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Is it indefensible for a lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour? [With Poll]

By johnboy - 20 March 2012 26

Liberal Leader Zed Seselja is flogging his dead horse about Shane Rattenbury’s past links to Greenpeace.

Weirdly Zed feels it’s important for the Green MLA to say things Zed wants him to say. But his argument gets weirder still:

Two Greenpeace members have pleaded guilty to property damage of CSIRO experimental crops reportedly worth $300,000. ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said today it is now up to Shane Rattenbury to finally condemn illegal, destructive behaviour.

“Now that the Greenpeace members who broke into the CSIRO facility and ruined these crops have pleaded guilty, it is up to Shane Rattenbury to condemn it, as he has refused to do to date,” Mr Seselja said.

“Just last week, he refused to immediately and unequivocally condemn the apparent destruction of property at a Canberra egg farm.

“It’s indefensible for any lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour, let alone the Speaker of the Assembly.

“I call on Shane Rattenbury to today publicly state his position on the CSIRO case,” Mr Seselja concluded.

Let’s look at that again:

It’s indefensible for any lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour

It seems to me that history is replete with great law makers who supported unlawful behaviour, because they believed the law was wrong, and were vindicated by history.

Springing to mind are the parliamentarians who said no to Charles I and gave birth to what we think of as Westminster Democracy, slavery abolitionists both in the UK and the USA, Germans who opposed genocide, and South Africans who stood up against apartheid.

I’m also pretty sure the great US legislator Lyndon Johnson would fall afoul of Zed’s dictum with his work towards civil rights.

I’m not convinced Shane Rattenbury’s conscience falls into this category. But if all lawmakers will be forced to subvert their consciences to the laws as they stand we’ll be, in my opinion, in a pretty dark place.

"It’s indefensible for any lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour"

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Aside from the poll I invite readers to nominate individuals from history, greater than Zed Seselja, who supported unlawful behaviour?

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Is it indefensible for a lawmaker to support unlawful behaviour? [With Poll]
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tommy 7:59 pm 22 Mar 12

“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so” – Thomas Jefferson (probably liked an egg for breakfast)

poetix 5:56 pm 22 Mar 12

“You don’t know the power of the beige side.”

johnboy 5:34 pm 22 Mar 12

And how could we possibly have forgotten Senator Leia Organa

So is Zed a Vader, a Palpatine, or a Moff Tarkin?

VicePope 10:22 am 22 Mar 12

We have legislatures – yes, even silly little ones like the ACT Legislative Assembly – to make laws, and to oversight delegated legislation made under their power. A legislature makes, or considers making, a new law where (a) there is no existing statutory framework and one is considered to be necessary or (b) there is a political/executive opinion that an existing statute needs to be changed or updated or repealed. Inevitably, the second of these means that sometimes, some members of the legislature advocate against an existing legal norm. In some cases, this means they are asserting that an action that is unlawful under an existing framework should, in some circumstances, become lawful. In some cases, it might be vice versa, It’s part of their job.
The more difficult issues are to determine whether the unlawful action (for which a lawful status is sought) is one that would occur whether or not it was lawful, whether disobedience to an existing law is an available (moral, proportionate, considered) form of protest against that law and whether and to what extent the interests of parties other than the state may be affected by the unlawful action.

Deref 8:03 am 22 Mar 12

Where’s the “moronic” option?

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