Great Council Transition Act

I submit this for consideration. My one issue is with the maintenance of laws. I’m not sure if we want to keep our laws, to ensure continuity, or blanket repeal them, to place more pressure on the need to rewrite them in a way suited to our new legal context.

An act to regulate the implementation of reforms adopted by the 2022 Great Council

1. General Provisions

(1) This law is a constitutional law and has precedence over all general laws and regulations.

(2) This law considers the following terms:

  1. Omnibus Bill - the final bill that consolidates all reforms considered by the 2022 Great Council.
  2. Official - an individual who was elected or appointed to discharge duties to the benefit of the Government of the South Pacific, up to and including ministerial staff or staff of equivalent rank.
  3. Treaty - an agreement signed by the Government of the South Pacific and a foreign government, establishing rights and obligations between each other, subject to approval by the Assembly.

2. Continuity of Government

(1) The Delegate and the Prime Minister will continue to serve until the expected conclusion of their term, as provided by the laws in place at the time of their election, but they shall have the powers and duties afforded to them by the omnibus bill.

(2) The Chair of the Assembly will continue to serve until the expected conclusion of their term, provided that for such purpose their term will have started upon passage of the omnibus bill, and they shall have the powers and duties afforded to them by the omnibus bill.

(3) Justices of the High Court will continue to serve, and they shall have the powers and duties afforded to them by the omnibus bill.

(4) Members of the Council on Regional Security are appointed to the Security Council.

(5) The election or appointment of all officials not listed in this law will expire upon passage of the omnibus bill.

3. Code of Laws

(1) Treaties will remain in effect upon passage of the omnibus bill.

(2) Rulings of the High Court will remain in effect insofar as they are not contradicted or repealed by the omnibus bill, but this may not be read to allow the nullification of sentences that were duly given in accordance with the laws of their time.

(3) All laws, resolutions, orders, and other regulations will be repealed upon passage of the omnibus bill, except in such cases where their existence is required by the omnibus bill.

I’m inclined to support a blanket repeal. It’ll light a fire under the Assembly and avoid a weird scenario where existing and Great Council laws might clash.

Perhaps a middle ground where certain fundamental laws (for example, the Criminal Code) are retained, but where we otherwise lean towards a blanket repeal? That is, of course, assuming that we aren’t drafting new versions for those laws that we want to retain.

Is there a reason the Legislator Committee isn’t included in 2(2)? Same for the General Corps?

Frankly, because they didn’t come to mind when I drafted this.

Just a poke on this. I’d like to bring the following amendment up for consideration.

I have incorporated that change. On that note, absent further comments I intend to seek passage of this proposal prior to the end of general debate.

On Article 3, Section 2, I would like to see rulings be made into a new section 3.

“Rulings and Opinions of the High Court shall remain in effect as precedent insofar as any new laws do not alter the status quo”

Or something like along those lines.

This would bring the Act in line with several years of precedent and codify it, so no such ambiguity might arise in the future in the form of a High Court case.

I have added a provision to that effect, though I would welcome thoughts on the merits of keeping rulings vs. having a clean slate.

Why were members of the Legislator Committee and General Corps removed from the current draft?

Obviously, we could (and likely will) pass laws changing the structure of those institutions during the remainder of the GC. Depending on how those legislative debates shake out, I think it would make sense to continue including those institutions.

I consider this act to still be a work in progress, so any draft should be considered to be "as of today" rather than any sort of final version. I would likely issue a final call before I actually seek a motion to vote, to ensure that any and all concerns are addressed before the draft is set in stone and no further changes as possible.

With the above in mind, I prefer to wait until both the Defence Act and the Voter Registration Act are mostly done before I include language related to both of the institutions you mention, mainly so I can have a more definitive idea of how that language would look like (e.g. whether to retain the membership of the Legislator Committee or transfer it to a new institution, similar to what I’ve done with the Security Council).

Sounds good, I didn’t realize that was the logic behind the most recent round of rewrites

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if we didn’t automatically carry over any of our elected/appointed officials (or if we held a simple approval vote for each one).

I’m generally not a fan of having approval votes. It seems like a lot of work for little benefit.

I’m not sold on them either, but one of the major arguments in favor of calling a Great Council was the rejuvenation and renewal of our government. It feels like a bit of a half-measure to rework all our laws and our entire Charter but just automatically insert almost everyone from the previous system into the new one.

I could go for the most extreme version of a clean slate and dismiss all government officials without distinction, but I don’t know how popular that would be.

That’s something I can support, more than a half and half distinction. A full refresh of our officials, along with our laws.

I have a feeling that it would be a logistical nightmare. If we are talking clean slate, then we, by definition, are talking about the Security Council, Coral Guard, Delegate, Leg Comm, EC, etc.

Who appoints the EC that will conduct every election simultaneously? What if someone cries foul when the EC makes a questionable call? There is no Court to adjudicate the claim.

Do we want every position that is elected up for election at the same moment? That could be a very corruptable moment, not to mention dangerous for potential infiltrators looking to take advantage of an uncertain step in our region’s future.

Similarly, do we want to give our first PM under the new system a huge amount of lasting influence and task them with appointing every person to all the appointed posts? Talk about the logistical burden for not just the PM, but the Assembly to confirm (or rather rubber stamp) these confirmations. That doesn’t even consider the “traditions” that the first PM has the opportunity to create.

I am fine with holding elections and all, but cleaning house might be a bridge too far.

I know that this seems a bit doomsday-sounding coming from me, but we do need to consider how far we really intend to go when we say “clean slate” and “full refresh”

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That’s why I brought up the possibility of approval votes. I mean, passing this act would be tantamount to holding an approval vote for the Delegate, Prime Minister, Chair of the Assembly, Justices of the High Court, and members of the Council on Regional Security all at once. Why not break it up?

Precisely because it would be multiple votes.