The government likes to keep opposition MHAs in the loop, often offering advance copies of legislation and departmental briefings. This provides for more informed debate, discussion and understanding of proposed legislation.
For the most part this session has been all about housekeeping legislation. The government has been tidying up statutes and passing changes necessitated by the settlements with public employees. There has been some progressive proposed changes to the Human Rights Legislation, the Labour Code and the Municipalities Act.
Normally the information sessions provide the opposition with an opportunity to determine what the purpose of the amendment or new legislation is, to determine what is done in other jurisdictions
and look for potential issues of public concern.
The government gets the opportunity to read the opposition, determine to some degree what approach the opposition might take and prepare the Minister for topics that might come up in debate.
Unlike Estimates, these sessions are relaxed, friendly and not all that adversarial.
I had forgotten that.
My desire to understand often trumps my job of mining for soft spots. Instead of scribbling down some exposed weakness in the legislation, I try and show the Minister, through his/her officials why something might be flawed or needs to be reconsidered. That is the job of the legislators. They get to debate and offer amendments in the House of Assembly - fixing problems before debate makes for boring debate.
Getting back into the swing of things takes takes a bit of getting used to.
And I do love a good argument.
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