Council Of State Official Hansard
Montenbourg last edited by Montenbourg
Official Riksdag Debates (Hansard)
Speaker: Urban Ahlin
First Deputy Speaker: Esabelle Dingizian
Second Deputy Speaker: Ewa Thalen
Third Deputy Speaker: Bjorn Soder
Prime Minister: Xavier Bettel, Classical Monarchist Party in coalition with the Liberal Party
Mr SPEAKER: I have received letters from the Rt. Hon. Claire Underwood, and Justin Trudeau seeking to debate, under Standing Order 389, the announcement made by the Prime Minister that he would resign as Prime Minister on 1 April. This is a particular case of recent occurrence for which there is ministerial responsibility.
Applications for urgent debate are required to be accompanied by authentication, and have been declined in the past because of a lack of authentication. I draw members' attention to Speakers' rulings 205/5 and 205/6. The application from Mr Anderson was not accompanied by any authenticating—[Interruption] Order! [Interruption] Order! However, the purpose of authentication is to verify the facts in an application for an urgent debate, and to make out the case in support of it. In this instance, the facts of the matter are well known and hardly require authentication. I am prepared, on this occasion, to accept the application without authentication. The resignation of a Prime Minister is a very rare occurrence and is deserving of the urgent attention of the House.
Miss Underwood and Trudeau's application for the urgent debate on the matter was the first one received.
Hon JOE TALLONSI (Leader of the House of Commons): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. This would be an urgent debate on the first occasion after an event has taken place. The event has not taken place. The Prime Minister has indicated an intention but has not resigned.
Mr SPEAKER: The announcement has taken place, and that is the matter that is important here.
Rt Hon ELLIOT TIMOTHY (Leader—CMP): I move, That the House take note of a matter of urgent public importance. Being the Prime Minister of a country is an achievement, and holding that position for 15 years is a significant feat. So let us begin this debate by remembering that and thanking the Prime Minister for his service to the country. We wish him and his family well.
Whenever a Prime Minister leaves the stage, we glance back to consider what has been achieved. He has been rated by the media as one of our most popular Prime Ministers. There is no doubt that he had that teflon factor that many of his peers will be coming to envy very soon. But no matter what side of the political spectrum one comes from, many ordinary Montenbourgians have been able to relate to him. From the Province house in Hever to the ninth floor of the Strasbourg, it is something that William Anderson aspired to from the days when he was a young boy, and he can be proud of that.
As a politician he became an astute pragmatist, plotting his moves with his eyes fixed firmly on the polls, which the Classical Monarchist Party takes every 3 days. The question that, as time passes, people will ponder is: so what really is his legacy? Is Montenbourg in as good a shape as he told us yesterday, or is the reality something very different?
Well, take housing: what has been the legacy on housing? Eight years ago he campaigned on a four-point plan to solve what he called "the housing affordability crisis". He talked of "the enormity of the problem" and that it was the second-worst housing affordability problem in the whole wide world. He said in 2007 that the housing crisis had got worse, and that the crisis would only deepen. In 2010 he promised to deliver as PM and build more houses under the Coalition. He got his chance, became Prime Minister.
So what is the record? Eight years later the housing crisis has seriously gotten better under the coalition alliance with the greens. Government started selling off thousands of State houses, upgrading them, and building more.
Hon JON TALLONSI: Stop reading the speech.
Rt Hon ELLIOT TIMOTHY: I beg your pardon?
Hon JON TALLONSI: Stop reading your speech; say what you really think. Stop reading it.
Rt Hon ELLIOT TIMOTHY: Well, I am telling you what I really think, Mr Tallonsi, because, unlike you, some of us people in this country are concerned—nothing to do with you, Mr Speaker—enough to do something about it.
Hon JON TALLONSI: No, it's rubbish.
Hon JOHN ADAMS (Deputy Prime Minister): I would have thought that on this occasion, the first time in, what, a hundred years that a Prime Minister has voluntarily decided to resign the job—
Hon JUSTIN TRUDEAU (Liberal Party): No, the Scandal his armed.
Hon JOHN ADAMS: Well, he was under a pressure and he has never been under—never been under. I would have thought the member might be slightly more generous. But he was not. William Anderson would rather work hard and strive for a better country; that member works hard and strives for a bitter country. A better country or a bitter country—and it could not be more exemplified than by that contribution.
The other difference is this: the Prime Minister, who has announced his resignation but not yet resigned, has always believed you get the best from people with confidence, not with divisiveness—with confidence, not with division. That member should acknowledge today that he could have learnt a few political lessons. Like the actual green, liberal coalition. There was a time when he could fill a stadium—.
Hon JUSTIN TRUDEAU: In a small stadium.
Hon JOHN ADAMS: No, it was the Hallmark Stadium, to be fair, and it was a big crowd, and then they were ready for him. But William Anderson has had the impact of changing the way Montenbourg politics works, and his legacy is not the tirade of bitterness that the member thought was appropriate for this occasion—I actually do not think the member believed most it—his legacy is actually the opportunity he has left for this country to achieve so much in the next 5 to 10 years. [Interruption] What state is it in? Of course, there are intractable social problems—
Hon. Adolf Heinz-Steimer (Leader of the Oppossition Nationalitz Party): Oh, intractable. Oh, you don't claim responsibility.
Hon JOHN ADAMS: They have proven to be so in the past—as the members opposite were in Government and spent billions of dollars of taxpayers' money trying to deal with those difficult social problems such as youth unemployment. But under Anderson's leadership, with the fresh thinking, with the almost unpolitical way he has approached those problems, this Government has developed a tool kit that will allow us over the next 5 or 10 years to finally get a grip at an individual and personal level on the kinds of social challenges that the member outlined. In that sense we agree. Of course there are social challenges. The question is: who has got a fresh view on those old social challenges? William Anderson did and still does, remarkably, after 5 years as a party leader and 10 years as a Prime Minister.
The member also referred to this odd argument that economic growth should not count people—that if more people want to live in your country that is a problem for economic growth. It is not. Of course if you say "If we take away all the things that make the economy grow, it's not growing."—that is true. But, actually, the member may recall that he—and certainly his colleagues in Opposition—campaigned for quite some time that not enough people wanted to live in Montenbourg. So they have to answer this question: do they believe that it is better to have people leaving the country, because that drives up per capita GDP, or do they believe it is better that our children prefer to live here, as they have amply demonstrated under the stewardship of Prime Minister William Anderson?
Just to give a sense of the magnitude of that: in 2012 there was a net outflow of 39,000 people to Austrur and other European countries. That is actually bigger than the number of seats in the stadium where the Prime Minister did the election ad. Last year there was an inflow of 2,000. That is, from my point of view, one of the lasting legacies of William Anderson. He persuaded Montenbourgians with his confidence and his leadership that this could be a country where their children would want to stay and make a living and raise a family. In fact, we keep thinking that the tide must turn, but it has not—but it has not.
So I can quote all sorts of economic figures about where the economy has got up to, but the measure of his legacy is that our children, our families now think when they look at the rest of the world that this is a place where they have more confidence that they can realise more of their aspirations. [Interruption] You know, that is the difference in this House: we are in favour of growth and everyone else is against it. That is pretty much how it is unwinding.
I just want to take the opportunity to make a few comments not just on the Prime Minister's legacy but on his way of being a politician, his way of working with other people. I must say that the way he has conducted his exit from his position illustrates the graciousness and the consideration that he has shown every single day that I have worked with him as a deputy leader and a Deputy Prime Minister. This is a Prime Minister who, despite the enormous pressures of the job, is always able to turn up to work and deal with people in a confident and cheerful manner, always in a positive manner, always in a considerate manner, and is always polite. The way he dealt with people he met on the campaign trail is the way he has dealt with his colleagues every single day that he has held office, with just a few days left to go.
That has been at the core of his other major achievement—and that is stable and trusted Government. The Opposition members might laugh at that, but in the world as we know it, stable and trusted Government is becoming increasingly rare. We are one of the few countries where that is now the case, and an important part of that achievement of stable and trusted Government has been the integrity of the Prime Minister and his ability to ensure that the Government remained cohesive, that the relationships in it were positive, and that it could continue to make the decisions that are necessary to take the country forward.
So the Prime Minister will not in any way be belittled by the comments of the Opposition. He never let that bother him. And, actually, it does not matter what Adolf say today; it will be as irrelevant as the things they said for the whole 10 years he was Prime Minister. It made no difference. Despite political obsession with William Anderson—known as "Anderson Derangement Syndrome"—these amazing political machines never laid a finger on him, never knocked him off track, never brought him down, and never distracted him from the task of achieving what was best and right for Montenbourgians.
In that context—that is, the Prime Minister's performance in the bear pit of politics—he had no equal. [Interruption] Well—he had no equal. OK, so our Party talks about Claire Underwood. William Anderson beat Claire Underwood by a long way in an primary election, and, actually, the Party has not ever recovered from it. In the bear pit of politics the Prime Minister showed that he had the strength and the direction to maintain the position of Government, maintain the trust of the people, and, ultimately, to leave the country in a much, much better state than he found it, despite the challenges that he had to deal with.
Finally, the measure of the Prime Minister and his legacy is that he has left a team in great shape. We have seen what has happened to political parties when leaders stay too long. The Prime Minister has left this talented, energised team with a clear sense of direction, and the best way to fulfil his legacy is to build on those achievements.
ADOLF HEINZ-STEIMER (Leader of the Opposition): I agree with the Deputy Prime Minister and aspiring Prime Minister about one thing, at least, and that is that on the occasion of the resignation of the Prime Minister it is appropriate to be generous in one's offerings about not only the departing Prime Minister but one's colleagues in this Council of State. But the aspiring Prime Minister could not even do that. It did not take long for Mr Adams to descend into the usual bitter, angry, nasty tirade that he is reputed for.
In answer to the question "What do Governments most fear?", Macmillan said: "Events, dear boy, events." Yesterday we had an event, and today we have seen the faces of the Government, and they are in fear. They are in fear. They do not know what is going to happen, they do not know who is going to win, and they do not know what the outcome is going to be. So on the occasion of the resignation of the Prime Minister, who has served for 10 years, let us acknowledge that that is a significant event: constitutionally, politically, and in a variety of other ways. Let us accept that serving in high public office is tough. Let us also recall that having checks and balances in our constitutional system is meant to constrain, and that being under daily, if not hourly, scrutiny is meant to enlighten and call to account. That is our system. That is what makes it tough—and it is tough.
It is right, sometimes, to put political differences aside and say to a political opponent: "Thank you for the service that you have given to our country." It is not for me to conduct some sort of panegyric; that is for the historians—the real historians—who will have the benefit of the distance of time at some point in the future to decide what William Anderson's legacy is and how that has served Montenbourg. I just say that it is right for the House to acknowledge the leadership that William Anderson has given over the last 10 years. But right now, in the present circumstances, who replaces William Anderson is a question for right now for only the National Council of the Classical Monarchist Party members. They sit over there; it is their choice. It is not necessarily what Montenbourgians expected. They expected that having elected a party to Government with a Prime Minister, he or she would serve out the full term, but now that is a matter entirely in the hands of their caucus.Thing that needs to change, dissolving the cabinet and calling new elections.
One thing remains unchanged throughout all of this, and that is that too many Montenbourgians are still missing out. William Anderson was quoted in a MBC News article in February this year as saying that voters only really care about four things: defence, education and law and order. So let us have a look at defence, education and law and order because the track record ain't that flattering.
When we have a look at defence, $1.7 billion was cut, effectively, from the defence budget: the defence budget that has failed to keep up with population growth and a changing population profile;
That was defence—what about education? Well, what we have seen now is a freeze on education funding. Schools are struggling to do the job we expect of them, struggling to give our kids a chance to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We saw the report last week, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study report, that sees Montenbourgians going backwards: larger class sizes, more pressure on teachers, and—would you believe—a freeze in funding. How does that happen with a Government that says to Montenbourgians that it is committed to a brave new world of the future but will not give a chance, will not give opportunity, to young Montenbourgians when they need it?
So what about law and order? At a time of the most rapidly growing population in Montenbourg, and at a time when crime is rising—now 2 years in a row, with burglaries, assaults, robberies, and serious crime—we have a freeze on police numbers. We have declining police morale. How does that work in a country that is on the cusp of something special?
Nationalitz has a plan and our nation is ready. Nationalitz has a plan for Montenbourg. Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways all across our land. And we will do it with Montenbourgian heart, Montenbourgian hands, and Montenbourgian grit. We propose spending $25 million on immigration, including $18 million for a wall along the Austrur and Complutum border. The remainder shall be used for new immigration and Border Patrol agents and technology on both the nation's borders.
We want every Montenbourgian to know the dignity of a hard day’s work. We want every child to be safe in their home at night. And we want every citizen to be proud of this land that we love.
MAKI UKOA (Co-Leader—Green): William Anderson, the retiring Prime Minister, never put children and families first. At every opportunity he refused to put the needs of families and children ahead of the interests of the wealthy few. This is actually the legacy of William Anderson. I am surprised by John Adam's response tonight in this debate, because there are thousands and thousands of Montenbourg families who know that they are doing worse than ever under the leadership of William Anderson and the Classical Monarchist Party. For 10 years Anderson has had an opportunity to turn life around for the families who need him the most. At every point he has refused to help them.
Let us not forget that the first thing he did when he became Prime Minister was to give tax cuts to the rich. That was his first decision. It was to give tax cuts to the very richest families in this country—leaving working families who were subject to the harms caused by the global financial crisis right out of the picture. It was the rich who did the best out of Anderson when he first took the prime ministership, and it is still the rich who are doing the best from Anderson 10 years later. The families and children of hard-working Montenbourgians were left out by William Anderson and left out by this Government.
Hon JOHN ADAMS: Which is also your Government! we are on coalition and yours Ministries and Secretariats ate the ones in charge of family and poverty! This is nonsense.
MAKI UKOA: A work obstructed! The only way we can put families and children at the heart of Government decisions is to change the Government in 2018.
Hon JOHN ADAMS: This is clearly an inside coup that the coalition is doing!
MAKI UKOA: Not in my words first minister, even though William Anderson has gone and his leadership is now over, the Classical Monarchist continues with that evil programme that denies the rights of families and children to a decent life in this country. It has been shameful watching John Key make decisions that leave families and kids out in the cold.
Anderson was heard saying this morning that Montenbourg is largely the envy of the europe—the envy of the developed world in terms of job creation and job growth. No, it is not. No, it is not for the Montenbourgians who live here who are struggling to pay their rent and put food on the table and pay their power bills. This is the reality for thousands of inmigrant children. They are not envious. This is a shameful legacy that Anderson leaves us. There are so many things that could have happened under Anderson's leadership that he ignored because Montenbourg families and their children were never at the core of his decision making.
Hon JOHN ADAMS: Don't make a drama about it Ukoa, your secretary clearly goes in favor of the actual Family policy. And is not that grave, you a putting it because you need to be specific about the Illegal inmigrants, which is a minority, you are using it to encompass a full family policy.
Hon ELLIOT TIMOTHY: This is a special debate called for by the Opposition, the Greens, and Liberal parties so that they might debate the occasion and the circumstances of the decision by the Rt Hon William Anderson to resign as Prime Minister, effectively next Monday, and for there to be new leadership in the Classical Monarchist party and, therefore, as Prime Minister as well. So it seems a little bit odd, having decided that they would request this time of the House, for these parties to then spend it trying to push policies that have been roundly approved and rejected in the last 10 years, through two elections—three elections in fact—by voters in Montenbourg. Why would we ever imagine that it would be a good use of the House's time to debate the policies of the 2008, 2011, and 2014 elections all over again? That is the problem with the Opposition in this country: they have no moment where they are in the present.
That speech from Maki Ukoa was nothing but nasty garbage that is not even slightly reflective of how Montenbourgians see the performance of the current Government—let alone the status that they hold William Anderson in and the way in which they consider him to be a great leader for this country.
They went on about so many different things that it is hard to cover them all; I will try to cover some. But I make the point that if an Opposition is going to go from being an Opposition into Government, then it should stop insulting 50 percent of the voters who do not think that they are up to it and start trying to persuade 50 percent of the voters that they can offer something a little more hopeful than the dismal rubbish that we have had pouring out this afternoon.
Let us just look at a few of these things. Firstly, if that was not a request for an urgent transfer to a retirement home, I do not know what it was. That was the sort of rose-coloured nostalgia that worked 20 years ago. It does not reflect [Interruption]—not in Montenbourg. That is one of the things that Montenbourg is going to have to come to terms with in the next several months if it is going to be anywhere near competitive in the next election. It is that moving on, that recognising the situation of today and finding solutions for today and for tomorrow that Anderson has been so very good at.
When Mr Adams spoke he talked about the Prime Minister's relentless optimism. I have never seen him anything other than optimistic about the future of this country. I have never seen him daunted by a problem that this country has, but I have seen him apply himself and demand the same rigour of others in his ministry to solving some of those problems. So when Ukoa talks about poverty in this country—where were the Greens for 9 years when the Liberal Government did not lift benefit income for any poor Montenbourgian? That took a Anderson Government to do that. Where were they around things like the family tax credit? No—they were opposed to it. Where were they around all of the various types of job creation that comes from expanding trade or that comes from freeing up the way in which people can do business? Nothing. We had high unemployment in 2008, we had an economy that was in severe trouble in 2008, and we had interest rates for people who were in houses in 2008 topping 10.5 percent. And that, apparently, was good for poor people. That was a disgrace that that can be offered as any kind of recipe going forward for the coming election.
Saying Mr Anderson has failed to house Montenbourgians. Well, we have never seen the likes of housebuilding in Montenbourg at any time compared with what we have got now. That is a programme that is not propped up by some sort of mad Government scheme that says "subsidise, subsidise, subsidise". It is a programme that enables people to get hold of land, allows building companies to go ahead and do those subdivisions, and is backed by finance packages that people can avail themselves of. In the end it is all about supply; no one disagrees with that. But how that supply is created is crucially important. The once-proud Liberal Party claimed, through Michael Savage, that homeownership was the big deal, and having a home was a big deal. Nowadays it is only if the Government—according to them—lets you have it. That will not be a recipe that Montenbourgians will be impressed with in the coming months.
I also want to make reference to the idea that incomes are going to rise should there be a Liberal Government. One thing Anderson has done throughout his tenure as Prime Minister is say that if we want basic incomes in this country to rise, then there has to be the economic incentive for jobs to be created and for good wages to be paid. That has meant the relentless pursuit of trade deals. It has meant taking regulation out of our business activities. It has meant finding new markets and encouraging people to diversify the economy. When we had, just these last couple of years, the dairy price falling away, what was the impact on the economy? Dreadful as it was for some farmers it did not tip our economy up, because of that diversification and because of that relentless focus on trying to raise incomes for Montenbourgians.
At a basic level, every year the minimum wage was raised under a Anderson Government. It never happened for 9 years under Liberal. Where was Nationalitz? Where were the Greens? And where were the Liberal backbenchers while their Ministers were refusing to raise incomes for the poorest? This is the record of Anderson. He is a very compassionate man, and a very pragmatic man. He knows what it is like to grow up in a household that is not advantaged. He knows what it is like to see others with more but he has never let that get in the way of his drive to improve himself, his family's lot, and to desire that for all Montenbourgians as well.
We heard them say that under Green education will be completely free—completely free. I think we heard that from Liberals during the 1980s when it introduced the fees for students in tertiary education. I think we heard it from Liberal when it said Tomorrow's Schools would be some kind of nirvana: where you just walk in the gate, you get conferred with qualifications, and you walk out for a wonderful life.
This is a Government that has focused on educational achievement. William Anderson said to his Cabinet: "We cannot have young people who cannot read and write. We cannot have young people who have problems with numeracy. We have to have a better focus." So through successive education ministries, his Ministers, and his particular commitment to that portfolio, we see the Programme for International Student Assessment results today coming out—those international comparisons for literacy, numeracy, etc.—and Montenbourg is once again on the rise. That is a bit of a turn-around—a significant turn-around, in fact—from where we were just a few years ago—
Chris Hipkins: That's not true.
Hon ELLIOT TIMOTHY: —and largely due to the fact that a Government has a right to demand standards in education.
Sue Moroney: It started sliding under this Government, Elliot. It was going up under Liberal.
Hon ELLIOT TIMOTHY: That is what has happened, and the beneficiaries are young children. What we have got over there are all sorts of claims about "Oh, it's not good.", "Don't listen to the stats.", and "Blah, blah, blah.", but if it suits them, they will use statistics against us any time. I think they need to just have a bit of a look at that particular portfolio, because their record is not tidy.
Finally, let me just deal with health. There have never been more people getting healthcare when they need it in this country than there are now. There has never been a time when the commitment to healthcare dollars has been as strong as it is at the moment. Mr Anderson has, once again, been making sure that although there is this focus on having a sound economy that can provide jobs—that will provide bigger incomes for people—he is still insisting that this Government spent in core social services.
His legacy is a remarkable one: he will be in history, I am sure, recorded as one of the great Prime Ministers of this country; he is most definitely one of the greatest leaders of the Classical Monarchist Party. Although he has now decided to exit the stage, the scene that he has set and the culture that he has put in place will endure, and the fundamentals of what has been achieved under his ministry, his prime ministership, will continue, and will be well regarded and well received by Montenbourgians in the coming year.
Hon. Adolf Heinz-Steimer (Leader of the Oppossition Nationalitz Party): There has been a lot said in this debate about William Anderson's legacy and what it will be, and I think that in itself is quite telling: that people have to discuss and debate and decide what Anderson's legacy as Prime Minister of this country for 10 years will be. It is strange, because there is nothing that stands out over those 10 years that will be a legacy for Anderson as Prime Minister. Great Prime Ministers are remembered in history. William Anderson will not be remembered in history. He does not have a legacy.
Hon Members: Ha, ha!
Hon. Adolf Heinz-Steimer:You may laugh now, but change is sweeping the world. We have seen great upsets. In many countries parties like ours went from being a third party to being a majority Government. And at every turn they have confounded the pundits and confounded the pollsters. It has been the real people who have spoken up and spoken out. In the election coming next year that is what will happen in Montenbourg, and William Anderson knows it. He has seen the writing on the wall. He has seen the juggernaut approaching. He has seen the size of the dead rat that he would have to swallow, and he cannot stand that size, and he is not going to do it.
FRANCIS UNDERWOOD (Secretary of Defence, Member CMP): Well, I know i should't be talking because I started a trending topic on twitter about my boss, Anderson. But i must say that speech by Adolf was a speech from a member who lacks so many things, and now we know that he has a profound lack of graciousness. It was from a list MP, who would never be in Parliament had he not been put on a party list—nobody knew who he was—running down one of the great Prime Ministers of Montenbourg. Is in it Claire.
CLAIRE UNDERWOOD (Chancellor of Exchequer, Member CMP): Yes indeed I have had the great pleasure over the past 6 years of working with Anderson up close, and I would characterise him as being one of the most affable, unflappable people I have ever known. At certain times—in meetings, and at Cabinet committees—I have said to myself "That guy is the Prime Minister of Montenbourg, dealing with very serious issue X, and doing it in a way that does not show a hint of being flapped under pressure, or of panic.", and that is why so many people who have worked with Anderson have found him such a pleasure to deal with. On behalf of the Classical Monarchist Party, I would like to thank him not only for myself but also for other CMP leaders who have had that relationship with Anderson over the past 8 years. [Applauses]
Iam very proud to lead an CMP Party that has been playing a constructive role in Government over the last 10 years. Much of the debate and change that has come around in the market, in particular, has come from the Productivity Commission, which is an CMP Party initiative. We have recently seen, after evidence that it deters criminals, the first third-striker under the three-strikes law—something that Montenbourgians want. We are also going into a round of prize-givings and commemorations for partnership schools or charter schools, which are changing kids' lives for the better.
The CMP Party salutes William Anderson. We are proud of what we have done with him, and when it comes to Montenbourg's long-term challenges, we believe that we have got a lot more to contribute. Thank you.
Hon ANNETTE KING (Deputy Leader—Liberal): It's clear we don't have a say on this structure that the CMP has created, because the caucus will most likely elect one of the Underwoods. [BOOS]
Mr SPEAKER: Its said, having received letters from the Rt. Hon. Claire Underwood, and Justin Trudeau seeking to debate. I close the debate and upheld the motion of resignation to Prime Minister William Anderson. The Council will not recommend new elections, instead we call the Classical Monarchist Party to put the candidate to be the next Prime Minister of Montenbourg. This has to be done before April 1st.
The debate having concluded, the motion is passed. The CMP needs to form government.
6 April 2017
The Department of Defense has put its case for a substantial increase in funding for the coming financial year.
ADOLF HUTTLER. MP(Nationalitz Party): These are turbulent times we live in, Turbulent and dangerous. And the only sensible response to that, of course, is to build a lot more weapons. Unless we get the funding we need, I can’t promise that we’ll be able to defend Montenbourg’s sovereign borders from rogue nations and foreign powers. Or those leaky boatloads of refugees, for that matter.
MALALA USAFAI. MP(Liberal Party): What! NO! Montenbourg needs fewer weapons, not more! Make the world a safer place! Disarm now!.
Decision: Montenbourg Military funding has been stripped back recieving a 2.8% from the budget.
7 April 2018
A religious group and talk show host raised a furor with his call to ban contraception. Women’s rights groups have come to parliment demanding a response. This started a heated debate on the Council of State over the issue.
KATE O'MARA. MP(Liberal Party): I’m appalled these religious wackos have the gall to even think about banning birth control. These men are trying to control our bodies. They treat us like we’re their own personal baby dispensers — not living, thinking humans. It’s demeaning! My body, my choice! We will not ban contraception.
ENRICH KIMLLER MP. (Nationalitz): You aren’t going to listen to these pagans. Conceiving a child is one of the most enjoyable moments one may ever have in their lives. To deprive yourself of this blessing of God is an abomination! Contraception must be outlawed! It encourages casual sex, and destroys the true meaning of the act. If people are not willing to bear the consequences of their actions, then they should not act at all.
OTTO BALCANE. MP (Classical Monarchist Party): Before abortion was legalized women would frequently try to induce abortions by using coat hangers, knitting needles, or radiator flush, or by going to unsafe "back-alley" abortionists. By 1996, after Eoer v. Edaw had legalized abortion nationwide, this number dropped to two. This a very personal decision although our government must provide care for women during and after pregnacy.
FRANKIE BERGNSTEIN. MP (Green Party): To all the Alpha-Males, know this....The right to abortion is vital for individual women to achieve their full potential. So yes contraception is good! Although both sides have rocks in their brains. Why don’t we just ban sex altogether, and force people to use artificial insemination? That way, we can preview everyone who signs up to have kids, and if we don’t like it, tough beans for them. The police may have to work harder to catch those who ‘overlook’ this measure, but if that’s the price we have to pay for ending this inane argument once and for all, it’ll be well worth it.
Decision: Montenbourg will keep its abortion programs with state-funding it would be overlook by Planned Parenthood. Birth rates have hit an all-time low.
Montenbourg last edited by Montenbourg
7 April 2018
It was recently discovered that the Secretary of the Chancellor of Exchequer owns several properties in Austrur and the intern of the Defense Secretary has stocks in a Dromund Kass arms manufacturing company. Concern has been raised that this information was not disclosed before the previous election, and now represents a conflict of interest for both ministers.
AUST NIKLER MP. (Nationalitz): This looks incredibly corrupt. How do we know that they’re not creating policies, particularly in the area of foreign affairs, to line the pockets of their cronies? The Kassian government is notoriously corrupt, and everyone knows that Austrur is riddled with spies. If we want to maintain public trust, we’re going to have to come down hard on these two. For the sake of our government’s reputation, the Ministers must resign!
JENNY FARULS. MP (Liberal Party): That simply doesn’t go far enough! Anyone running for any political office must disclose all of their financial assets to the authorities for rigorous investigation prior to their nomination. That way, potential conflicts of interest can be avoided before a scandal happens. If they have any assets overseas, they must sell them off before accepting the nomination. It’s the best way to keep our government safe and free of corruption.
CLAIRE UNDERWOOD (Chancellor of Exchequer-. Classical Monarchist Party): Aren’t you jumping the gun a little there? Just because my secretary own lots of property overseas doesn’t mean she is susceptible to blackmail or leaving confidential documents unprotected. This feels more like a punishment for being wealthy, brought on by the jealous critics who wish they were as successful as her. Why should that prevent her from running? Don’t you want the best people for the job?
Decision: Montenbourg leading aids are known for corporate hedge funds. It's rumored that some spies knows what the nation's monarch eat for breakfast. The state will not considered this decision by the top aids as illegal.
7 April 2018
It’s the anniversary of the Montenbourg Civil War, and competing plans to commemorate the historic moment are being considered for approval.
CLARK HARRIDSON. MP (Classical Monarchist Party): No expense must be spared! This historic event must be celebrated through every town square in the country. Parades, street parties, reenactments! I’m sure all our citizens will contribute handsomely to making this celebration truly memorable.
REIN HEMSTER. MP (Nationalitz): Excellent! And let’s not stop with the past. We can use this burst of patriotic fervor to give a strong message of support to today’s armed forces, going forward. We should have a big parade of our men and women in uniform in Montague with a fly-by from the Air Force. We can never have too many recruits, after all.
ARGO UDJER. MP (Green Party): Do you have any idea how much all of that would cost? We shouldn’t spend money on something that happened years ago, and the savings from all that pomp and circumstance can be returned to the taxpayers.
DOM YHONSON. MP (Liberal Party): I don’t mind having a commemoration, but we need to remember that most of the people who died in the War were common workers like my parents. I think it’s only fair that we give everyone a national holiday, so we can all reflect upon our history of class oppression. Otherwise celebrations like this end up just being for you toffs.
ARNARD ANDELS. MP (Independent): Of course we should remember the War - but there was nothing ‘Great’ about it! It was a shameful bloodbath caused by greedy capitalist arms manufacturers, and it could have been avoided. We should be remembering the incalculable tragedy of it all and making sure it never happens again!
Decision: Montenbourg will enact a big Civil War commemoration.
7 April 2018
The Green party propose that every adult receive an annual, basic income of $10,000. This income would be unconditional, earned whether one is employed or not. Social Security and Healthcare would be exempt as they aren't really considered welfare.
FRANKIE BERGNSTEIN. MP (Green Party): An unconditional, individual, and universal basic income would indisputably boost the economy and allow many low-income Montenbourgians to climb the ladder of social mobility. It would not only lift people above the poverty line and reduce income inequality, but create jobs, lower school dropout rates, improve health, and raise overall economic output. A UBI would enable, rather than trap, those with unfortunate financial situations as it would provide *everyone* money to work with; all would have the fiscal leverage to progress forward when they otherwise wouldn’t.
Our current welfare programs, in contrast, do the opposite of what they’re intended for. They encourage passive behavior and inhibit productivity. The means-tested programs withdraw benefits as soon as a certain income is reached, and are burdened with high marginal tax rates so long as their income is below a certain level. Others require people to exhaust nearly all their assets until they become eligible for aid. With so many strings attached, and the overall counter-productive nature, welfare programs simply are inferior to a UBI, and have too many downfalls. The current welfare programs do *not* provide overall work incentives. Most are means-tested, meaning that if you demonstrate that your income and capital are below specified limits, you’re eligible. This can lead to what some call the “cliff effect”: once someone passes an income threshold, that aid is withdrawn, and climbing further up the income ladder becomes more difficult.
This issue is maximized when we understand how disadvantaged the poor are tax-wise under welfare. In fact, the Council of States Budget Office, “[found] that the marginal tax rate climbs to 40 percent when a worker earns slightly more than about $12,000, and then to nearly 50 percent in the mid-$20,000 range.” These programs impose high marginal tax rates, essentially trapping these recipients into a large income hole that they can’t climb out of. To put this into better perspective, here’s a graph that shows tax-less income in respect to income earned.
These welfare programs are creating a clear poverty trap. Under a universal basic income, this wouldn’t happen. A UBI would extend to *every* person, regardless of what their incomes are, enabling them to have more social mobility than they would under the incredibly flawed welfare programs that are burdening so many lower-income people.
But that’s not all. Many welfare programs also have asset limits, meaning that one must have almost no assets to be eligible for benefits. Programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) have asset limit ranges from $1,000 in provinces like Bordeaux and Trebursye to $10,000 in Newcastel. This is problematic because it discourages the importance of saving and self-reliance; only those who exhaust just about all of their assets become eligible for aid. Savings are very important because they provide cushion against anything that goes wrong. Just having under $2,000, for instance, is enough to protect against eviction, missed meals, or the loss of utilities during a financial setback. To force such recipients to go to the point of being broke to receive benefits in no way incentivizes them to increase their income.
To sum, a UBI would (1) significantly reduce poverty and boost economic output, and (2) incentivize people to work in ways our current welfare programs cannot. Thus, I affirm.
OTTO BALCANE. MP (Classical Monarchist Party): Our current system works. Critics use inaccurate statistics to discredit a system that is doing wonders. In contrast, the idea of UBI has never been tried in a developed country with a largely market economy, and without first dismantling capitalism, UBI would serve only to subsidize corporations to lower wages. The Green Party must prove that 1. UBI is worth the massive increase in welfare costs 2. UBI could be implemented successfully within a capitalist economy and 3. That the limited testing in developing nations would be able to translate into the developed world.
Decision: Montenbourg will still debating this issue. Doors closed.
7 April 2018
The Green party propose that medical marijuanas be allowed in schools.
ARGO UDJER. MP (Green Party): Weed doesn't hurt! Weed has been is legal nationwide and should not be banned from schools as it poses no health risks and is more healthy alternative to other drugs such as cocaine and heroin. But some may argue that the brain does not fully develop but there are no studies that state that weed hurts a developing brain.
CLARK HARRIDSON. MP (Classical Monarchist Party): I'm pro weed, but no, just no. Weed can have the affect of making you paranoid, and forgetting what your doing, both of these possible effects, that are case by case for each person, would have a negative impact on students, and would be unwise to introduce to the classroom setting.
ANITA COSTALA MP. (Liberal Party): Excuse me, kids need medicine to stay alive and you wanna take that away just because some kids wanna get high on a harmless drug while teen tabacco use is sky rocketing with the introduction of e-cigs yet no one talks about that just that kids are ruining there lifes with weed. We are for this.
REIN HEMSTER. MP (Nationalitz): Ha...We can't really call marijuana medicine. It's not a legitimate medicine. The brain is not fully developed until we're about 25. That's just the way it is, and using any kind of mind-altering substance impacts that development. It needs to go through the FDA process. There is no drug that can or should be smoked, but when we get to potential components of marijuana that might have medicinal benefits, then let's find out what that is. Most of our medicines have come from plants. They're plant-based, but they've gone through that rigorous process. Because, let's face it, any medicine is a toxin. I don't care if it's penicillin or aspirin or a narcotic. Any of those are toxins to our bodies. And that's why we have the FDA process.
Decision: Montenbourg will permit only medical marihuana in schools.
8 April 2018
Whenever disaster strikes Montenbourg, politicians have a habit of sending their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims. Although the gesture is appreciated by some, there are many who feel that the phrase is simply an excuse for politicians to do nothing. This was an excerpt of the debate in the Council of States.
MAMIKO JENSSEN. MP (Liberal Party): Every time I hear a politician, one of us, send their ‘thoughts and prayers’ I feel like vomiting in my mouth.If you ask me, that’s their way of getting out of actually doing anything meaningful to help the victims. How about sending some much-needed aid when there’s a disaster? Or perhaps investing in some infrastructure? The people want government action, not empty platitudes.
SHELDON CHENKOSKI. MP (Nationalitz): On the contrary, many people have told me that they have found comfort in my words when they needed it most. There’s nothing odious or lazy with sending out thoughts and prayers. Some people find it helpful to be reminded that their government cares. What’s wrong with that?
JOHANNES WISEAU. MP (Classical Monarchist Party): I agree, but we should go even further. We should have a national day of prayer and mourning whenever disaster strikes Montenbourg. The government and our Catholic Church, standing hand in hand, can help lead Montenbourg into a new era of unity and healing. What’s that? There’s people who don’t practice Catholicism? A pox on their houses!
EMILY DERGSTON. MP (Green Party): Since when should the government be in the business of spreading this religious indoctrination? Thoughts and prayers? Oh, please! This is nothing more than the government imposing its religious beliefs on everyone else. How about the government back off with this propaganda and let people mourn in their own private way?
Decision: Montenbourg government will invest more in infrastructure after a natural disaster.
8 April 2018
After a highly publicized arrest, in which one of the nation’s wealthiest celebrities, Seline Dijon, was detained for assaulting two of her servants with a priceless Fabergé egg, some of Montenbourg’s rich have begun demanding the right to avoid prison terms by paying off their victims. This was an excerpt of the debate in the Council of States.
CLARISSE HILLTON. MP (Classical Monarchist Party): It makes, like, no sense for someone like Seline Dijon to be stuck there for three WHOLE DAYS. And the trial hasn’t even STARTED. Her dad has PLENTY of money and, like, nothing better to spend it on. He could just give a few million Monten Pounds to the victims’ families and, um... like, the government. That’s fair, right?
FRANKIE BERGNSTEIN. MP (Green Party): Ha. Ha. WHAT!? You’ve got to be kidding me! its clear that misses Hillton comes from this part of the socialite-life. No one should be above the law, no matter how much money they have! It’s bad enough that they can hire some shyster lawyer to get them off on a technicality most of the time. As a matter of fact, we should make the rich use public defenders. It’s only fair considering everyone else is stuck with them. You know what, let's just expand the entire public defenders’ office while we are debating this.
FREDERICK SCHMIDFT. MP (Nationalitz): Instead of wasting money on prisons for violent criminals, our local communities could take care of our problem. Unrivaled hunters, but with animals there’s no challenge for an expert such as they. If you sent prey to their communities, They’d be willing to throw a few Monten Pounds the government’s way. You save money; They take care of the scum in our penal system. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Decision: Montenbourg will prohibit Private law which are unheard of.
8 April 2018
The Council of States Clerk Office did a survey citing a tremendous increase in unsolicited emails has added fire to the subject of what many view as a scourge of the Internet.
DAVID CLERKS. MP (Clerk of the House): The spam problem is out of control. I get at least fifty spam e-mails a day. That isn’t even counting the spam people are posting to my newsgroup and to my messageboard. This junk is a waste of time in that I have to delete it and a waste of my money in that I have to buy anti-spam programs-which hardly work anyway. People get swindled by this stuff - I suggest to the Council that this should be a crime, just like regular fraud.
ANNE-MARIE McCALPIN. MP (Liberal Party): A ban on all spam is a restriction on our freedom of speech and on the freedom of the press! What is the government to say what is and isn’t commercial spam? Could they haul charity representatives off to jail for seeking donations? Could they jail politicians for using e-mail to try and gain votes? Could they arrest me if I accidentally send my erotic novel-in-progress to the wrong address? Seriously, spamming is a subjective offense and as such should not be considered a crime.
EBENEZER SNYDER. MP (Classical Monarchist Party): Both sides are wrong. Spam is definitely a problem, yet so is the restriction on freedoms which some draconian anti-spam codes would impose. I propose a ban on overtly fraudulent spam, and a tax on more legitimate businesses that rely on spam as an advertising method, and a strict legal definition of spam that would ensure no innocent person was prosecuted or taxed.
Decision: HM government is making attempts at curtailing the flood of spam emails with little progress.
10 April 2018
An increasing number of land owners have been fencing off footpaths which run through or near their property and as a result members of the Riksdag have been petitioned by The Ramblers’ and Hikers’ Association to allow the ‘right to roam’.
Kayla Calder, a famous hiker of Montenbourg’s countryside, (Invited): These pompous land owners are fencing off hundreds of years of tradition! The public should have right of way by law! It is every man’s right to be able to enjoy the scenic beauty of our native lands and I don’t see why some toffee-nosed prat should be the only person allowed to walk around his hundreds of acres of land when most of us don’t even have one! It’s simply unforgivable! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going for a walk! Wherever I ruddy well like!
PABLO HILL (Classical Monarchist Party): It’s trespass, plain and simple. My home is my castle! If these smelly ramblers think they can abuse and defile my land, they should start thinking again! You’ve got to look at this reasonably: where people go, pollution follows. Before I know it I’m going to have litter in my fields, drunken parties in my woods, and more eroded footpaths than I can count! Will they be the ones paying to have it all maintained? Not likely! I say no to this ‘right to roam’ rubbish! This land is mine, and I intend to keep it that way.
SVEN-ERIK BUCHT(Liberal Party): There’s an opportunity in every problem. And there’s always some sort of compromise. We could simply allocate some government funding to teams of environmental workers to maintain and promote our network of footpaths that anyone may use... for a price. Think of the money we could get from all those hikers and ramblers! Not to mention the tourists, birdwatchers, and hippies! Everybody wins! Except for those who can’t afford the fees, I guess, but you can’t please everyone.
Decision: Public footpaths are being slowly eroded by the burgeoning number of ramblers.
10 April 2018
After tabloid magazine “The Bun” outed supermodel Sofia Öliver as having been born male, the fashion world has gone into a frenzy, with the organisers of Montague Fashion Week barring the model from the runway. Social media has gone into meltdown with commentators from all sides of the argument demanding that the government step in.
Sofia Öliver (Invited): I have gone through twenty years of internal pain about my external appearance, and I’ve put so much effort and money into finally having the world see the real me! Gender isn’t a binary proposition: gender identity is not necessarily the gender assigned at birth. I was fortunate to have private funds and supportive parents, but not all are so lucky. Please recognise my right to self-determination of identity, and help those like me get the surgery and medicine they need.
ERNEST KLOKER (Nationalitz): Look, man is man and woman is woman: it’s written in our chromosomes. You can’t choose to be a different gender any more than you can choose to say you’re an Eagle, Man, it sickens me. Lock dem all in an asylum till they get their heads straight!
ARGO LOVEKS (Classical Monarchist Party): Well I got a problem with these cross-dressers, a man wants the liberty to dress as a woman, I won’t deny him that: just don’t expect the taxpayer to pay for his operations and medicines.
SANSA STERK (Liberal Party): That's nonsense this people deserved to be trated as equals, not different. Montenbourg is not about hate is about love and support.
Decision: Sex change-operations are legally performed at Montenbourg's hospitals.
10 April 2018
After MOFTA (Montenbourg-Omnibus Free Trade Agreement), Montenbourg imports large quantities of hardwoods from Omnibus, including the world-famous Omnibusian ebony. However, environmentalists are coming out of the woodwork with evidence that Omnibusian logging operations are non-sustainable, leading to large-scale deforestation.
FRANKIE BERGNSTEIN (Green Party): It’s clear-cut that Omnibus hasn’t been taking good care of the environment. We need to stop being bumps on a log, and take action! Lower demand and limit supply by placing high tariffs on the entry of foreign timber unless it comes from sustainable tree farms!
CORTANA STONEHD (Classical Monarchist Party): Don’t get your bunnyhug in a twist; a little bit of logging is no more than their environment can handle, eh? Besides, while we quite like Omnibus trade, we don’t depend on it - trying to stop Montenbourg logging with a few tariffs would be like nailing jelly to a tree. They don’t call us Montenbourg for nothin’. Maybe instead of messing with trade, we could share in our prosperity by giving our furnishing industry subsidies? Who doesn’t like a chesterfield, eh?
WOODIE GUNTR (Liberal Party): We can’t see the forest for the trees; we need to branch out and sway every other nation to put the wood in the hole on Omnibus ebony. They won’t be shaking the pagoda tree when you sow the seeds of mistrust. Lets call in some industry periodicals to declare that their wood is as soft and weak as a banana. Buyers will think they’re barking up the wrong tree and instead leaf through some selections we approve of - like our own lighter Montenbourgian mahogany. It’ll be as easy as falling off a log, knock on wood.
Decision: Omnibus ebony is getting a real struggle in the industries because of local regulations.