12 May 2009

Call for end to conscience votes on alcohol issues

3:07 pm on 12 May 2009

Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer is calling for Parliament to abandon the practice of conscience votes on alcohol laws.

Conscience votes allow each individual MP to make their own decision on how to vote, rather than simply follow the party line.

Sir Geoffrey, a former prime minister of New Zealand, says conscience votes can produce laws that are unclear and ineffective, because the House is in a state of free-for-all.

He says alcohol laws are too important to be subject to the vagaries of the conscience vote.

The Law Commission is conducting a major review of alcohol laws and on Tuesday tabled in Parliament the first of three reports on the subject.