Alex Penk

By Alex Penk - 05/08/2017

Alex Penk

By Alex Penk -

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The dangerous appeal of binding referendums

“Actually, when you drill into it, there are some big reasons to think twice before embracing binding referendums.”

Click here to check out Alex Penk’s latest column in the Weekend Press:
Why populist politicians favour the dangerous appeal of referendums

“Crucially, we’re not all experts. Parliament has to deal with some pretty complex issues, and limited resources. Remember the 1999 referendum, which asked whether there should be ‘a reform of our justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims … and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences.'”

“Questions like these involve trade-offs, and you need good information and expertise to make the right calls. The vast majority of us simply do not have the time or expertise to make good, detailed judgment calls on these issues.”

“Even if we do, the format of binding referendums is typically far too simplistic to make good law. They offer us a simple question and a simple yes/no option, with no opportunity to amend the question or compromise.”

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Alex Penk

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