When it comes to constitutional reform, the ideas that never seem to die are the ones that usually relate to the security and profitability of parliamentary office.
The emoluments of office are a regular matter for bipartisanship as is the public funding of elections (although that does not require constitutional change). And every couple of terms come the questions of numbers of members and senators, the duration of their terms and whether the terms are fixed (which does require constitutional change).
The Whitlam Institute (Labor “thinktank”) is looking to have a 4 year fixed parliamentary term (with the associated 8 year senate terms). The Australia Institute (Greens “think tank”) is looking to increase the number of MPs and Senators. And apparently the (“Liberal”) speaker of the house is also doing work on 4 year terms.
Now with the Prime Minister travelling and the Deputy Prime Minister taking personal leave (not annual one notes), the acting Prime Minister will be the Senator Mathias Cormann. Yes Senat0r.
Spartacus was surprised to learn that this is not the first but rather the fourth time a Senator has been acting Prime Minister, with one senator having acted in the job for 7 months!
Spartacus also erroneously thought that it was a constitutional requirement that the Prime Minister come from people’s house rather than the State’s House of Unrepresentative Swill. It seems however that it is not a constitutional requirement but rather a constitutional “convention”.
So for those readers out there, including Chris Mitchell, perhaps the next cab off the constitutional reform rank should be about ending the possibility of this practice. There are another 149 MPs could could theoretically do the job.
Oh and also on the same track, an absolute prohibition on Senators holding positions in the executive (Ministries). If George Brandis or Penny Wong or soon to be Kristina Keneally or even Senator Matthias want to be in the executive, let them run for the lower house like the rest of the representative swill.
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