15, which is 10%, although I could be mistaken (I’ll look into this and correct it if necessary). Sorry, I’m mistaken, it’s 20% or 1/5th (30 MPs), as defined here:
http://www.aph.gov.au/house/pubs/standos/chapter1.htm

1,VIII (I agree in principle, but think we may need to re-word)
Amend to:
“The Speaker may cause writs for general elections of Members of the Parliament if:
a) it is more than thirty days since the first meeting of the Parliament,
b) the number of days the Parliament has sat less the number of days the Parliament has adjourned is more than twenty-two days, and
c) a Member of Parliament moves a substantive motion to dissolve the House and that motion is carried by a majority of Members present.”


My amendment provides the same idea – that the Parliament must sit for a month before it can be dissolved, however it sets out the time in days, rather than a month, as this provides greater clarity (whereas the number of days in “a month” changes from month to month). It also prevents the Parliament from returning and then adjourning for the remainder of the month in order for a new election to be called without the Parliament sitting for the whole time period (while still allowing the House to be adjourned on weekends without affecting the ability to dissolve the Parliament). The final point shows that it occurs when the majority of the House vote in favour of the dissolution.

1,IX (I support PiT’s proposal of six months rather than five. I wish to slightly re-word, however)
Amend to:
“Every Parliament shall continue for twenty-six weeks from the first meeting of the Parliament and no longer, unless dissolved earlier under Article 1, VIII.”

I move that the Constitution be amended to include:
1, XII
The place of a member shall become vacant if for two consecutive months of any session of the Parliament he, without the permission of the House, fails to attend the House.

This provides for inactive Members. If someone is inactive without good reason (and therefore receiving the permission of the House), there is a by-election held.

I move that the Constitution be amended to include:
1, XIII
Whenever a vacancy happens in the Parliament of the Republic, the Speaker shall issue his writ for the election of a new member.

This will allow for by-elections to be held for characters played by inactive members, characters killed off by players and NPCs killed off by the GM. By-elections can be a way for the GM to show that the Government is losing the support of the electorate, for example.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2009, 09:00:19 am by Smid »Logged
Smid
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2009, 09:36:34 am »
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My thoughts regarding Article 2:

2,IV AYE
The section as moved provides clarity. I think the amendment is also fine, it’s just a matter of personal taste for me and I think I prefer the wording of the section as moved over the amendment.

2,V AYE Although I’d like to see the words “following a General Election or his or her death or resignation” inserted at the end, so that it reads:
The Prime Minister shall stay in office until a Measure of No Confidence passed by the Parliament of the Republic takes effect or until a new Prime Minister is appointed by the Parliament of the Republic following a General Election or his or her death or resignation

As the motion currently reads, a Prime Minister could not resign from the office and the second half is possibly unclear as to when the Parliament may appoint a new Prime Minister. The insertion of the General Election is to state that the Government is formed subsequent to each election and a Prime Minister defeated at an election does not need to then face the humiliation of a vote of no confidence in the House before the new Prime Minister can take his seat. I shall move another clause detailing the rules for the resignation of the Prime Minister.

2,VI
I don’t quite understand this – could somebody explain it to me?

2,VII Amend to:
The Prime Minister shall appoint a Cabinet formed from Members of the Parliament of the Republic

This is to ensure the accountability of the Cabinet. If the Cabinet is not formed by MPs, there is no requirement for any Minister who is not an MP from appearing in Parliament and facing questions from the Legislature.

2,IX AYE
Personally, I think that all Cabinet positions should be left to be determined by the Prime Minister, but if we’re including Ministers in the Constitution, I support the constitutional recognition of the Deputy Prime Minister.

2,XIV AYE
Not hard to understand, really. Perhaps we could include something about being responsible for the administration of their Department, but I’m okay with this. 

2,XV AYE
Ensures the role of Speaker is above partisan politics one by removing the power of veto, although allows for Bills to lapse if the Parliament is prorogued for the purpose of calling an election. Conceivably, if the Bill is supported by the next Parliament, it will be moved at that time and executed by the Speaker.

2,XVI AYE to the Prabhusanjil Amendment
Saves the House from going through a No Confidence motion in the Prime Minister (former Deputy Prime Minister) if he or she doesn’t have the support of the House. Instead, he or she becomes only the Acting Prime Minister until the House appoints a new PM. If the Acting PM has the support of the House, there is nothing to stop him or her being supported as the new PM.

I move that the Constitution be amended to include:
2,XVII
When writs for general elections of Members of Parliament are issued, the Parliament is prorogued until such time as the writs are returned. From the time the writs are issued until either:

a)   the election result is clear and the Government returned, or,
b)   the new Government is appointed,

the Executive Government shall operate according to certain conventions and constraints including:

a)   the Government may not make major policy decisions that may constrain a new Government,
b)   the Government may not make any significant appointments, and
c)   the Government may not enter into any major contracts or undertakings.


This addition is to introduce caretaker provisions that are convention in most Westminster systems. There is a whole policy document setting out guidelines under caretaker provisions available from the Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, located here: http://www.dpmc.gov.au/guidelines/docs/caretaker_conventions.pdf

I move that the Constitution be amended to include:
2, XVIII
A Prime Minister may by writing addressed to the Speaker, resign his place, which there-upon shall become vacant.

As the Constitution presently stands, there is no means by which a Prime Minister may resign, except by persuading the House to move a motion of No Confidence, or by calling a General Election and choosing to not re-contest the role.
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Smid
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2009, 09:37:34 am »
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My thoughts on Article 3:

 
3,II Amend to read
Justices of the High Court shall be appointed by the Speaker, as advised by the Attorney-General and may be any person not a Member of the Parliament of Antillia

In my opinion, this should be a role of the Attorney-General.

3,III Amend to read
Justices of the High Court shall serve until the age of seventy years, resignation, or removal by four-fifths vote of the Parliament, in which the Speaker may cast a vote

I don’t believe that Justices of the High Court should serve until death, I think the age of seventy is a suitable retirement age for judges. My reasoning for the Speaker’s vote is the same as Article 1, VI.

I move that the Constitution be amended to include:
3,V
A Justice of the High Court or of a court created by the Parliament may resign his office by writing under his hand delivered to the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic.

This prescribes the means by which a Justice may resign and is virtually verbatim from s72 of the Australian Constitution http://www.aph.gov.au/SEnate/general/constitution/chapter3.htm, although that section included a slightly more comprehensive version of 3,III – including (as I just found out) the seventy years thing. 

I move that the Constitution be amended to include:
3,VI
In all matters—
a) Arising under any treaty:
b) Affecting consuls or other representatives of other countries:
c) In which the Commonwealth, or a person suing or being sued on behalf of the
Commonwealth, is a party:
d) Between Provinces, or between residents of different Provinces, or between a
Province and a resident of another Province:
e) In which a writ of Mandamus or prohibition or an injunction is sought against an
officer of the Commonwealth:
the High Court shall have original jurisdiction.


This has been lifted directly from s75 of the Australian Constitution (inserting the word “provinces” for the word “states”). This section details when a case shall be heard by the High Court.

I move that the Constitution be amended to include:
3,VII
The High Court of Antillia shall be the court of last resort and its judgement in all cases shall be final and conclusive.

This affirms that there can be no appeals from the High Court – to, for example, the United Nations or an International Court.
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Smid
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2009, 07:46:27 am »
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My thoughts on Article 4:

4,* Nay on Article 4
As Hugh noted, Articles 5 and 6 provide a stronger and more comprehensive protection of individual rights. Listing the rights that someone has implies that they only have these rights. Also, what specifically is “the right to freedom” other than what has already been defined? This is such broad wording that it could be defined to mean anything or nothing. The rights of individuals are better protected from the excesses of Government by specifically limiting the power of the Government.

If this Article is to be passed, I would like to move an amendment to include the following (that this right has been left off/forgotten shows how easy it is for rights to be excluded when we simply attempt to list all rights):

4,XVIII The right to purchase and possess property of value shall not be abridged.
This is to enshrine basic property rights in the Constitution.
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Smid
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2009, 09:03:20 am »
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My thoughts on Article 5:

5,III AYE

5,IV AYE

5,XIV AYE

5,XV AYE

5,XVI NAY
Very strongly opposed to this. It is far better that the contract becomes voidable, rather than the law being overturned based on the fact that two independent parties have a contract that disagrees with the law. The Doctrine of Frustration seems a better way to proceed: http://law.anu.edu.au/COLIN/Lectures/frust.htm - have a look at Krell v Henry and also Brisbane City Council v Group Projects Pty Ltd. I think Krell v Henry is a good example of how this inclusion in the Constitution could actually lead to very strange circumstances. He hired a room over the route the king would take to the coronation, but the king’s coronation was postponed due to the king’s ill health. Under this, the king would still have been unable to postpone his coronation because so doing would “impair a contract lawfully entered into.” The Doctrine of Frustration provides for changes in legislation, allowing one side or the other to exit the contract, without preventing the Government from passing a Bill that interferes with a contract about which the Government may have no idea. Any Bill could go through the rigours of being debated in Parliament, only to be then challenged in the High Court, tying up judicial resources, before finally being overturned, sent back to the Parliament for further amendments so as to not interfere with that contract – but then this new amended Bill may interfere with another contract. No, this is a very bad addition in to the Constitution and I am strongly opposed to its inclusion.

5,XVII AYE
I support this assuming it would not prevent the seizure of proceeds of crime. 
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Smid
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2009, 09:58:14 am »
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I still believe that restricting the Government best protects individual rights, rather than an attempt to list everything that an individual entitled to do. Such a list can in no way be exhaustive and will inevitably lead to some rights being excluded. Nonetheless, since some rights have been enshrined in the sections already passed in Article 6, we must be as comprehensive as is possible and attempt to leave none out of the Constitution.

6,VIII Judging from PiT’s amendments, this is section VIII, rather than VII: AYE
I think that the common law/civil rights of a business are suitably protected from the sort of concerns PiT might have through the use of trespass laws. I can’t see this section interfering with those property rights, but I’ll add an amendment recognising property rights later to make sure.

6,IX Amend to:
Citizens of Antillia shall have the right to move within the Republic of Antillia freely, and to leave Antillia at will except when:
a)   the citizen has an arrest warrant legally issued and signed by a magistrate, or when
b)   the citizen has been released on bail pending trial, or when
c)   the citizen has been convicted of a crime and has not served their sentence, or when
d)   the citizen has been released on parole and has not been authorised by a magistrate.


Allowing citizens to travel wherever they wish whenever they wish may lead to a challenge of the Constitutional validity of imprisonment and may also prevent criminals on the run from being detained at the airport.

6,XIII NAY

6,XV AYE

6,XIX AYE

I move that the Constitution be amended to include:
6,XXI
Citizens of Antillia shall have the right to purchase and possess property of value, to use that property for any lawful purpose and to restrict access and use of that property by any other person.

This is to enshrine basic property rights in the Constitution including acknowledging the unconstitutionality of trespass.
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