Here here.

Writing this morning in the Spectator Australia, the IPA’s Andrew Bushnell advocates for an increased number of members of parliament:

It reeks of blasphemy, but might more MP give us better service

TAFKAS is not sure that it will “give us better service” but it will improve Australia’s democracy.  Bushnell advocates for both an increase in the number of MPs and of Senators.

So for whatever it is worth, YES and NO.  YES for more MPs.  Hell NO for more senators.  In fact, ITHO (In TAFKAS’ humble opinion), there should be fewer senators.

A little known fact is that at the US constitutional convention, the draft first amendment was not about free speech and religion.  The current US first amendment was actually the draft third amendment.

The draft first amendment was about fixing the number of citizens to the number of members of congress such that the size of the US congress would “breath” in size with the population.  This was the only draft amendment that was argued for by George Washington, yet as history shows, it did not get ratified.

Another unmentioned benefit of more members in the House of Reps is that it increased the gene pool of people who can be appointed to the Executive Council.  For as long as the Constitution requires ministers to be members of parliament, this limits the “talent pool” to the factional quacks that can get into parliament.  Increasing the number of MPs could improve the quality of our cabinet ministers because it certainly could not get worse.

As for the Senate, ITHO, the numbers should be reduced and not increased and more so, to truly make it a State’s House, Senators should be appointed by State Parliaments.  Senators, because they are not popularly election should also be BANNED from serving as Ministers.

The other unstated benefit of more MPs and fewer Senators nominated by the States is that it would make passing legislation all the more harder.

Now would not these changes make it more interesting.

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28 Responses to Here here.

  1. Eyrie says:

    No problem as long as the present total cost of salaries, allowances and benefits are shared amongst the increased numbers in the reps. The Senate can be a cost saving.

  2. Karabar says:

    OTOH, we could adopt real democracy by choosing a vote by individuals on specific topics, as advocated by Voteflux.org.

  3. stackja says:

    ALP wants legislation easier passed.

  4. gary says:

    We need one person who knows what they are doing, not 1,000 who don’t know what they are doing.

    Most MP’s are time serving hacks with no idea and they just vote along party lines. Just have each electorate vote for the Prime Minister and whichever candidate gets the most electorate wins they are PM, and the PM can pick ministers on merit.

    Then have direct democracy like they have in Switzerland where laws can be repealed by a referendum of the people.

  5. Riversutra says:

    Every time I hear some garbage about the Northern Territory being made a state, I think of what 10 additional senators would do to destroy this country. Remember, each state no matter the population gets 12 senator (explains Jacqui Lambie).
    Remember in July 2015, members of the Council of Australian Governments unanimously agreed with then Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles that the territory should become its own state by 1 July 2018. As of Jan 2021, it is not a state. So far , so good.

  6. lotocoti says:

    Senators, because they are not popularly elected should also be BANNED from serving as Ministers.

    Absolutely.

  7. max says:

    The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union

    Under the Articles of Confederation, the central government was so weak that it had virtually no control over the nation’s fiscal affairs or the powerful assemblies representing the people in the states.

    The Articles of Confederation were designed to prevent the central government from infringing upon the rights of the states and people.

    The Articles of Confederation did not give the Congress power to tax, borrow, raise armies or regulate commerce.

    “The Federalists” engineered a counter-revolution and erected a nationalistic government.

    The U.S. Constitution: Tool of Centralization and Debt, 1788-Today
    Gary North

    Rothbard: The Constitution Was a Coup d’État by David Gordon

    There is no any document or institution which is more blindly worshiped in the American culture than the US Constitution and the “Founding Fathers” who drafted and ratified it.

    The story about the constitution just once more confirms that history is always written by the winners and nothing more. The first thing we should bear in mind is that the US had a Constitution before the one drafted in Philadelphia – it’s been called ‘The Articles of Confederation’. This document was much better than the Philadelphia constitution – it provided for the complete sovereignty of the states, did not give the Congress power to tax, borrow, raise armies or regulate commerce.

    The U.S. Constitution stands almost as American scripture, deified and all but worshipped as the holy book for the American civil religion of republicanism.

    In the intervening 200-plus years, the Constitution has become sacred indeed, an influential foundation used by politicians on all sides of the ideological spectrum to bolster their arguments and justify all number of decisions.

    The Founders, or in the case of the Constitution, the Framers, are now held in the esteem of veritable deities, a pantheon of American civic saints.

    For the Antifederalis “empire” was the rule of a vast territory by a strong, consolidated government.

    Ultimately, the Antifederalists insisted, empire could he achieved only at the expense of their most cherished and hard-won prize: liberty.

    Of course Antifederalists were right — all problems Americans have today go back to Constitution.

  8. Roger says:

    No, no and no.

    The Commonwealth Leviathan needs to be reduced, not expanded, and that starts with parliament.

    Reduce its responsibilities to the rather limited powers envisaged in the Constitution and roll back the legislative agenda that has underwritten its growth, starting with the 1942 income tax Acts.

  9. It's Remarkable says:

    Small point, but I reply “Where, Where” when someone types “Here, Here”

    “Hear, Hear” on the other hand…..

  10. Roger says:

    As for better “service” from our MPs, let’s do wqhat they do in the UK – parliamentarians meet with their constituemnts on a weekly basis to discuss issues of concern face to face.

    The only time one sees this in Australia is during an election campaign, and if you’re in a safe seat you’ll likely never see your sitting member do it. It’s not good enough.

  11. Noddy says:

    Then have direct democracy like they have in Switzerland where laws can be repealed by a referendum of the people.

    The ‘SYSTEM’ we have is excellent but corrupted by Power hungry politicians, aided and abetted by equally power crazed bureaucrats. Representatives and Senators are ALL elected by the same people albeit different methods of selection. This is very good. The ‘right to recall’ a politician to face the electors at any time should be part of the elector’s contract. Likewise, a Citizens Initiated Referendum and VETO would go a long way to curb the power grabbers. It should always be remembered ‘the ‘seats’ belong to the electors not the political parties! Fixed terms of tenure should be off the agenda so they can be removed at any time ‘not given time to finish the job’ which appears to one of destruction with mounting debt.
    It is not the number of politicians of concern BUT the number of needless laws they enact to justify their existence. A start can be made by always voting the sitting member last when you vote
    Get rid of compulsory voting … it has not proved its worth and lends legitimacy to the undeserving candidate. We would not be worse off if all the qualified candidates name were put in a box and then selected by lot. It would save on ‘vote counting’, lessen the chance of corruption and leave no need for mendacious political rhetoric. MAGA = Make Australia Great Again … with apologies to D J Trump. Bless him!

  12. pbw says:

    To It’s Remarkable, I say,
    “Hear, hear.”

    TAKFAS, I first heard this in Parliamentary broadcasts. It means, “Listen to him, listen to him,” and that makes sense.

  13. Real Deal says:

    Thanks, TAFKAS. Your Elmo speak drives me to distraction but this is a great post. Also liked your post on speed limits. Common sense, I appreciate yours.

  14. Nob says:

    Why do you want it to be more interesting?

  15. Mark M says:

    1 or 2 more, along with 2 term limit for all of them.

    No more career politicians sucking off the public teat forever.

    Also, all politicians should NOT be allowed to own shares in, or have family connections to any renewable /fossil fuel industry while presiding over legislation that increase or nudge up their profits.

  16. wal1957 says:

    Increasing the number of MPs could improve the quality of our cabinet ministers because it certainly could not get worse.

    Wishful thinking on your part I think TAFKAS

  17. John A says:

    Mark M #3711069, posted on January 6, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    1 or 2 more, along with 2 term limit for all of them.

    No more career politicians sucking off the public teat forever.

    Also, all politicians should NOT be allowed to own shares in, or have family connections to any renewable /fossil fuel industry while presiding over legislation that increase or nudge up their profits.

    A couple more restraints:
    a) minimum qualifying age of 40
    b) no remuneration AT ALL.

    The political speech mantra “it’s a privilege to serve my country/my electors” may then become more than empty rhetoric.

    And joined with that excellent UK idea of meeting regularly with their constituents we might actually see improvements in the Quality of Service.

  18. Boambee John says:

    gary

    Most MP’s are time serving hacks with no idea and they just vote along party lines.

    Not just the simple backbenchers.

    Many years ago, I had the task of drafting a response to an MP, who had asked about the “adverse” effect of certain legislation on one of his constituents.

    Checked the dates. As a frontbencher in the government that passed the offending legislation, the (dis)Honourable Member had presumably considered the draft legislation before voting for its passage. Clearly, if he had actually read the Bill, he did not notice the potential impact on his constituents, or did not care until one of them wrote to him a decade or so later.

  19. John Michelmore says:

    Gary +10! The biggest problem is MP are mostly in it for themselves I suspect. Most haven’t got a clue about their portfolios and are beholden’ to the man/ women with the biggest cheque book. They rely on bureaucrats to advise them without a lot of real analysis for themselves because they are basically unqualified in the portfolios they are allocated. These bureaucrats often have their own agendas, and not necessarily the best “agendas” for Australians.

  20. Fair Shake says:

    But where would our great nation be without the Tasmanian whack job senators lecturing hectoring and guiding Australia and its laws?

  21. Entropy says:

    Ther would be no reason to increase the number of parliamentarians if federal was more limited in what it did. Foreign affairs, trade and the military. That’s it.

    But totally agree with all below:

    As for the Senate, ITHO, the numbers should be reduced and not increased and more so, to truly make it a State’s House, Senators should be appointed by State Parliaments. Senators, because they are not popularly election should also be BANNED from serving as Ministers.

    Two per state, their only role to review legislation passed by the HoR including senate estimates meetings on Budget Bills.

    Also, all politicians should NOT be allowed to own shares in, or have family connections to any renewable /fossil fuel industry while presiding over legislation that increase or nudge up their profits.

    Might not be practicable. Maybe only that they cannot hold any active shares in any company, and cannot hold a position in the private sector post politics.

    A couple more restraints:
    a) minimum qualifying age of 40
    b) no remuneration AT ALL.

    Agree on the age thing. In fact an alternative model for senators is that they are randomly selected by ballot 12 months after retirement. Not so much on the remuneration.
    How about the average median wage? Might tend to focus the mind a bit. The benefit of both an age threshold and basic pay is that it would kill politics as a career stone dead. This is the most important aspect of any reform. People should do government to make things better for others, not their bloody pocket.

  22. Mike Ryan says:

    Any mention of…

    “Term Limits”?

  23. Destroyer D69 says:

    A “Right of Recall” with true teeth, in the electoral landscape would make the pollies sit up and pay more than the current indifferent lip service that infects the majority of the current crop , to the job they are elected to carry out.

  24. Gerard says:

    Hear, hear?

  25. Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray says:

    I now think that two Senate seats could be reserved for Aborigines to represent all aborigines, as part of the voice to the Parliament.
    And how about two terms only, once in Government, and the straight to prison for the second term?

  26. Squirrel says:

    Ditto to what Roger said at 11.16a.m.

    We have too many federal politicians looking to buy votes and prove their relevance to the communities they represent. Too often, this means intruding into the responsibilities of other levels of government, which is why so much money is being wasted on duplicating and second-guessing the activities of already 0ver-sized state and local governments.

    If one good thing eventually comes from the Covid debt bomb, it will be that the current governing class (who’ve never had to face truly tough budget choices – they just think they have) will be forced to start cutting the waste.

  27. Dusty says:

    Wrong way TAFKAS. You want LESS government, not more. You don’t achieve less bloodsucking by adding more leeches.

  28. a reader says:

    I agree actually. I said much the same the other day. I think the Senate should be reduced to the 6 senators per state originally envisioned in the Constitution but it should be up to the individual state parliament to nominate which of their members will serve as Senators. If say Victoria wanted majority rules in their senators and NSW decided to reflect their parliamentary make-up in their 6 so be it. They won’t have the right to introduce legislation anyway.

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