TAFKAS has written many posts on this site about constitutional reform. And the sum total of his ideas taken up is about the same as the sum total of skin in the game that Australia’s health bureaucrats have. And that would be a grand total of NIL.
But TAFKAS persists. Ideas and discussions have value in of themselves. Perhaps something that is written on the Cat is discussed somewhere within earshot of someone who might mention it to someone else.
So here he goes again.
US Senator Ben Sasse is one of the more brighter representatives in the US congress and last week he had an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on the subject of Senate Reform – Make the Senate Great Again.
Obviously Sasse was writing about the US Senate, but given that the Commonwealth Senate drew some inspiration from the US (giving Australia our silly form of Wash-minster government), there are no doubt some lessons available to Australia.
If you have a subscription, please read it – and note that subscribers to the Australian get a freebie subscription to the WSJ.
But to Sasse’s list TAFKAS would add the following – ban Australian Senators from holding positions in the Executive Council. That is – no minsters from the Senate. If they want to be in the executive, they should run for the house of reps and deal with actually constituents.
Here are 2 Sasse proposals that TAFKAS would support any and every day:
Cancel re-election. One of the biggest reasons Congress gives away its power to the executive branch is that it’s politically expedient for both parties to avoid the decisions that come from the work of legislating. Lawmakers are obsessed with staying in office, and one of the easiest ways to keep getting re-elected is by avoiding hard decisions. We ought to propose a constitutional amendment to limit every senator to one term, but we should double it from six years to 12. Senators who don’t have to worry about short-term popularity can work instead on long-term challenges.
Sunset everything. For decades Pennsylvania Avenue has been a one-way street, as authority flowed from Congress to the executive branch. When the unelected bureaucracy gets power, it doesn’t let go. We ought to end that by having the Senate create a “super committee” dedicated to reviewing all such delegations of power over the past 80 years and then proposing legislation to sunset the authority of entire bureaucracies on a rolling basis. Does, say, the Health and Human Services Department ever answer for its aggressive regulatory lawmaking? Of course not. Sunset all its authority in 12 months and watch lawmakers start to make actual laws.