How about this for constitutional reform

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.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to How about this for constitutional reform

  1. I prefer to think of them as the “House of Reprehensibles” and “This Place of Chaos”.

  2. RobK

    Why do you insist on applying logic to rhetoric, nobody does that anymore.

  3. john

    We need fewer Senators not more. Improvements in communications and technology allow any Senator to be in contact instantly with anyone in their state.

    What’s more, ever since the Senate was expanded in 1980, minor parties have dominated.

  4. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    A four year fixed term for the Federal Parliament will offer certainty.

    That will be the central marketing feature. When it has been thrust forward as the primary reason for similar changes at State level certainty “for whom” and “in what terms” has never been explained.

    The mugs fall for it every time.

  5. Rococo Liberal

    Does the Constitution mention the Prime Minister at all?

  6. Dr Fred Lenin

    To me the senate is the “special needs” class ,the reps is “ kindergarten ,” , state parliaments are “ pre schools “ and local gangrene infested councils “ playgroups “, Usually the inmates of these institutions behave in a manner befitting those names . What a pity we have to pay them , we dont pay the real kids and they do much less harm .

  7. johanna

    I don’t understand why Sinc allows this fantasist to post here regularly. He is no better than the many commenters in ‘If I were the dictator of Australia’ mode.

    There is zero chance of what he posits ever happening, but presumably it makes him feel warm and fuzzy and virtuous. No better than an SJW.

  8. JC

    I was wondering if this was going to be a twofer or threefer. It’s a threefer.

  9. struth

    There is no Prime Minister in our constitution.
    There are no political parties.
    That’s the way it should stay.
    We don’t need another single pollie in any of out parliaments, we need less.

    Our local reps should not belong to a party in IMHO.
    They should be representatives of the people in their area as specified in our constitution.
    They turn around and say they ‘re hands are tied because of the top brass in their party, and that’s a disgrace.
    The corruption of preselection and the health of our democracy generally is weakened dramatically by “parties”

    We are supposed to have an executive council “ministers” and that’s it.
    Reps voting on bills as they are told to by their constituents and not the party.
    Imagine that.

  10. Sydney Boy

    I have no problem with 4 year terms. It might reduce the short-sightedness of many policies. And yes, terms in office do change from time to time.

    I also think we should have far fewer Senators. The US seems to survive just fine with 2 Senators per state, and many of their states have populations that are huge in comparison – California and Texas have populations larger than Australia.

  11. H B Bear

    Anyone advocating for fixed four year terms obviously wasn’t living in NSW while polishing their baseball bat waiting for the opportunity to take it to whomever Eddie Obeid had installed as Premier at the time.

  12. Robber Baron

    Fixed terms are a good idea. 4 year terms are not. 3 years is about right. The election should be held on Queens birthday…just to remind everyone who our sovereign is.

    We do not need 6 senators from each state. Why don’t we drop down to 5?

  13. Boambee John

    Robber Baron

    It is 12 per state, not six, and two each from ACT/NT.

    The number six is the minimum set in the Constitution, with the nexus of half as many Senators as MHRs also in the Constitution, the only way to reduce them is also to reduce numbers of MHRs, NTTAWWT.

    Keeping the executive out of the Senate might not need Constitutional change, however.

  14. JohnA

    H B Bear #2641946, posted on February 20, 2018, at 7:28 pm

    Anyone advocating for fixed four year terms obviously wasn’t living in NSW while polishing their baseball bat waiting for the opportunity to take it to whomever Eddie Obeid had installed as Premier at the time.

    Nor have they spent any time in the PDR of Victoriastan, where the convention is that no Confidence motion is permitted in the first three years of the life of the Legislative Assembly.

  15. Caviar

    It’s time to move to a system of direct democracy. Let the people truly decide.

  16. nemkat

    The American Senate Election system is okay.
    One third of the Senate is up for Election every 2 years, so there are 6 year terms, same as here.
    Preferential voting and above the line voting is our biggest problem.
    4 Senators from each state should be up for election every 2 years, and everyone gets 1 vote.
    The 4 with the highest totals become Senators.
    That might stop deadshits no one ever heard of, like Mal Colston and George Brandis, from ever getting elected, let alone serving 20 years.

  17. stackja

    Time for ALP to disappear.

  18. Leo G

    It seems however that it is not a constitutional requirement but rather a constitutional “convention”.

    Like the convention that the Senate be filled with elite, experienced political minds, each removed from direct pressures of populism and of party politics, and who are capable of and inclined to consider the long-term effects of prospective legislation?
    Or perhaps that was just a dream I vaguely recall from my youth.

  19. candy

    Four year terms could mean someone like Julia Gillard again could put in place financial timebombs like NDIS, Gonski and Kevin Rudd’s NBN.
    Once I would have thought it was a good idea, for certainty, but not now. There’s a lot of damage that can be done even in one year, let alone four.

    Right now we have the Snowy II scheme and fast rail that Malcolm Turnbull is trying his best to sign us up to. All way too much and will break Australia completely.

  20. Kneel

    “Keeping the executive out of the Senate might not need Constitutional change, however.”

    Perhaps, but best to go this way if possible – Don’t forget your “L.A.W.” tax cuts.

  21. Empire

    struth
    #2641897, posted on February 20, 2018 at 6:03 pm
    There is no Prime Minister in our constitution.
    There are no political parties.

    Leo G
    #2642011, posted on February 20, 2018 at 9:35 pm
    Like the convention that the Senate be filled with elite, experienced political minds, each removed from direct pressures of populism and of party politics, and who are capable of and inclined to consider the long-term effects of prospective legislation?

    There was no reference to politcial parties in the Constitution, prior to 1977. The 1977 Referendum concerning the filling of casual vacancies for the Senate changed that. The concept of party affiliation is now embedded in the Constitution and political hacks are ensured a clear path to the great trough for apparatchik snouts.

    Fraser was a traitor.

    https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2004A01720/b475e95c-2ab2-4c41-8199-9daaad4a1e02

  22. Mon

    And whilst there at it, reduce the number of Senators in Tasmania.
    The population down there does not require the numbers Senators they have.

Comments are closed.