Anne Tolley in breach of Standing Orders | The Jackal

12 Mar 2020

Anne Tolley in breach of Standing Orders

It appears that despite a large amount of disinformation being propagated about what the law change actually means, the Abortion Legislation Bill will pass into law during its third and final reading.

However the slow process into law hasn’t been without controversy, namely David Seymour’s Supplementary Order Paper that wanted to do away with Safe Zones around abortion clinics similar to those already in place in countries like Australia, Canada and the USA.

Yesterday, RNZ reported:

MPs vote to remove abortion clinic safe zones from Bill 
ACT leader David Seymour's proposal was voted for in two parts - the first, to have the definition of Safe Zones removed from the bill, was narrowly voted down 59 votes to 56. 
However, MPs seemed unprepared for a second vote on the substance of his changes - doing away with all the provisions that would put safe zones in place. 
Up for debate were 150-metre safe zones that could be established around abortion clinics on a case-by-case basis, to prohibit intimidating or interfering behaviour. 
That second vote was on removing all the legal provisions for safe zones, including the ways in which the police could administer them so as to protect women from harassment as they sought abortions. 
That vote, to delete sections 15 through 17 of the bill, was taken in a voice vote only, and it passed - rendering the definition of 'safe area' redundant in the law.

It doesn't make much sense that the house would vote for safe zones, but then vote to remove the parts of the legislation relating to the enforcement of safe zones. Surely this is an error in how the vote was conducted or counted?

Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley passed it on a verbal vote. 
Green MP Jan Logie immediately asked for clarification on what had happened. 
"Can I just check the vote and how it evolved around David Seymour's SOP (Supplementary Order Papers) and what the outcome of that vote ... I just wanted to check and to see if I needed to change my vote". 
Tolley advised it was a "vote on the voices" and the "amendment was agreed to". 
Logie sought leave for a personal vote, but this was rejected.

What a shocker! So not just an error in how the vote was counted, but a calculated move to incorrectly administer the voting process.

This is clearly a breach of Standing Orders that require a personal vote to be held on conscience issues when one is called for, particularly when there’s confusion about the outcome of the verbal vote or the result is close.

The only logical reason National's Anne Tolley wouldn’t allow a personal vote to be held in this instance is because she doesn’t want women to be protected through the implementation of safe zones around abortion clinics.

The House of Representatives still has a way to rectify this voting error caused by an apparent anti-abortionist abusing her powers. But this would require the speaker putting their own personal beliefs aside to allow another vote to be held on the second part of David Seymour’s SOP. I have no doubt that it would also be voted down.

Clearly the majority of MPs are in support of safe zones and an intentional error by Anne Tolley shouldn’t usurp their or the will of the people they represent.