MPs persistently absent from Parliament without good excuse will have $270 a day deducted from their pay under proposals backed yesterday by a parliamentary committee of all parties.
It could be seen as the Chris Carter amendment after the former MP who was docked the maximum of $10 a sitting day for his absence after being expelled from the Labour caucus.
Now, a report of the standing orders committee backs a move to dock the pay of MPs absent without good cause, by 0.2 per cent of base salary a day, a recommendation of the Law Commission. On a salary of $134,800 that amounts to $269.60.
The standing orders committee, chaired by Speaker Lockwood Smith, also recommends that MPs suspended from Parliament and its services by being "named," also have their pay docked.
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Some of the committee's recommendations will be passed by Parliament next week; others will be recommendations for law changes and will depend on whether the Government formed after the November 26 election accepts them.
One proposal that was shelved in 2005 after being recommended by the committee has been revived.
It is a proposed law change that would effectively extend parliamentary privilege to MPs outside Parliament in some circumstances.
If they were to say outside the House "I stand by what I said in the House" or what someone else had said, they would have immunity from defamation proceedings.
ABSENCE OF MPS
Keep register of daily attendance for MPs to be administered by Sergeant-at-arms rather than party whips, and publish a full attendance record on the parliamentary website including for select committees, official parliamentary travel such as parliamentary conferences, and approved absences.
DOCKING MPS' PAYIncrease substantially the financial penalty forfailure by an MP to attend the House without good cause, at present set at only $10 a sitting day within the Civil List Act 1979.
BAD BEHAVIOUR FINES
Dock the pay of MPs so badly behaved that they are''named' and suspended from the House which occurs for 24 hours at the first naming, seven days on the second naming in the same Parliament and 28 days on the third naming.
IMMUNITY FROM DEFAMATION
Change the law to give MPs immunity from defamation and other civil or criminal proceedings if outside Parliament they orally or in writing stand by something that was said by someone in Parliament
TAKING THE OATH
Require an elected MP who fails to comply with the legal oath when being sworn in to Parliament to leave the House immediately until the Speaker invites them back.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BILLS
MPs will be able to post their proposed private member's bills on the parliamentary website to garner political and public support for them before putting them into the ballot.
BILL OF RIGHTS VET
Recommended that Bill of rights reporting by The Attorney-General be given to substantive amendments to legislation as well as the bill in question.
EXTEND SITTING HOURS
Government will be able to extend the sitting hours once in a week to include either Wednesday or Thursday morning but may not progress the legislation beyond the stage it is up to eg second
reading. Alternatively, the business committee (by consensus) may extend hours to Thursday night or Friday morning.
NOMINATION OF SPEAKER
Return to the traditions in which the Speaker is nominated and seconded "in recognition of the dignity of the office of Speaker.'' Since 1996, candidates have been required to stand and nominate themselves.