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Australian Politics and Politicians

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10 years 8 months ago #1 by Biteme
Australian Politics and Politicians was created by Biteme
Yeah right George, if that will ever happen... :S

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10 years 8 months ago #2 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Replied by ConcertForGeorgeNut on topic Australian Politics and Politicians
G'day, Biteme

Is there any reason you can think of why it shouldn't happen ? What makes Australian politicians (or Australian politics) different from American politicians and politics ? What about if the voting public in Australia somehow demanded something similar to the American model in Australia ? What would happen ?

These are all just questions. I have no answers. But I do think it's a worthwhile idea to explore in Australian politics.

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10 years 8 months ago #3 by Tushy
Replied by Tushy on topic Australian Politics and Politicians
Australian Politics are like children - it drives me mad
- and the one eyed supporters are worse..

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10 years 8 months ago #4 by Biteme
Replied by Biteme on topic Australian Politics and Politicians
Well George, I can't think of any reason why it can't happen but you only have to watch them on TV & see how they carry on like children, it would be good if they could put their "ego's" to one side & work together(as we all do in the work place) but I don't think I will see it in my life time... :whistle:

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10 years 8 months ago - 10 years 8 months ago #5 by sozzled
Replied by sozzled on topic Australian Politics and Politicians
George posted a message yesterday in our In the News discussion which started a whole different discussion about the Australian political system. I tried to move his message and the responses but, in the process, I accidentally and unfortunately deleted his message. Sorry about that, George. :blush:

Fortunately - thank goodness I had a copy of George's original message as part of The Quoroom's RSS news feed that's delivered each day to my mobile phone - I'm able to reproduce what George wrote, that started this discussion and explains what Biteme meant with his sarcastic comment "Yeah right, George, if that will ever happen ..."

ConcertForGeorgeNut wrote:

Since the election of Barack Obama in the USA I have been interested in following the process of putting together his support and advisory team. He's included a number of people in the team from the "opposition", Republican party. People have been chosen on the basis of their abilities and not their politics. Wouldn't it be great if we could do something similar in Australia?"


If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
Last edit: 10 years 8 months ago by sozzled.

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10 years 8 months ago - 10 years 8 months ago #6 by sozzled
Replied by sozzled on topic Australian Politics and Politicians
In response to what George suggested, I have a couple of points to make to clarify the differences between the Australian and United States systems of appointing cabinet ministers.

Firstly, in the USA, the President is the only elected member of the executive government (the Vice-President can assume executive responsibility in the absence of the President, but otherwise his duties are to act as the President of the Senate - the upper house of the country's legislature). All other cabinet portfolios are allocated to whomever the President chooses. In terms of the executive's accountability to the legislature, cabinet portfolio nominees must be approved by the Congress. Other than that, ministers are irregularly called before the Congress to account for their departments actions or appropriations of funds, but I think it's actually more difficult for Congress to hold the executive government to account than the system we have in Australia.

In Australia, the executive government is appointed by the Governor-General. The G-G appoints the Prime Minister and the other Queen's Ministers of State. Under Section 64 of the Constitution, all Ministers must be sitting members of Parliament. Although the Parliament doesn't "approve" ministerial appointments, under the Westminster tradition Ministers keep their jobs for as long the Parliiament has "confidence" in them; if a no-confidence resolution is successful, Ministers are expected to do the"honourable thing" and resign their portfolio. Therefore, the Prime Ministers choose their Ministers from within their own political party or coalition of parties; to do otherwise would potentially cause a revolt by disaffected members of their own party in cahoots with the Opposition.

Therefore, because of the fundamental differences between the Australian and US systems in choosing ministerial appointments, and because all Ministers in this country are subjected to daily scrutiny by the Parliament (of which they are a part), the US system wouldn't work here. It would be impossible for a Prime Minister to convince his/her own party to go along with the radical idea of selecting someone more suitable to fill a Ministerial appointment than from their own party! Can you imagine the fractious row that would reverberate in the party meeting room? Although it's technically possible for the G-G to form an executive government with anyone (as long as they're sitting members of Parliament) this would though of as "playing politics" and not in keeping with the G-G's traditional role and would result in a constitutional crisis of unprecedented proportions if (s)he were ever to try that on!

It's not just that Australian politicians carry on like a bunch of babies - the same can be said of politicians across the world. While it would be admirable if people could be appointed to executive positions on the basis of their unique abilities and qualifications, we also have to be realistic. It's a matter of what's the politically practical thing to do in the circumstances. The biggest hurdle to George's suggestion is our own Constitution. Let's bring on the republican debate! :woohoo:

If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
Last edit: 10 years 8 months ago by sozzled.

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10 years 8 months ago - 10 years 8 months ago #7 by Tushy
Replied by Tushy on topic Australian Politics and Politicians
Sozz wrote

Let's bring on the republican debate!


**pricks up her ears**

Ooooh yeah :lol:

tho the timing wouldnt be right just yet ;-) [/size]
Last edit: 10 years 8 months ago by Tushy.

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10 years 8 months ago - 10 years 8 months ago #8 by sozzled
Replied by sozzled on topic Australian Politics and Politicians
Tushy wrote:

Sozz wrote

Let's bring on the republican debate!

**pricks up her ears**

Ooooh yeah :lol:

tho the timing wouldnt be right just yet ;-) [/size]

I was speaking hypothetically, of course! :whistle:

If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
Last edit: 10 years 8 months ago by sozzled.

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10 years 8 months ago #9 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Replied by ConcertForGeorgeNut on topic Australian Politics and Politicians
Thanks, Sozz, for your usual very comprehensive explanation of your thoughts. If it takes constitutional change to achieve what we're talking about here, I say "go for it". But does the necessary constitutional change really need to stretch as far as Australia becoming a republic to achieve ?

From my understanding of what Sozz has written, seems like the most resistance to the implementation of an "Obama-style" government in Australia would come from self-interested politicians, rather than any technical constitutional issues.

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10 years 8 months ago - 10 years 8 months ago #10 by sozzled
Replied by sozzled on topic Australian Politics and Politicians
The impediments to presidential-style executive government appointment system in Australia - you could say that our Constitution already allows for this if you recall what happened in 1975 when the G-G sacked Gough Whitlam (but they were extraordinary circumstances) - aren't only consitutional considerations. You could say that Australia, like other constitutional monarchies, has the basic problem that the source of executive power is controlled by someone whom the people never chose in the first place. But the problem goes deeper than this and lies in an understanding of the Westminster traditions that we inherited from the United Kingdom.

I'm not saying that this heritage is wrong or bad for us, but it's what's at the very heart and soul of our political system.

As with most enlightened western democracies, the Australian Constitution attempts to deliver a system of government embodying the "separations of the powers" doctrine. In other words, there are three distinct parts of Government, each having the power to check and balance the excesses of the others. They are known as the Executive, the Legislature and the Judicature. The idea is that no single part of this system can harm the people without the co-operation of the other parts; no one part should become more important, more controlling, than the others.

That's politics. That's all very nice in theory. The problem doesn't lie with our politics, it lies with our politicians - which is what George has said - and the power struggles that go on between political parties.

Take, for example, the current stoush between the [federal] Government's drive to legislate its economic stimulus package - all $42 bn of it. Will the Government's initiative work? I don't know. Should it be done? Well, they're the guys we elected to look after us. Is the rescue package excessive? I'm not an economist, how the hell should I know ... but I do know this: if anyone needs to be looked after then we need to concentrate most on those areas that need help.

On the other side of the coin we have the [federal] Opposition with a tax-cut incentive "alternative" - about $20 bn. Will the Opposition's initiative work? Well, the initiative is based on the policy of the political parties who were in Government about 14 months ago whom we decided not to re-elect. The Opposition's plan is to bring forward those tax cuts that were promised two years from now. Will this rescue package be enough? Well, it depends on whether people will even be earning a taxable income in future in order to benefit from the tax cuts.

On the one hand we have a Government that's trying to inject money - money that it probably doesn't have - into cash handouts to those who are on low incomes, into building public housing, primary schools, roads and transport improvements. All of this sounds very noble. Who could argue that it's not worthwhile? The consequences of this spending will be to drive the federal budget into deficit ... the dreaded D-word.

On the other hand we have an Opposition that's prepared to cut the Government's source of revenue - money that it won't have in future - but alleviating the Government's burden on taxpayers. Those on low incomes would get a few hundred dollars, those on the highest incomes would receive a few thousand dollars. Now, hang on a second, I wrote before that "if anyone needs to be looked after then we need to concentrate most on those areas that need help." I hardly think that the Opposition's plan is helpful in a broad sense particularly if those targeted by their plan have lost their jobs in the meanwhile. And, while the Opposition's idea is to lessen the Government's burden on people, what about the other financial burdens that people have: the cost of food, clothing, housing and debt?

Whether you believe the rhetoric of politicians, ask yourself this question: what the hell did we elect those guys to do?

No-one wants to hear the D-word, but that's the reality facing governments the world over. It's not party politics that causes governments to run budgetary deficits. I mean, for goodness sakes, we're facing a budgetary deficit in Australia. It's only a question of how big.

We're lucky. The Government is counting on the strength of the people to work their way through the mess and they're prepared to help by directly contributing to projects that will stimulate employment. The Opposition, on the other hand, is talking up rumours of a ruinous deficit that will bind us, for generations to come, with an impossible-to-repay debt and they're using their political clout in the Legislature to undermine the power of the Executive. Checks and balances, maybe. Is the Executive being profligate in its exercise of power? Is the alternative government, the Opposition, merely mean-spirited, opportunistic or just plain ideologically uncompromising. On the one hand we have a plan - an expensive plan, perhaps, but a plan nonetheless - and on the other side there seems to be a lot of vague promises and prophecies of doom.

Whichever way you look at it, our politicians are flirting with more than just their survival; they're playing with ours and, I suggest, not doing the job that we elected them to do ... and there's not a single thing we can do about it.

If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
Last edit: 10 years 8 months ago by sozzled.

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