Essays On Parliamentary Democracy A Gateway To Good Governance

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For those seeking to establish responsible government in Australia, these were not wise assumptions for the coming century.

The fusion of the non-Labor parties and the emergence of a disciplined and increasingly successful Labor Party at the end of the Parliament's first decade set the pattern for a century of two-party parliamentary politics.

The Senate's changed role after it became elected by proportional representation from 1949 created some hope for increased scrutiny as the result of minor party representation.

While the character of the Senate, the scrutiny of Question Time, and the probing of parliamentary committees constrain the power of government, the Parliament has, however, remained a forum dominated by Ministers of state.

Power has become skewed in the Executive's favour, replacing the Parliament as the primary forum for decision making with the party room.

The folly at the heart of the founders' blueprint for the Australian system of government was the presumption that 'responsible government' would exist despite warnings of impending party consolidation.

It determines the character of national politics, the role of key public institutions, and the balance between government and the broader political system.

In Australia, the reluctance of our founders to make explicit the relationship between Ministers and the Parliament has allowed disciplined political parties to thrive and has facilitated Executive dominance.

Today's system of party, rather than parliamentary, government is the result of gaps left in the Commonwealth Constitution.

This paper explores the implications of this folly for the Commonwealth Constitution.

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