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  #661  
Old 09-14-2015, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Osipi View Post
One thing I imagine will change is that if Australia opts to have an president that is elected by the people, candidates most likely will spent a gazillion dollars in campaign funds and the public will be able to see some serious mudslinging between candidates happen. Our next president here in the States will be elected in November 2016 and the circus has already started here in full force.

Perhaps naively, I do not consider that it is likely that Australia would accept the sort of presidential republic that you have in the US, so therefore the sort of circus you have over there with long and expensive presidential campaigns is unlikely to happen here.

I - again perhaps naively - think that even those who favour a directly elected president still envisage a parliamentary model where parliament is paramount and the president is essentially a ceremonial figurehead without a separate mandate to go off on a frolic of his/her own and do important things without parliamentary approval.
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  #662  
Old 09-14-2015, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
Australia had a recession later than many other parts of the world. The need to make harsh economic decisions coincided with two very ambitious individuals on the front bench in each of the two main political parties.

This led to destabilisation and consequently bad poll numbers for both the Rudd/Gillard Labor Govenments and the Liberals under Abbott. Abbott had replaced Turnbull as Oppposition leader but Malcom Turnbull has been biding his time. I don't approve of it, as I believe an elected Prime Minister should have a full term in office to prove himself. It's increasingly poll driven, IMO.
Thank you for the summary Curryong. We typically do not receive much news regarding Australian politics in the U.S.
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  #663  
Old 09-14-2015, 05:42 PM
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We haven't actually had a recession (as legally defined) since the 1990s by the way. We haven't had two successive quarters of negative growth under the last four PMs.


Economically we are a lot stronger than many countries but we are open to the impact of China's economy.


This article is four days old: Goldman Sachs warns Australia faces one-in-three chance of recession in 2016 - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) It is 25 years since Australia last entered recession, in the September quarter of 1990. Keating was the PM at the time and even went on record as saying 'this is the recession we had to have'


This change came about because the ALP have been leading in the polls for months now and there is a fear that the Liberals could lose an upcoming by-election. Abbott has also made a few gaffs such as comments he has made and people he has publicly supported.


Our PMs, of course, aren't elected by the public anyway but by their own parties. The only people who actually voted for Mr Abbott were the people of his electorate and then his party elected him as their leader making him PM. To argue that he was elected by the population is to show a lack of understanding of the Westminster system. Remember 2007 when the leader of the Liberal Party, and PM, didn't even win his seat so would have been unable to continue as PM after that election even if the Liberal/National Party coalition had retained power.
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  #664  
Old 09-14-2015, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Roslyn View Post
Perhaps naively, I do not consider that it is likely that Australia would accept the sort of presidential republic that you have in the US, so therefore the sort of circus you have over there with long and expensive presidential campaigns is unlikely to happen here.

I - again perhaps naively - think that even those who favour a directly elected president still envisage a parliamentary model where parliament is paramount and the president is essentially a ceremonial figurehead without a separate mandate to go off on a frolic of his/her own and do important things without parliamentary approval.
A directly elected president with millions of votes would have far more democratic legitimacy than the PM, who would be just the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives. I find it hard to justify turning such a directly elected president into a figurehead. It might work in Ireland, but not in a continental and diverse country like Australia.

Besides, any directly elected president will necessarily be partisan and even if his powers are ceremonial, conflicts are likely to happen if the president and the PM belong to different parties/political factions.
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  #665  
Old 09-14-2015, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
With all due respect, voting for a republic without knowing a priori what kind of republic you will get doesn't make any sense. Let me remind you that the term "republic" alone can actually be anything, from the People's Republic of China to the Republic of Zimbabwe or the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

If republicans are serious about changing the system of government that has served Australia remarkably well since 1901, they have to present to the voters their complete choice of republican model, including how the Head of State will be elected and what his/her powers will be vis a vis the parliament and the PM/cabinet. Otherwise, they are asking to be given basically a blank check. I sincerely hope monarchists in Australia will not allow that to happen.

It makes perfect sense to find out IF Australians want to be a republic first.

Then there can be a series of more plebiscites on the actual form.

Only when the plebiscites show a clear preference for a model would that model be put to the public as a referendum to change the constitution to make the country a referendum.

A plebiscite wouldn't be a 'blank cheque' as plebiscites aren't binding on the government but are an indication of public opinion but more useful than a poll of about 1000 people. This would be a poll of the entire electorate and so give a better indication of support for or against the idea.

This is what Mr Rudd said he would do in his second term but he didn't get a second term as he was ousted before the election and by the time he was PM the second time it was only a few weeks until the next election so he couldn't put that to the public at that time.

Mr Turnbull has about a year until he has to go to the electorate - plenty of time to put up a plebiscite on the issue IF he sees it as important enough to do at this time.
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  #666  
Old 09-14-2015, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
A directly elected president with millions of votes would have far more democratic legitimacy than the PM, who would be just the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives. I find it hard to justify turning such a directly elected president into a figurehead. It might work in Ireland, but not in a continental and diverse country like Australia.

Besides, any directly elected president will necessarily be partisan and even if his powers are ceremonial, conflicts are likely to happen if the president and the PM belong to different parties/political factions.
I suppose it depends on whether you consider that one person - with his coterie of unelected advisors - should govern a country, or the party that is elected by the majority of voters. We vote at local level and those representatives go to Canberra and represent us. (Well, that's the theory, anyway; party politics muddies the waters.) And then all those representatives in the winning party elect a leader and that person is the PM. So our representatives choose their chairman, and he/she is our head of government. And then someone else is elected/appointed to do the ceremonial stuff. That's how our parliamentary democracy works. Though there is a tendency for people to think of the party as the leader, and you get people saying they won't vote for Abbott, or Rudd, or whoever, but it is really a vote for the party, not the individual.

I don't see why the Irish model wouldn't work here; it's the system we're used to, after all, and it's worked well so far. My only complaint about it what we have is that I want an Australian as head of state. I don't want that head of state to have much power of his/her own.
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  #667  
Old 09-14-2015, 09:26 PM
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Oh, OK, Australia experienced a downturn in its economy, not a recession, later than many other parts of the world.

I didn't say that Abbott was elected by the whole country. I said he was an elected Prime Minister which he was. He was elected by the liberals in the party room which made him parliamentary leader and then Prime Minister when the country voted the Liberals/Nats Coalition in.

I wasn't going to go into long detailed explanations on this thread on how the parliamentary system works in Australia. I know perfectly well how it works and don't lack understanding of it. Politics was one of my minors at Monash university and I've been active in the Labor party the whole time I've been in Australia. I don't need lectures on it.

I was just giving a short summary of how Abbott was toppled and how the country and his Parliamentary colleagues felt about it.
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  #668  
Old 09-14-2015, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Daria_S View Post
I never understood why some are so eager to bring this circus to countries that have a constitutional monarchy. I was hoping that watching idiots in the States would be enough to deter anyone. It's not even 2016, and the craziness is in full swing. I'm afraid to think of how it'll be come this time next year.



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I don't think it is about the constitutional monarchy, but having a foreign head of state.

And to the some of the others who are discussing in this thread. I and many others believe that having a parliamentary system with a prime minister and an elected, but apolitical head of state is the second best a country can have after a constitutional monarchy.

There is no point taking after the American model, which in many people's eyes is completely broken, but I think there should be a law in Australia who says that if the prime minister have not done anything illegal, then he cannot be ousted before the next election, even if he's ousted as leader of his party.
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  #669  
Old 09-14-2015, 11:51 PM
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To have such a rule as you suggest though, wouldn't work. A Liberal leader is elected by the MPs of his party in a party room ballot. He couldn't remain Prime Minister of Australia if he wasn't leader of his party and had lost the support of his parliamentary colleagues.

The main reason Abbott was toppled is that Liberal MPs were worried about their seats and their own futures. This period of political instability in Australia was started by Julia Gillard's replacement of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister for almost the same reasons, and judging by Abbott's reaction to the events of last night Turnbull had better be careful.
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  #670  
Old 09-15-2015, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Curryong View Post
To have such a rule as you suggest though, wouldn't work. A Liberal leader is elected by the MPs of his party in a party room ballot. He couldn't remain Prime Minister of Australia if he wasn't leader of his party and had lost the support of his parliamentary colleagues.

The main reason Abbott was toppled is that Liberal MPs were worried about their seats and their own futures. This period of political instability in Australia was started by Julia Gillard's replacement of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister for almost the same reasons, and judging by Abbott's reaction to the events of last night Turnbull had better be careful.
Yes, he could. It has worked before in Norway, and if there had been such a law the Prime Minister would never have been ousted as leader of the party. And I'm already aware of the other stuff you wrote.
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  #671  
Old 09-15-2015, 12:26 AM
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I think we need to give some background and context to our friends from overseas.

Tony Abbott's leadership has been hanging on by a thread since February. His leadership was contested back then, and his leadership survived. Just. He promised to be consultative with his back-bench.

Canning is about to have a by-election, due to the sudden death of their Liberal Member of Parliament. This by-election is extremely important because it will show the current thinking of the voters

It was suggested that, even though the seat would still be held by Liberal, there would be a 10% swing against them. This would make the seat marginal, at 2%. The Federal Seat of Canning is a VERY safe Liberal seat. A swing of that proportion is massive and has serious consequences. Based on this swing, Tony Abbott was facing an annihilation in the next General Election, which will be held in 12-14 months time. It was projected that the LNP would lose AT LEAST 30 seats of their seats in the next Federal election (we have 150 seats in our parliament).

The LNP had two choices: continue with a leader that is extremely unpopular and be annihilated, or vote in a new leader.
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  #672  
Old 09-15-2015, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by ROYAL NORWAY View Post
Yes, he could. It has worked before in Norway, and if there had been such a law the Prime Minister would never have been ousted as leader of the party. And I'm already aware of the other stuff you wrote.
We do not require a law. Any Member of Parliament can bring forward a Motion of No-Confidence. MP's would vote if they no longer have confidence in the current Government. If there was a majority, this would result in an election.

Passing a law that would forbid the removal of a leader of a party is ridiculous.
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  #673  
Old 09-15-2015, 12:58 AM
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  #674  
Old 09-15-2015, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ROYAL NORWAY View Post
Yes, he could. It has worked before in Norway, and if there had been such a law the Prime Minister would never have been ousted as leader of the party. And I'm already aware of the other stuff you wrote.
Norway is NOT Australia and therefore they have different rules about how their system works.

We follow the Westminster system which is very clear - the leader of the party able to command a majority in the lower house is the PM - and no one else.

Other countries may have different rules but that isn't the Westminster System way of doing things.
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  #675  
Old 09-15-2015, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post
Norway is NOT Australia and therefore they have different rules about how their system works.

We follow the Westminster system which is very clear - the leader of the party able to command a majority in the lower house is the PM - and no one else.

Other countries may have different rules but that isn't the Westminster System way of doing things.
I am already aware of how the Westminster system works, I just said that I think there should be a law in Australia who says that if the prime minister have not done anything illegal, then he cannot be ousted before the next election, even if he's ousted as leader of his party.

And this is the last thing I will say about this matter for now.
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  #676  
Old 09-15-2015, 04:05 AM
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As his party elects him/her to the position it doesn't make sense that he can't be replaced in that position by the very people who put him in that position.


He/She isn't elected by the Australian public but only by the members of his/her party.


That is something you seem to be refusing to understand.


What would be the point of a law to say that a party can change their leader but that won't change what that leader's role is - which is to be PM? There is no other role for the political leader of the party able to command a majority in the House of Representatives. The new leader of the party would have no role. The PM wouldn't be able to command a majority of his/her own party on the floor of the house. It would simply mean a lame duck parliament able to get nothing done.
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  #677  
Old 09-15-2015, 08:08 AM
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I suppose it depends on whether you consider that one person - with his coterie of unelected advisors - should govern a country, or the party that is elected by the majority of voters. We vote at local level and those representatives go to Canberra and represent us. (Well, that's the theory, anyway; party politics muddies the waters.) And then all those representatives in the winning party elect a leader and that person is the PM. So our representatives choose their chairman, and he/she is our head of government. And then someone else is elected/appointed to do the ceremonial stuff. That's how our parliamentary democracy works. Though there is a tendency for people to think of the party as the leader, and you get people saying they won't vote for Abbott, or Rudd, or whoever, but it is really a vote for the party, not the individual.

I don't see why the Irish model wouldn't work here; it's the system we're used to, after all, and it's worked well so far. My only complaint about it what we have is that I want an Australian as head of state. I don't want that head of state to have much power of his/her own.

If your only issue with the monarchy is that you would rather have an Australian head of state, then there is no need really for a republic. Several kingdoms in Europe had or have royal dynasties founded by foreign kings (e,g Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Greece, and the UK itself). After a generation or so though, members of that dynasty were native born and raised in the country where they would reign.

In other words, to solve your problem, you could simply appoint a new Australian-born dynasty or offer the Crown to Prince Harry and have his children be born and raísed in Australia.

Of course, I am not suggesting that Australia should make any of those silly moves, but rather my point is that, if someone votes for a republic, it should do so for deeper reasons, e,g because he or she genuinely disagrees with the principle of a hereditary, unelected head of state for life, and not simply because of the nationality of the head of state.
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  #678  
Old 09-15-2015, 08:56 AM
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Hmm. I think that wanting a head of state who is an Australian citizen and owes his/her primary loyalty to this country is a good enough reason to want a republic here. I don't necessarily think that having a hereditary, unelected, head of state is a bad thing for the UK.
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  #679  
Old 09-15-2015, 09:54 AM
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Hmm. I think that wanting a head of state who is an Australian citizen and owes his/her primary loyalty to this country is a good enough reason to want a republic here. I don't necessarily think that having a hereditary, unelected, head of state is a bad thing for the UK.

Does it really matter in practice though ? I mean, the Queen is the nominal head of state, but the Australian constitution, as far as I understand, says that all her powers are "exercisable by the Governor General", who is an Australian citizen, owes his/her primary loyalty to Australia and is not even an acting head of state for life, but just for five years or so before being replaced by someone else. From what I've been told by Australians themselves, there is even some legal doubt whether the Queen, when physically present in Australia, could personally exercise royal prerogatives as she has occasionally done before when she was in Canada for example.

As I see it, Australia has the best of both worlds: a de facto republic in practice, but without the trouble of an elected president clashing with the prime minister or overruling parliament as in France or in Portugal.
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  #680  
Old 09-15-2015, 10:28 AM
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Our appointed GG can do more than simply overrule parliament - he/she can actually dismiss the elected government (as the then GG did in 1975 and the NSW governor did in 1932).


Our constitution needs a shake up and voting to have an Australian as the Head of State is only the beginning - restricting the powers of said Head of State is also a good idea.


There is no question at all - the Queen can't exercise any powers in Australia. There was a situation where she signed some legislation and then it was argued successfully in the High Court that the law wasn't legal as it needed the GG's signature according to the constitution.


As the Queen is a nothing constitutionally in Australia it only makes sense to remove her completely and have an Aussie as our Head of State.


A foreign royal being established here might have worked in 1901 (as it did in Norway in 1907) but not now. We are too egalitarian to have that sort of set up.


Whether we will get a chance to vote on that issue though is in the future.
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