I fear the introduction of Yar Yar Binks into the Star Wars Franchise is the moment that Star Wars jumped the shark (and they did have a lot of shark like creatures on Coruscant in Episode One).
Through the good fortune of meeting two fugitive Jedi, Yar Yar Binks is turned from an outcast exile into an upstanding citizen and accidental civic leader. As Lucas did not feel he could write Mr Binks out of the second prequel entirely, he turned him into a member of his home planet’s senatorial delegation, deputy to Padme Amidala.
In that episode, the moment when the Sith start to get the upper hand is when Yar Yar Binks, way out of his depth in Senator Amidala’s absence, is persuaded by Chancellor Palaptine that supporting the creation of a ‘Grand Army of the Republic’ comprising clones created by aliens from outside the borders of the Republic is what Amidala would support.
[The questions of governance are totally set aside in that moment. One obvious question is that it is totally impropriate for a democracy to buy an army of clone-slaves from some foreign source. Another is that if the Republic is worth fighting for against various secessionists, perhaps it needs to get its member states to levy troops to wage that war. The Senate and the Jedi are more culpable in not discussing these issues than poor confused Yar Yar.]
Yar Yar Binks at least had the decency to ask himself ‘What would Padme Amidala do?’ even if he came up with the totally wrong answer.
Another, real, accidental civic leader, the Hon Fiona Patton MLC, has chosen instead to ask herself ‘What would Yar Yar Binks do?’ and come up with the totally accurate (if not right) answer.
I am talking about her support, along with two other cross benchers in the Victorian Legislative Council, for granting to the government an extension of emergency powers for a further six month period.
If emergency powers are to be granted, they need to be subject to constant parliamentary review. A six month term is excessive and allows for an unfettered period of potential abuse of those powers, as has been seen since they were granted with the Police arresting various people, including a pregnant woman, for the crime of ‘instigation’, ie placing comments on social media calling for people to publicly protest against the various very tough restrictions that are currently imposed on Victorians.
With the wave of a hand, not even the stroke of a pen, Fiona Patton has caused freedom of speech to be the latest freedom which we have lost in Victoria due to unfettered use of emergency powers.
Fiona Patton has also abdicated her duty as an upper house parliamentarian to review and scrutinise legislation and the actions of the executive government of this state. What more use is she for the next six months, until the next time Chairman Dan asks for another extension of emergency powers?
The hypocrisy of Ms Patton, in supporting these powers, is more sad than disturbing as she is leader and representative of the softy libertarian Reason Party. This party started out as the Sex Party, as a voice for the sex industry in lobbying against censorship and prudishness, and has since sought to broaden its appeal to a wider audience by promoting secular values and freedom.
Ms Patton, you cannot have freedom in a technocracy where you have the duty to review the powers and actions of the executive, but instead choose to enable a government who does not wish to be accountable even to its own rank and file party membership or parliamentary party room.
As a civic leader and legislative councillor, the Hon Fiona Patton MLC now has as much credibility as Yar Yar Binks.
The next Act in this sad story is for her to walk, like Yar Yar Binks beside the coffin of Padme Amidala, beside the coffin of freedom of speech in this state – something for which she obviously (despite the rhetoric of the party she has created) has no genuine regard.