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Australian Parliamentary System

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Australian Parliamentary System

  1. 1. The Australian Parliamentary System <br />
  2. 2. Federation: The Birth of a Nation<br />Prior to 1901, every inhabitant of Australia was a British subject living in one of six colonies<br />Each colony was a separate political entity<br />Own identity<br />Own government and political institutions<br />Own defence organisations<br />Own business structures<br />All colonies were self-governing. This means that the colonies had the power to make their own laws:<br />Transport<br />Immigration <br />Defence <br />
  3. 3. Reasons for Federating<br />REASONS AGAINST<br />Colonies were concerned that federation would mean surrendering some of their powers<br />Colonies were suspicious of each other<br />All colonies were used to pursuing their own individual self-interest<br />Inter-colonial rivalry <br />REASONS FOR<br />The inefficiency of the tariffs system<br />A growing sense of unity among colonists<br />A belief that a national government was needed to deal with issues such as trade, immigration, currency, weights and measures and the administration of the Northern Territory<br />Fear of growing German and French expansionism in the South Pacific<br />Joining together would make the colonies, and their separate defence forces, less vulnerable to attack and foreign invasion.<br />
  4. 4. Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (UK)<br /><ul><li> The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act was passed by the British Imperial Parliament in July 1900
  5. 5. In September 1900, Queen Victoria proclaimed that the Act and the new federation would come into force on 1 January 1901
  6. 6. ‘One people, one flag, one destiny’
  7. 7. 1 January 1901 Australia federates. The colonies become States, giving up some of their powers, but remaining independent. A Federal (Commonwealth) Parliament is established.
  8. 8. Federalism: aform of government that unites separate political entities/states within a single national system, but which allows each political entity/state to retain its independence.</li></li></ul><li> The Australian Constitution <br /><ul><li>The Australian Constitution lays down the structure of the judicial, executive and legislative arms of the Commonwealth Government.
  9. 9. It also outlines the powers and duties of each of these respective arms and delineates the relationship between the Commonwealth and the States of Australia. </li></ul>The Australian Constitution <br />LEGISLATIVE POWER ss 1- 60<br />EXECUTIVE POWER<br />s 61 - 70<br />JUDICIAL POWER<br />ss 71 - 80<br />THE CROWN <br />(GOVERNOR GENERAL)<br />HIGH COURT<br />PARLIAMENT<br /><ul><li>House of Representatives
  10. 10. Senate
  11. 11. CABINET
  12. 12. GOV’T DEPARTMENTS</li></ul>OTHER FEDERAL COURTS<br />
  13. 13. The Doctrine of Separation of Powers <br /><ul><li> There are three functions of government: </li></ul>Legislative Power (law making)<br /><ul><li>The power to make laws
  14. 14. Exercised by Parliament</li></ul>Executive (administration)<br /><ul><li>The power to implement and administer the laws
  15. 15. Exercised by the G-G on the advice of the government
  16. 16. Therefore, largely exercised by the government</li></ul>Judicial (adjudication) <br /><ul><li>The power to enforce the law and settle legal disputes
  17. 17. Exercised by the Courts
  18. 18. Each of these functions should be exercised by one organ of government, with no overlap, so that each can then act as a check and balance on the others
  19. 19. Parliament alone should legislate, the Executive alone should administer and the courts alone should adjudicate</li></li></ul><li>Completely Separate?<br />EXECUTIVE POWER<br />Governor-General<br />Government Departments<br />LEGISLATIVE POWER<br />Parliament<br />JUDICIAL POWER<br />Courts<br />Some overlap:<br /><ul><li> Governor-General is part of both Parliament and the Executive
  20. 20. Some members of Parliament are also members of the government
  21. 21. Parliament delegates some law-making power to government departments and Executive Council
  22. 22. Kept completely separate
  23. 23. Courts are independent of political pressure and influence
  24. 24. The independence of courts is necessary to maintain Australians’ confidence in the legal system</li></li></ul><li>Responsible Government <br /><ul><li> Both State and Commonwealth Parliament have two important functions:</li></ul>Passing Acts of Parliament <br />Supervising the executive branch of government (i.e. the MPs responsible for deciding on national strategies).<br /><ul><li>To remain in government, a party or coalition must maintain the support of the majority of members of the House of Representatives and act fairly and responsibly.
  25. 25. This is called the principle of responsible government.
  26. 26. It ensures that the government is answerable and accountable to the Parliament (and therefore the people).
  27. 27. Thus, the system of responsible government is DESIGNED TO ENSURE THAT THE EXECUTIVE, WHICH IS NOT ITSELF ELECTED, IS ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE TO THE ELECTORS (VOTERS)
  28. 28. Consequently, in Australia, the principle of responsible government works together with the principal of separation of powers to guide the way in which law is made and managed.</li></li></ul><li>Responsible Government, continued…<br />The appointment of the executive branch <br /><ul><li>In Australia, the federal government is selected from and also a part of the federal Parliament.
  29. 29. At a federal election, the party or coalition with a majority of members elected to the House of Representatives forms the government. The leader of this party becomes the Prime Minister.
  30. 30. The PM appoints some Members of Parliament to become Ministers.
  31. 31. Ministers run one or more areas of government (called portfolios).
  32. 32. Ministers work with their corresponding government department to develop policies and implement laws passed by the Parliament.
  33. 33. For example the Minister for Defence works with the DepartmentofDefence to implement laws about defence matters.
  34. 34. In addition, a small group of those Ministers forms the Cabinet (also known as the Executive Council), which is the chief governmental policy-making body.
  35. 35. In cabinet meetings, ministers introduce proposals for new bills from their departments. The cabinet discusses proposals for new bills – especially the costs - and recommends to the minister whether a bill should proceed or further changes should be made.
  36. 36. Sometimes the cabinet sets up a sub-committee of ministers to examine an issue in greater detail.
  37. 37. Cabinet spends a lot of time discussing current national problems and how they can be solved through legislation or other means such as regulations.</li></li></ul><li>Responsible Government, continued…<br />Collective Responsibility<br /><ul><li>The Cabinet is collectively responsible for government policy
  38. 38. It is obliged to resign if loses support of the House of Reps</li></ul>Individual Responsibility<br /><ul><li>The individual Ministers are also responsible to the Parliament for their actions and decisions, in addition to being responsible and accountable for the actions of their departments (Peter Garrett – insulation example)
  39. 39. Ministers are obliged to answer questions in Parliament concerning their departments
  40. 40. Ministers are in theory obliged to resign if their performance is found unsatisfactory
  41. 41. Peter Garrett Insulation Scheme:
  42. 42. http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/putting-a-ceiling-on-the-scandal-20100226-p915.html</li>

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