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毋忘臨立會的遺毒

2016/2/17 — 13:12

要守住立法會這條防綫。

1996年,防綫失守,產生了由400人組成的「選舉委員會」選出的「臨時立法會」。1996年3月24日,人大成立的籌委會決定成立選舉委員會,選出行政長官及臨立會。「臨立會」的產生及組成明顯違反《基本法》,遭到包括法律界的香港各界強烈反對,但籌委會漠視反對。1996年12月21日臨立會選出,並在1997年1月在深圳舉行首次會議。其後,其會議一直在深圳舉行,直至1997年7月1日。

1997年9月27日,臨立會在籌委會的指示之下,通過了《立法會條例》,訂立了功能組別議席及其選民,包括大比數的依附建制的團體選民,形成了立法會的議席先天性以深紅建制派佔絕對多數,保障了任何議員議案,不得北京首肯,必然在分組點票之下被否決。這條法例,荼毒立法會選舉及立法會的運作至今,並成為推動政制改革的核心障礙。《基本法》第74條限制民主派議員提出私人法案修改條例,而伺機提全體委員會修正案,在分組點票之下,也無法通過。

廣告

這個立法會,是先天不足的議會。我們在不利的環境中,需要保住所有可以運用的工具,盡力發揮制衡政府,阻止惡法通過的重大作用,而不能將任何議席拱手讓人,令政府更橫行無阻。經過去幾年議會內的經歷,政府若然夠票,一定把握機會,不但通過杜絕拉布、罷免議員的種種議事規則,更會推出猶豫多時的種種惡法,即時生效,令非建制派遠在2016立法會大選之前,已無險可守。

當年我們無法阻止籌委會成立臨立會,但今天,我們可以阻止立法會變成臨立會重生。我支持楊岳橋,並懇請各界市民,特別是新東選民慎重考慮,決非出於一黨之私,而是確信緊要關頭,當務之急,是守衛議會,擊退建制派。

廣告

附:有網民以公民黨在2011年5月支持修改議事規則而對楊岳橋有保留。當年,我投的是反對票,得到公民黨同意。我相信,今天的公民黨,不可能贊成任何不利抗爭制衡的修改,楊岳橋更加不會。我當年的警告,今天全部兌現,2011年5月11日本人的發言,紀錄如下:

Deputy President, the amendments proposed in this Resolution and the next may appear to be small, but are in fact fundamental. They go to the root of the principles which underlie the Rules of Procedure and the way this Council functions.

Let me state from the start that I consider our ability to maintain order and decorum in all our proceedings to be essential to our proper functioning, and to our credibility in the community as the Legislature of the Hong Kong SAR.

Like other Honourable Members and members of the community, I am concerned about the repeated challenges to the rules of orderly conduct. I am even more deeply disturbed by the occasions on which the orders of the President were met with defiance and resistance and had to be effected by unseemly force. It is not that I am worried about setting a bad example for the children. More seriously, it is a matter of logic and obligation. For if the President cannot guarantee safe passage within our own house, how can we reasonably require any official or member of the public to appear before this Council?

Likewise, I am also aware that in the circumstances of repeated breach of conduct with apparent immunity, public pressure has increased for Members to "tighten up" the rules to deter such conduct.

The problem is certainly clear. However, are these amendments of the Rules the right answer? I do not think so. First of all, we should distinguish the rules from their enforcement. The most notorious occasions of disorderly conduct took place within Council sittings. The amendments proposed today do not concern Council sittings; the President already has the powers under the present Rules. The question is how the Rules may be applied and enforced more effectively and expeditiously. This is being dealt with vigorously in The Legislative Council Commission. The amendments proposed extend the same powers to the chairman of any committee, and it is not clear to me that doing so in any way addresses the concern of the public.

Some members of the public have suggested that new rules should be made to punish a disorderly Member by banning him from the Council for a period of weeks, with salary reduced or withheld. Our research shows that the House of Commons indeed has such powers, but they are not exercised at the order of the Speaker, but upon a motion moved by another member and passed by the House.

The apparently quaint procedure of the House of Commons illustrates a fundamental principle: authority is not used on an equal. Rules to give one member power over another member are justified only on the basis of necessity to facilitate debate. We must ask ourselves, before we cast our vote today, whether this requirement is satisfied by the proposed amendments.

As I have said earlier, the proposed amendments appear to be small: a few words are deleted from Rules 44, 45(1) and 45(2), three words in English and five words in Chinese. But the effect is to remove the difference between the powers of the President in Council, the Chairman in a committee of the whole Council or the chairman of any standing or select committee on one hand, and on the other hand, the powers of the chairman of any other committee such as a panel, a subcommittee and a bills committee. Under existing rules, the power to order a Member whose conduct is disorderly to withdraw immediately is exercised by the former, but not by the latter.

I may add that the three amendments are inter-related. Reading backwards, Rule 45(2) allows the chairman to order a Member whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw; Rule 45(1) makes a Member who persists in irrelevant and tedious repetition and who refuses to stop speaking upon the direction of the chairman guilty of grossly disorderly conduct; and Rule 44 makes the decision of the chairman on whether a Member is in breach of Rule 45(1) or (2) final and unchallengeable. These are draconian powers. It is right and fitting that they should be restricted.

So why are they given to one group of committees and not to another group? I submit that this is not arbitrary but a matter both of principle and good sense.

The Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council originated from the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, which make a similar distinction between the two groups of committees. Powers under Standing Order No. 42 (which is similar to our Rule 45(1)) and Standing Order No. 43 (which is similar to our Rule 45(2)) are exercised only by the Speaker and the Chairman of a committee of the whole House or a standing committee but by no other chairman. The distinction is stated at the head of Chapter 27 of Erskine May: committees are divided into those which proceed by debate, and those which proceed by taking evidence, deliberation and report. These powers only apply in committees which proceed by debate. Or put it another way, committees which deal with formal questions (motions or bills), debate upon them and then resolve them, by voting if necessary, as opposed to committees which hear proposals, deliberate on them by discussion, and where appropriate report to the House Committee but make no binding decision. The report, if appropriate, can then be debated in a sitting of the Council.

According to the research reported to us, no Parliament in the world empowers a chairman of a deliberative committee with the powers which we are now considering under these proposed amendments.

It is clear to me that the draconian powers under Rules 44 and 45 are exercised by a chairman of a decision-making committee in enforcing the rules of debate and are necessary and appropriate for that purpose. The Speaker or the President, in maintaining order and decorum in a formal sitting of the House, is additionally upholding the dignity of the Court of Parliament. Such considerations do not apply to deliberative committees and subcommittees.

Deputy President, the differentiation is not just in name; nor is it just slavish borrowing from a jurisdiction now foreign. It underlines the two complementary halves of our function and the way we discharge them: we debate in opposition, vote on party lines, but we investigate and deliberate in co-operation and across party lines, accommodating the line of exploration of each other. In making our reports we are conscious of power in unity, and that has been illustrated time and again in such reports as on West Kowloon Cultural Development and most of our select committees of inquiry. While the debates attract more attention, the real work, in my opinion, is more often achieved in the committee room. By the way, the House of Commons uses "Select Committee" to refer to what we would call a "policy panel", and in the House of Commons, part of the legislative procedure is carried out in standing committees, that is why they follow the process of debate.

In short, we take evidence and deliberate, and then we debate and decide. To disregard the distinction, as these amendments do almost more by thoughtlessness, is to confess our failure to co-operate and to commit this house to total debate. There is already an increasing impatience not to give time to a genuine exchange of views in order to forge maximum consensus, and to go immediately to debate from entrenched positions, and the ultimate vote count. I cannot tell you how remote this is from the true spirit of democracy.

I am reminded of the trial in Alice in Wonderland. As soon as the accusation was read out, the King said to the jury, "Consider your verdict." "Not yet, not yet," the Rabbit hastily interrupted. "There is a great deal to come before that!" Deputy President, is there, as far as this Council is concerned?

Let us, for a moment, leave principle and constitutional function and duty aside. Even on considering the practicalities alone these amendments should be opposed. They are neither necessary nor efficacious. Not necessary, because adjourning a committee meeting for a few minutes would be ample to deal with any problem of disorderly conduct. Not efficacious, because I see little likelihood of the order of the chairman for the Member to withdraw being meekly obeyed, and the commotion of getting staff assistance to forcibly evict the Member from a committee room will be more conducive to farce than to dignity.

Indeed, I believe that the threat of such an order from the chair will be most likely to be provocative, and contribute to lasting ill feelings between Members. It is not in such an environment that we can expect to foster the habit and norm of co-operation and consensus.

Since such additional powers are neither efficacious nor necessary, I do not see any justification for their adoption. Rules do not make good conduct. Only respect for the rules and the institution can do so.

Finally, I would like to make this point: our Rules of Procedure will fall apart, not just when a few Members choose persistently to throw things at officials, but when unbridled contempt is permitted to be expressed by Members towards one another, and when Members are permitted to resort constantly to verbal abuse and personal attack. 

I do not see how rational debate can take place in such a linguistic environment. And we do need rational debate if we are to discharge our duty, which includes ensuring the development of principled and reasoned long-term public policies for the good of Hong Kong. As a Member who has long served this Council, I am greatly saddened to see this happening.

Although rationality may not be any longer relevant, let it be recorded that these are the reasons why I oppose the motion. I may add that I do so with full exemption from the Civic Party, because rules of procedure are above politics.

Thank you. 

中文譯本:

代理主席,這項決議案及下一項決議案的擬議修正案看似不太重要,但兩項決議案實質上甚為重要,涉及《議事規 則》的根本原則及本會的運作方式。

首先,讓我開宗明義表明,我們有必要確保本會會議過程秩序井然,議員舉止行為恰當,這樣立法會才能正常運作,才能令香港特別 行政區立法機關對市民有公信力。

一如其他議員及市民,我關注到管制行為舉止的規則一再受到挑戰。在多次會議上,主席的命令遭到蔑視和反抗,結果只能不體面地 動用武力才得以執行,對此我深感不安。我並不擔心這些行徑為兒童豎立壞榜樣,但更嚴重的是,這是一個關乎邏輯和義務的問題。如果主席不能保證我們可在會議廳內安全通行,我們怎可合理地要求任何 官員或市民出席立法會會議呢?

同樣地,我也明白,有議員屢次違規,但顯然獲豁免不受懲處,公眾因而不斷施壓,要求“收緊”規則以遏止這種行為。

問題清晰不過,但修訂《議事規則》是否就可以解決問題?我認為不可以。第一,我們應該區別規則的執行。最為人所知的不檢行為都在立法會會議進行期間發生。今天擬議的修正案與立法會會議無關。在現有規則下,立法會主席已獲賦予權力;問題是如何能更有效及迅速地應用及執行《議事規則》。立法會行政管理委員會現正積極處理這事。擬議修正案向所有委員會的主席賦予相同的權力,我不清楚這做法如何能釋除公眾的疑慮。

一些市民建議,應制訂新規則以懲處行為不檢的議員,禁止他在數星期內出席立法會會議,同時扣減他們的薪酬。我們的研究顯示, 英國下議院確實有這樣的權力,但卻不是按照議長的命令執行,而是由另一位議員動議議案,獲下議院通過後才能執行。

下議院這種顯然奇特的程序說明一項基本原則:權力不應施加於地位相等的人身上。為了方便辯論,訂立規則准許一位議員對另一位議員行使權力,這做法合乎情理。今天,我們在投票之前必須撫心自 問,擬議修正案能否滿足這項要求。

正如我先前所說,擬議修正案看似不重要,只是從《議事規則》第44、45(1)及45(2)條中刪除一些字眼,包括3個英文字和5個中文字。 不過,實質的意義是,不再把立法會主席、全體委員會主席或任何常設或專責委員會主席的權力,與任何其他委員會(如事務委員會、小 組委員會及法案委員會)主席的權力加以區分。根據現行規則,前者 有權命令行為不檢的議員立即退席,但後者卻沒有這種權力。

我想補充一點,3項修正案是互相關聯的。讓我們倒序來看,《議事規則》第45(2)條容許主席命令行為極不檢點的議員退席;《議事規則》第45(1)條訂明,如有議員在辯論中不斷提出無關的事宜,或冗贅 煩厭地重提本身或其他議員的論點,而且在主席指示不得繼續發言後 拒絕停止發言,便犯有嚴重行為不檢;《議事規則》第44條則訂明,主席就有議員違反《議事規則》第45(1)或(2)條所作的決定為最終及無可質疑。這些權力是嚴苛的,對這些權力作出限制是正確和恰當的做法。

為何一類委員會獲賦予這種權力,但另一類委員會卻沒有?我認為這不是一種任意的安排,當中涉及原則和準確判斷的問題。

《立法會議事規則》源自下議院的《會議常規》,《會議常規》同樣把委員會區分兩類。《會議常規》第42條(類似《議事規則》第 45(1)條)及《會議常規》第43條(類似《議事規則》第45(2)條)下的權力,只可由議長及下議院全體委員會或常設委員會主席行使,但不可 由任何其他主席執行。有關的區別在厄斯金梅(Erskine May)所編一書第27章的開首載明:委員會分為兩類,一類以辯論形式舉行會議;另一類的工作是取證、審議及提交報告。這些權力只適用於進行辯論的委員會。換句話說,這類委員會處理正式質詢(議案或法案)、就這些事宜進行辯論及有需要時以投票方式進行表決。另一類委員會則聽取建議,進行討論以審議這些建議及有適當時向內務委員會提交報告,但所作的決定不具任何約束力。這類委員會所提交的報告,在適當時會在立法會會議上進行辯論。

根據研究結果,沒有其他地方的議會會向負責審議的委員會的主席賦予擬議修正案所載的權力,而我們考慮的正是這種權力。

我清楚瞭解到,決策委員會主席有權行使《議事規則》第44及45條所訂的嚴苛的權力,以執行辯論規則,這是必要和適當的做法。議長或主席須確保下議院正式會議秩序井然及議員行為舉止恰當,同時亦要顧及議會的尊嚴。這些考慮因素不適用於負責審議工作的委員會及小組委員會。

代理主席,這不僅是名稱上的區別;也不僅是盲目借鑒現時被視作外地的司法管轄區的做法。這種區別強調了我們兩部分的功能互為補足,並顯示我們履行職能的方式。我們就不同的意見進行辯論,並按政黨的路線作出表決,但我們超越黨派界限,合作進行調查及審議 工作,容納彼此間的不同路線。在制訂報告時,我們明白團結就是力 量,有關西九龍文娛藝術區報告及多份專責調查委員會報告便可一再證明議員間的合作。雖然辯論更能引人注意,但我認為委員會的工作 往往取得更大成效。順帶一提,下議院使用“專責委員會”的名稱,即 我們的“政策事務委員會”,而下議院部分立法程序是在常設委員會進 行的,因此常設委員會亦進行辯論。

簡言之,我們取證及進行審議,然後進行辯論及作出決定。這些修正案漠視這種區分,輕率提出建議,等同承認議員之間未能合作,展開全面辯論。現時的議會欠缺耐性,不容許我們花時間真正交換意見,以期達成最大的共識,反之只着眼於即時進行辯論,各自表達立場,最後投票決定。這離開真正的民主精神多麼遠,我無法說明。

這讓我想起《愛麗絲夢遊仙境》中的審訊。在讀出指控後,國王隨即向陪審團說:“作出裁決”。兔子連忙打斷國王的話,並說:“還沒有、還沒有”。“還有很多事情需要處理!”。代理主席,本會是否 還有很多事情需要處理呢?

讓我們暫時不談原則、憲法功能和職責。即使我們單單考慮實際情況,也應反對這些修正案。這些修正案既無必要,也不具實效。委 員會只需休會幾分鐘,便可處理有關行為不檢的問題,因此沒必要作出修訂。此外,要議員溫順地服從主席的命令退席,我認為可能性不大,因此這些修正案不具實效。若在職員協助下強行將議員逐出會議 室,所引致的騷動只會變成鬧劇,無助維護議會尊嚴。

事實上,我相信若主席下令議員退席,有關的議員很大可能會對抗,議員之間的芥蒂難以磨滅。在這種情況下,我們不可能建立合作與達成共識。

由於這些額外權力既不具實效,也無必要,我認為沒有任何理由採納有關建議。規則不能確保行為端正,只有尊重規則和制度才能讓 人養成良好的行為習慣。

最後,我想提出一點,當數位議員堅持向官員亂扔東西,當議員獲准肆無忌憚地互相表示輕蔑,以及當議員獲准不斷作出辱罵和人身 攻擊,我們的《議事規則》將會崩潰。

我不知道在這種語言環境下,如何進行理性的辯論。不過,如我們要履行職責,包括為香港的福祉而制訂有原則和理智的長期公共政 策,便要進行理性的辯論。我長期擔任立法會議員,看到這種情況真 使我感到非常悲痛!

雖然理性可能已無關重要,但我希望反對這項議案的理由能夠記錄在案。我想補充一點,我提出反對與公民黨的立場絕無關係,因為 《議事規則》應凌駕於政治之上。

謝謝。

 

 

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