Australia was the 1st nation voted into existence. Maintain the rage.

Minority Government

  • Numerous Hung Parliaments around the World

    Australia’s is a Wash-minister style of parliament, incorporating aspects of federalism through a strong US style Senate, and also Responsible Government (a distinctive Westminster trait). Our Executive (for these intents and purposes) is the leader of the party controlling majority support of the Lower House. As such, they are accountable to parliament for their actions. Anomalous though it may be, a traditional Westminster parliamentary system cannot entertain the situation where one party has possession of the Executive and another with that of legislative power. In Australia however this is precisely the case. Not only can the Senate vote down legislation but more importantly it can block supply and deprive the government of the day of the ability to operate; while the government may have a bill passed in the House of Representative, it is the Upper House that may remain out of their reach.

    In recent years a number of Westminster parliaments; the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and now Australia, have all returned hung parliaments from an election.

    While each adopts a plurality system of voting, according to Duverger’s law, this ought to in fact engender a shift toward a concentration of power in the two major parties, but has recently led to betrayal of the major parties and promotion of minor parties and independents.

    Authorities may digress as to the reasons for phenomena such as this, but Australia is unique in that it incorporates federalism in the Senate. In Australia, it appears that a lack of unequivocal confidence in major parties by the electorate is accompanied by a drastic reduction in party membership. No longer is the Senate a States house; it is part of the balance sheet of the major parties. The major parties that were once divided by labour and capital, have now experienced a blurring in their traditional support base. As labour has acquired a certain capital value of its own, many working class voters are now conservative, and many conservatives are now Green. Ultimately, the majoritarian bullying of the two party political system in Australia is no longer supported. The fact that greatest gainer in the recent 2010 elections has been the Greens begs for introspection of our voting system in the Lower House but that to one side, reveals the mistrust that has infiltrated the traditional vote on which major parties relied for their strength.

    It may come as a surprise to some, but the recent electoral dilemma which finds neither of our traditional major parties with a majority to form a government, is quite possibly the best thing that has happened to Australian governance in decades.

    Major Parties Failed to Convince Australian Voters

    To enjoy a majority in the Lower House, 76 seats from the 150 available in parliament need to be obtained from the election result. The House elects a speaker and as the opposition will rarely wish to expend one of their already smaller numbers of votes, one of these 76 members needs to be a speaker. As the speaker does not have a vote except to break a deadlock, outside of further support, a mere 75 seats will then be relied upon to obtain the passage of legislation.

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