In the light of the marriage equality and presidential age referendums last week – both the product of recommendations of the Constitutional Convention, a review of the current state of play of government responses to the Convention’s recommendations is timely.
The attached table gives the current situation as of today: ICC recommendations as of May 2015
To date, of the 40 recommendations of the Convention:
- 5 have been accepted (two of these, resulting in last week’s referendums)
- 8 have been parked
- 4 have been ignored
- 2 have been given an ambiguous response, to put it at its most charitable (voting age and blasphemy)
- 5 have been rejected
- 16 have yet to be responded to (mostly relating to the final two reports of the Convention that have been awaiting – for a very long time, indeed – any kind of government reaction)
So, to what extent is the government following the recommendations of the Convention? There are two ways of judging this:
- The most charitable reading of governmental reaction (adding together the accepted+parked+ambigious) is 15 out of the 40 recommendations, or 37.5%.
- But probably a more realistic reading is to focus just on those matters that have been formally accepted, resulting in a miserly 5 out of 40, or 12.5% of the Convention’s recommendations.
One more thing to note in the attached table is the level of Convention support for each of its recommendations. It is instructive that of the 40 recommendations the one that attracted least support was the age of presidential candidates. The vote could not have been closer: a bare 50% of the Convention members supported this proposal; 47% were against; and 3% had no opinion. Why the government selected this as the only additional item for a referendum (together with marriage equality) remains a puzzle.