Why the rush to censure Knight?
The Editor, Sir:
Your writer of last Thursday's Letter of the Day, Corve DaCosta, found it "alarming that (K.D. Knight's) Opposition colleagues voted in a manner that apparently sanctioned his behaviour (thereby) sending the wrong signal".
On the contrary, the Opposition members voted against the motion because of a fundamental principle on which our democracy is based - the principle of natural justice. The Government side, with its superior numbers, brought the motion on Friday, debated it, voted for it and sanctioned the member on the same day. All of this took place in his absence, amid the pleas of the Opposition members that he should be allowed to be heard at the following sitting, Mr Knight, at that time, being in court. We were, and are still, at a loss to comprehend the damage that such a delay of a few days could have caused.
What he had to say might have, convinced the senators, or three members of the Government side, that the matter may be dealt with in a different way, such as a reference to the privileges committee of the Senate, which exists for this very purpose and which would not only permit Mr Knight to get a hearing, but also hopefully would facilitate a more sober, reflective and non-partisan consideration of the issues. Surely, this would inure to a greater level of harmony, understanding and tolerance in the conduct of business in the Senate.
Why the quick 'rush to justice', or is it that the appearance of fairness and justice being done no longer counts for anything in the conduct of public affairs?
The Opposition members, unlike the Government side, could not 'sanction' such a fundamental breach being practised and perpetrated in the Senate, whatever the merits of the other arguments of Mr DaCosta and the Government members might be concerning the issues involved.
We are, etc.,
Opposition Members of the Senate