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Essay By: Philip Roberts

In 1999 Australia had a referendum to become a republic. The referendum failed because we were offered an undemocratic model. At that time I wrote this democratic model, which I have recently revised.

Submitted:Dec 24, 2010    Reads: 43    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

There has been a lot of huffing and blowing the last few years by politicians of all persuasions over the issue of an Australian republic. Unlike Paul Keating, I for one am not a minimalist when it comes to the matter of constitutional reform for an AussieRepublic. Minimalists are those who believe that we should call the governor-general a president, dump the queen, and get a new flag, and hey presto we magically have a republic. But in reality many other factors need to be considered to become a republic. Changing the name of the title of governor-general along with our flag just isn't enough. If that's all there is to it, we might just as well drop the queen, but otherwise stay as we are.
When I went to university in the early 1980s my second year Economics lecturer told us, "When the Australian constitution was put together, the founding fathers attempted to take the best aspects of the English constitution and combine them with the best aspects of the United States's constitution to form the new Australian constitution. Unfortunately they ended up taking the worst aspects of the English constitution and combining them with the worst aspects of the American constitution to form Australia's constitution. Probably the worst constitution in the free world."
Although this opinion was expressed c.1981, I have seen nothing in the nearly three decades since to make me think he was wrong. As a consequence, my belief is that very extensive change is needed both to our parliamentary system and to our constitution and legal system. I propose the following system:
1) The president to be elected by a popular vote every two (2) years.
2) To run, a candidate must produce a petition of 50,000 signatures of people saying they think the candidate would make a suitable president. (Although they do not need to guarantee to necessarily vote for the candidate).
2.1 The petition must include names, addresses and phone numbers/email addresses (where possible), to allow the testing of a random sample to assure they are real people, eighteen or older, living in Australia and legal Australian citizens.
3) Up to six candidates to qualify get to run at each presidential election. The first six to qualify naturally.
4) Candidates must place a $1,000 deposit to run, after they qualify. The deposit to be refunded if they get at least 100,000 people to vote for them.
5) Losing candidates who also lose their deposit cannot run again for four years. (They must miss one election.)
6) The President can serve two consecutive terms (four years) before having to miss one term (two years). But then may run again.
7) Electoral spending on each presidential candidate will be restricted to an equal amount (so the rich cannot have a monopoly on victory), with the funds to be provided out of the public purse by the federal government.
7.1 Candidates cannot spend their own funds on their campaign and to do so will mean disqualification.
7.2 If a candidate wins and then is found to have used private funds, this will be the only circumstance where the prime minister can sack the president. And only then with agreement of two thirds of a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the senate.
7.2.1 If this occurs, the immediate runner up (the person who came second at the election) takes over for the remainder of that election period, rather than having the expense of another election.
8) Presidential candidates must be Independents with no links within the last ten (10) years to any political party in this country. And they must never have been prime minister or leader of any political party in this country, at either state or federal level prior to becoming president.
8.1 Political parties cannot provide funds, or other assistance to any presidential candidate(s).
9) Each TV and Radio network/station must provide each of the six candidates with an equal amount of free air time (at least five minutes each), on the same day, in peak viewing time, in the last week before the presidential election. This need not, however, be on the same program.
1) The President will nothave the authority to sack the prime minister or the House of Representatives, under any circumstances! Therefore there cannot be the sort of power-grabs that occur under the presidential system in Russia, where the Russian president regularly sacks parliament.
2) The president will have the authority to sack the senate, a half-senate, or individual senators, only when they block supply by refusing to pass the annual budget.
2.1 In future the annual budget must be passed by the senate within ten (10) days of being handed down.
2.1.1 If it is not, then the president will call the dissenting senators before him/her and demanded to know why.
2.1.2 The only reason allowable for the senate to refuse to pass the budget, will be if the government has tried to sneak through non-monetary bills in the budget. As Gough Whitlam tried to do in 1975.
2.1.3 For the benefit of people uncertain what is a monetary bill or not, merely bringing in money does not make it a monetary bill. Almost everything the government does at least indirectly brings in money. Most non-monetary bills bring in money.
2.1.4 A monetary bill is one where the main emphasis is to raise funds.
2.1.5 A non-monetary bill is one where the main aim is to reform or alter a government system, procedure, or the powers of government.
2.1.6 An example of a non-monetary bill would be the Goods and Services Tax (GST). According to Prime Minister John Howard and treasurer Peter Costello, "The aim of the GST is not to raise extra taxes. The aim is to bring about a more equitable, fairer tax system". In which case it was a reform bill, not a monetary bill according to the prime minister and federal treasurer.
2.1.7 Therefore if Meg Lees, the then Leader of the Australian Democrats, had had a little more nous, instead of doing a deal to get the GST through before July 1999, as she did, she not only would have kept the bill in limbo until the start of July, but would have stalled it another month. If the GST had not passed by August 1999, Prime Minister Howard might have made the same mistake Gough Whitlam did in 1975, and may have tacked the GST onto the annual budget, or even used it as the central platform of the budget.
2.1.8 Then, like Gough Whitlam before him; John Howard would have been tacking a non-monetary bill onto the budget. Then instead of debating the morality of blocking supply versus the morality of a Goods and Services Tax, the senate would have been both legally entitled and morally obligated to block supply and reject the budget. The precedent being set in 1975, when the senate at that time blocked supply when non-monetary bills were tacked onto the annual budget.
2.2 If the president agrees non-monetary items are on the budget, the president will cross them off the budget, initial the changes, and hand back the budget and order the senate to now pass it.
2.2.1 The amended budget will not go back to the treasurer or the House of Representatives. They have already had a go at it and must be discouraged from trying to sneak non-monetary items through on later budgets.
2.3 Only if (I) dissenting senators refuse to appear before the president, or (II) the president disagrees that there are non-monetary items on the budget and they continue to block it; or (III) after the president amends the budget, the senate still refuses to pass the budget, then the president will (1) sack all dissenting senators, (2) call bye-elections for their seats for five weeks time, (3) ban the sacked senators from taking any further part in Australian federal, state, or municipal politics for ten (10) years, and (4) act as the sacked senate him/herself until the bye-elections, and will immediately pass the budget, thereby guaranteeing supply.
3) The president will have the power to call referendums (since both major parties have studiously refused to call referendums over the few decades, despite many public calls for referendums on many issues). However, the prime minister will also still have the power to call referendums.
3.1 The public will have the right to order the president to call a referendum. This will give true "power to the people" and prevent the president from becoming as apathetic toward the will of the people as the Liberals and Australian Labor Party (ALP) have both become over the last twenty years.
3.1.1 To order the president to call a referendum, any member of the public, who is an Australian citizen living within Australia, must provide the president with a petition with 100,000 signatures of people who support the proposal.
3.1.2 As well as their signature, the people must provide their names, addresses and phone numbers (where possible), to allow the testing of a random sample to assure they are real people, eighteen or older, living in Australia and legal Australian citizens.
3.1.3 The president will have three (3) months to check the petition, then six months to call a referendum or add the issue to an upcoming referendum.
3.2 Ideally the president should call one (1) or two (2) referendums per year, with three (3) or four (4) issues per referendum.
1) Under this proposal senatorial terms are to be cut from six years to four (4) years, with a half-senate election every two (2) years.
2) As stated I. THE PRESIDENT: B. POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT, 2) above, the senate will not be able to block supply, and will have to pass the annual budget within ten (10) days of it being read out in parliament.
3) Senate numbers to be cut to exactly fifty (50).
4) As a means of getting rid of the first of three (3) gerrymanders in our current system, I propose to abolish state and territory boundaries for all federal elections and referendums.
4.1 A federal election is not six (6), seven (7), or eight (8) state or territory elections combined together. It is one federal election. Therefore there is no justification for counting federal votes by state.
4.2 Ergo, the fifty (50) senators will not be linked to any particular state or territory under this proposal. They will have an electorate of one-fiftieth (1/50th) of the Australian population each.
4.2.1 So in future no more fruit-loop senators from Tasmania or the Northern Territory will be voted into power by a mere four or five thousand (4,000 to 5,000) people, as in the past.
5) The current six (6) month lag-time between half-senate elections and new senators taking power must be abolished.
5.1 New senators are to be sworn in the next working day after an election, with no sittings of the senate allowed between the election and the swearing in of new senators.
5.1.1 This will prevent the gross manipulation of the system that John Howard engaged in to bully the senate into approving the evil GST before the Australian Democrats took control of the senate in July 1999.
1) The term for the prime minister and House of Representatives under this proposal is to be increased to four years.
1.1 This will allow the two (2) year term for the president, the two (2) year term for half-senate, and four (4) year term for the prime minister and House of Representatives to be synchronised.
2) See I. THE PRESIDENT: A. TERMS OF THE PRESIDENT 7.2 above. The only circumstance whereby the prime minister can sack the president is when the president has illegally spent excess funds during a presidential election.
3) See I. THE PRESIDENT: B. POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT 3) above. Although the president can call referendums, so can the prime minister.
4) As mentioned in II. THE SENATE 4) above, there are three (3) gerrymanders in our current system. The second (2nd) of these is in the House of Representatives where governments can claim a mandate to rule, despite having less than fifty (50) Percent of people in the electorate vote for them. Under this proposed system proportional voting will be introduced, so you must have at least fifty point five (50.5) Percent of the electorate vote for you before you can take power.
4.1 The number of MHRs is to be reduced to exactly one hundred (100). So that with ten (10) Percent of the vote, you get ten seats, with twenty (20) Percent you get twenty seats, and so on.
4.1.1 If people feel one hundred (100) is too many MHRs still; this number could be cut to fifty (50) MHRs, in line with the numbers of the senate.
5) Minority governments are banned under this system.
5.1 To rule a party must receive at least fifty-point-five (50.5) Percent of the vote, or fifty-one (51) seats in the House of Representatives.
6) See point 3) above. Abolishing preference voting in the House of Representatives means people no longer have to vote for one of the two major parties, which have become rotten through to the core in recent times.
6.1 Also the two major parties can never again conspire against a third party as the Liberals and ALP did in October 1998 to ensure Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party got no seats in the House of Representatives despite having nine (9) Percent of people vote for them. On this occasion the conspiracy against decency by these two major parties kept down a fruitcake politician. The next time it might be a potential John F. Kennedy, George Washington, Winston Churchill, John Curtin, just when we desperately need such a leader. (As we desperately need such a leader right now.) It is not who they conspired against that matters. But the fact that such an undemocratic conspiracy is possible between the two major parties at all, to keep a third party from establishing itself under our current system.
7) Since it requires fifty point five (50.5) Percent of votes to rule the House of Representatives, new parties should be banned unless they can field candidates for at least eighty-five (85) Percent of the seats (eighty-five (85) seats if there are one hundred (100) MHRs; forty-three (43) candidates if there are fifty (50) MHRs). See points 4.1 and 4.1.1 above.
7.1 Minor parties, like the DLP, who have no intention of winning power in their own right are pariahs, parasites only wrecking our political system by corruptly manipulating it to steal votes from one major party and give them to the other. The DLP's sole intention was to trick Labor voters into voting Liberal. This is the main reason the Liberals ruled for twenty-three (23) years straight from 1949 to 1972. This is a form of corruption, which we must never allow to happen again.
7.1.1 Independents should be banned from the House of Representatives for the same reason. With independents to be restricted to the senate and presidency.
8) Measures must be taken to abolish rorts by politicians:
8.1 Politicians who retire less than two (2) years after winning office for MHRs or one (1) year for senators under this system are to lose all retirement benefits and severance pay entitlements.
8.1.1 Seats for senators who retire after one year are to be replaced by a member of the same party, who serves up to one (1) year in parliament till the next half-senate election. This will mean twenty-six (26) senators voted at this half-senate election, and only twenty-four (24) at the next, due to the "swap". However, since other senators will retire at some stage in the future, this will be ironed out as time passes.
8.2 Parliamentary credit cards to be abolished.
8.3 Politicians travelling overnight to Canberra for sittings of parliament are to use their gold pass to travel by train, tram, or bus, free of charge. If they choose to take their own car, or rent a car, they do so at their own expense.
8.4 Living away from home allowances to be abolished. Living quarters should be built attached to parliament house Canberra. In the long run this will be cheaper than allowing politicians to continue to rort the system.
8.5 Office space, private cars, personal security, etc. for ex-prime ministers to be abolished.
8.5.1 Paul Keating alone costs the taxpayer $900,000 a year for excess expenses on top of the massive retirement package he already received.
9) Although we must prevent rorts by politicians, conversely we must prevent witch-hunts against politicians. Both the ALP and Liberal parties have forced political opponents to stand down after accusations of one sort or another were raised against them, only to have the allegations disproven in court, once it was too late for the ex-politician who had already lost his/her seat.
9.1 This happened to both David Coombs and Graham Richardson, both of whom were forced to stand down, then proven to be innocent of the charges after it was too late for their political careers.
9.2 In a democracy we are innocent till proven guilty, the same must apply to politicians.
9.2.1 When accused of any crime politicians must have to stand trial (the same as the rest of us). But must be allowed to retain their seat until such time as they are proven guilty, and all right to appeal has been used up.
9.2.2 This way if they are vindicated in the courts, there career will not have been ended by snide rumours.
9.3 Another example of this is Australia's "Watergate". This occurred in late 1994 when coalition adviser Chris Nicholls paid a private investigator in the Netherlands to do a six-day investigation of Paul Keating, in the hope of turning up some dirt that could be used against him in the next federal election.
9.3.1 This must never be allowed to happen again. Parties which bug or spy on other parties must be forced to disband and their leaders must be indicted.
9.4 I am reluctant to give the power to disband a party to the Supreme Court, because of the way the Supreme Court has befouled itself by conspiring with the Liberal and Labor parties against the majority of Australians on issues like Affirmative Action.
9.4.1 This is what led so many ordinary, decent Australians to become desperate enough to vote for a fruit loop like Pauline Hanson. Despite what the yellow news media wants you to believe, Hanson supporters are not all rednecks and racists. Many of them are honest, decent people, making a desperate cry for help after being conspired against by the Liberals, Labor and the supreme court, creating a Catch-22 situation, where short of assassinating the entire parliament, there is nothing they can do to get fair treatment in this country.
9.4.2 Perhaps the only solution therefore is to have a sitting of the House of Representatives, the full senate and full supreme court together to decide if a party is guilty of bugging or spying on another party or politician. With it requiring a two-thirds majority of the joint sitting to force a party to disband and to indict its members.
10) Likewise I must question the worldwide phenomenon of persecuting politicians over their sex lives.
10.1 Unless they engage in some illegal act like paedophilia a politician's sex life is his/her own business, and politicians must not be able to be forced to stand trial or stand down from parliament due to their sex life.
10.2 Insanely, in the USA, the Congress (senate) spent forty million dollars ($40,000,000) of taxpayer's money to force Bill Clinton to confess to adultery. Who cares if he cheated on his wife? This has nothing to do with his performance as a politician.
10.2.1 Since the Second World War the USA has only had two outstanding presidents, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton. Both sex-addicts, yet excellent presidents.
10.3 So in future a politician's sex life must be his or her own business unless it breaks the law.
As stated above, we have three (3) gerrymanders built into our current system. The third of these is in our referendum system itself.
1) As it stands now, people in the Northern Territory and Tasmania get six (6) or seven (7) votes each at our referendums; people in South Australia get four (4) or five (5) votes; people in Western Australia get two (2) or three (3) votes; people in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria get one (1) vote each.
1.1 At present it is possible for eighty-five (85) Percent of Australians to vote "Yes" at a referendum, and have the remaining fifteen (15) Percent out-vote them.
2) To break this gerrymander, state boundaries must no longer be considered at referendums.
2.1 Under our current system, to pass a referendum needs a majority of Australian voters to vote "Yes", plus a majority in at least four (4) separate states. With the A.C.T. and the Northern Territory counting in the national tally, but not regarded as states.
2.1.2 Under this proposed new system, the majority of states would no longer be needed. All you would need is a majority of Australian voters to vote "Yes".
2.1.3 So the only tallies that need to be kept would be, "Every single Australian Voter to vote 'Yes' for this referendum question", and "Every single Australian Voter to vote 'No' for this referendum question".
2.1.4 There would be no need to even keep the tally of donkey votes.
3) At the moment the referendum system is also biased against the "Yes" vote, because the government cannot spend public funds promoting the "Yes" case. Yet every moron under the sun can (and does) promote the "No" case.
3.1 This is wrong and one of three changes must be implemented:
3.1.1 To allow the federal government to spend public funds promoting the "Yes" case;
3.1.2 Morons to be banned from promoting the "No" case; or,
3.1.3 A limited amount of public funds to be set aside for both the "Yes" case and the "No" case, with no other funds allowed to be spent to promote either case.
3.2 Due to the gross number of flagrant lies both sides (Liberal/Labor, Yes/No) told in the run-up to the November 1999 Republican referendum, I am in favour of 3.1.2.
3.2.1 This means banning public media discussions of referendums prior to the referendum, other than the federal government produced "Yes/No" booklet.
3.2.2 Networks that defy this ban will be taken off the air Australia-wide for two (2) years, with no right to appeal this decision.
3.2.3 Individuals who defy this ban to be gaoled for ten (10) years, with no right to appeal this decision. These two laws will prevent stirring idiots from accepting a token penalty when they defy and attempt to pervert the law.
1) Great Democrat, Theodore Parker described democracy as being: "Government of all the People,
"By all the People,
"For all the People...."
1.1 Clearly this means that whatever basic political structure we adopt, before we can have a democracy, every tier (level) of our parliament must be voted into power by the people.
1.2 Thus you cannot have a democratic monarchy, even though this form of perverted terminology has become popular among monarchists. Democracy and Monarchy are opposites!
1.3 This is one reason that Australia currently is not a democracy!
2) The other reason Australia is not currently a democracy is the three gerrymanders currently corrupting our constitutional system.
2.1 In our senate.
2.1.1 Where some senators need one hundred thousand (100,000) people to vote them into office, others need only a few thousand.
2.2 In our House of Representatives.
2.2.1 Where minority governments can rule based on the number of seats they obtain, not the Percentage of votes. Bob Menzies ruled for seventeen (17) years, without the majority of Australians ever voting for him!
2.3 In our referendum system.
2.3.1 Where eighty-five (85) Percent of people can be over-ruled by the vote of the remaining fifteen (15) Percent.
3) Many people believe to get the best politicians, we must pay them a fortune and turn a blind eye to all their perks and rorts. I believe the opposite.
3.1 What this country (and the world) needs, are more people prepared to enter politics for patriotic reasons, not so they can retire after eight (8) years in parliament with a million dollar pension.
3.2 I believe to get great patriots in parliament, politicians should have to work for as little as possible.
3.2.1 Possibly an ideal might be even to pay politicians nothing and have them retire in five years; with no pension plan, but rather to go back to whatever job they did before serving their five years in parliament. The law could even be changed to force their old employer to take them back. But this is a theoretical system only.
3.3 At the very least, I propose cutting all federal political wages by fifty (50) to seventy-five (75) Percent and tying the new levels to the constitution. At the moment backbenchers have a starting wage of $131,040, nearly four (4) times what most Australians earn, and the prime minister earns $340,704; ten times what the average Aussie earns.
3.3.1 There after politicians will have to go to the people at referendum to ever get a pay rise. No more just voting themselves fifty (50) Percent pay rises whenever they feel like it.
3.3.2 That is the one occasion when Liberal, Labor, National and Australian Democrats are in complete agreement. Whenever they vote to give themselves a forty (40), fifty (50), or sixty (60) Percent pay rise.
3.3.3 If politicians do go to referendum to ask for a pay rise, they must be made to give the voters three (3) options: (1) Give us X Percent pay rise, (2) Give us X Percent pay cut, (3) Keep our wages as they as. No rise or cut.
3.3.4 Politicians are very smug when it comes to saying the workforce should have performance based pay rises, only getting more money for doing a good job. But they are less fond of applying this criterion to their own highly questionable performances. Under this system all political wages are performance based, with the voters deciding how the politicians have performed!
1) Under this system, there will be bye-elections under only three circumstances:
1.1 When the president sacks senators for blocking supply;
1.2 See III. THE PRIME MINISTER AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 8.1 above. When politicians die less than halfway through their elected term.
1.2.1 When politicians retire less than halfway through their elected term, to save the cost of a bye-election, whoever came second in their seat will take over control for the remainder of the electoral term. Unless the second-placed candidate is in the same political party. In which case the highest placed candidate in a different party/independent will take over the seat for the remainder of the electoral term. Due to the tendency of both the Liberal and Labor parties in this country to field multiple candidates using ever-so-slightly different sounding party names, it may be necessary for the president to decided who the highest placed person from a different party was.
1.2.2 The exception will be if politicians change party or become independents mid term. Then they lose office and the party who won their seat retains it and can appoint someone else to the seat. In the event that an independent joins a party mid term, they would lose their seat and the next highest placed independent appointed to replace them.
1.2.3 In the event of there being no other independent candidates the President would call a bye-election with only independents being allowed to stand!
1.2.4 Under my proposed system, to change parties after an election means you are out of politics until the next election.
1.3 If a politician dies less than midway through a political term the president must call a bye-election for this seat.
1.4 This should also prevent the constant rorts both Liberal and Labor have engaged in down the years, of having popular, long-time politicians win seats at an election, then retire straight after an election.
2) With preference voting abolished, if there are too many candidates for anyone to get fifty (50) Percent of the vote, at a bye-election, whoever gets the most seats wins, even if it is a small percentage.
2.1 Under our current system, we rig the result by giving preference votes to one of the top two polling politicians to pretend they have achieved a majority. This is a gross manipulation of democracy, solely to pretend someone has achieved a majority.
2.2 Also under our current system the result of an election can be reversed by the distribution of preference votes:
2.2.1 Ex. If Candidate A gets forty (40) Percent of the votes; Candidate B gets thirty (30) Percent of the votes; Candidate C gets twenty (20) Percent of the votes; Candidate D gets ten (10) Percent of the votes; then clearly more people have voted for Candidate A then any other, and Candidate A has "won". But redistributing preference votes from Candidates C and D could give the seat to Candidate B.
2.2.2 Which means we have reversed the result of the election.
2.2.3 It would therefore be much fairer to abolish preference voting altogether and call Candidate A the winner with forty (40) Percent.
2.2.4 Another reason for abolishing the preference system is because most people - including political analysts - do not know how it works! I remember in the early 2000s a number of political analysts, including forty-year man Laurie Oakes, debating on air the possibility of an independent winning the election if she finished third behind the ALP but picked up most of the ALP's second-preferences. I could not believe the rubbish I was hearing! The way Australia's preference system works is this: (I) after the primary votes are counted you draw a line under the second (2nd) placed candidate. (II) The people below this line have lost! (III) The votes of the people from third (3rd) place downwards are redistributed to the top two. (IV) The preferences of the top two finishers are not redistributed. (V) No preferences are ever redistributed downwards! They can only go up, to the top two finishers on primaries! So if you do not finish in the top two on primary votes you cannot get any preference votes and have lost!
1) I propose the abolition of all political lag-times in this country.
1.1 Currently there is a six (6) month period between senators winning office and taking power. This allows prime ministers to grossly manipulate the political system, as outlined in II. THE SENATE, 5) above.
2) Under this system all elections are frozen to exact terms to the nearest Saturday. Either two years or four years to the nearest Saturday.
2.1 Since voting remains mandatory, we cannot force people to vote mid-week, therefore the "exact" terms are to the nearest Saturday.
2.1.1 Many people argue we need to make voting optional to be a democracy. But you only have to look at the U.S.A. to see the lie behind this.
2.1.2 In America voting is non-compulsory and only forty-five (45) to forty-eight (48) Percent of eligible Americans bother to vote.
2.1.3 As a consequence most Americans have no representation in parliament, and most Americans spend a lot of time complaining about having no representation in parliament.
2.1.4 If they would only stop sitting on their brains, get off their backsides and vote, they would have some say in the running of parliament.
2.1.5 In this country traditionally the Liberals have supported non-compulsory elections, while the Labor have supported compulsory elections. However, both parties hold these opposing views for the same corrupt reason. They both believe that if voting were optional the working class would be too lazy to vote, while the upper class would still vote. Since the working class traditionally votes Labor and the upper class Liberal, according to this theory the Liberals would win every election. This theory shows the complete, utter contempt both parties have for the working class.
2.2 Fixed terms prevent electoral terms from being manipulated forward or back to rig elections, as Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, and John Howard all did, by calling elections when opinion polls suggested their government was more popular than the opposition.
2.2.1 And which Kevin Rudd tried doing in 2009/2010, trying to set-up a double-dissolution election so that he could corruptly take absolute power of both houses.
2.2.2 And so that by calling an election in less than three years he would guarantee himself a second (2nd) term.
2.2.3 Regrettably Australian voters are slow learners and most have virtually no knowledge of how our electoral system works, so Kevin Rudd looked like getting away with this rort, until his fundamentally obnoxious nature led to the ALP's approval rating plummeting until they had to sack him and replace him recently with Julia Gillard.
2.3 Having a set term also prevents politicians from trying to "hide" elections as Jeff Kennett tried to do in the September 1999 Victorian state election by running it during the Australian Football League (AFL) final series.
2.4 Under this system you have a House of Representatives, half-senate and presidential election together. Then two years later you have another half senate election and presidential election. And so on, in two-year cycles.
2.4.1 This should actually save money on elections.
2.4.2 Under our current system, the theoretical election term is three years.
2.4.3 However, four prime ministers, Fraser, Hawke, Keating, and Howard all manipulated the system by calling early elections whenever the opinion polls said they were more popular than the opposition.
2.4.4 As a consequence we have actually had one federal election on average every eighteen (18) months since 1972.
2.4.5 Under this system, the electoral terms are frozen at two (2) years, so there would be one third (1/3) less federal elections than at present.
3) Since all elections under this system have frozen terms, the anti-democratic procedure of the Double-Dissolution election, which John Howard wielded out like an axe throughout his first term in office (just as Kevin Rudd did throughout his only term), is abolished under this system.
4) Perhaps the president should be restricted to two (2) consecutive terms in power before having to step down for one term. This means no more than four (4) years in office, followed by at least two (2) years out of office.
5) See III. THE PRIME MINISTER AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 7) above. There is a need to abolish minor party chaos, whereby fruit loop parties create chaos by running in just ultra-marginal seats. Insisting that to run at all, parties must compete in at least eighty-five (85) Percent of all seats can do this.
5.1 We do need a system where a legitimate third party can emerge to take over from the Liberals and Labor, both of whom have lost complete touch with the will of the people.
5.2 However, we do not need fruit loop parties competing in just a handful of seats with the sole intention of screwing up our political system.
5.2.1 We do not need the ridiculous system where sixteen or seventeen fruit loop independents and minor parties all compete for the same seat.
5.3 Therefore independents should be kept out of the house of representative; allowing them, however, to compete in the senate, where they can actually do some good, by stopping either major party from controlling the senate. And therefore seeing that the senate acts as a watchdog as it was intended, but has rarely if ever functioned as.
5.3.1 To run for parliament at any level, a new party should have to produce a petition of fifty thousand (50,000) signatures of people stating they think this arty is a worthwhile addition to the Australian political scene.
5.3.2 Then to run for the House of Representatives, they should be able to compete as a big party.
5.3.3 However, to run in the senate should only have to field one or more candidates.
5.4 Ideally the house of representative should be the province of big parties (Liberal, Labor, etc.) and the senate should be the province entirely of the minor parties (greens, Nationals, Aussie Democrats) and independents.
5.4.1 An issue here is the Nationals. Outside of Queensland the National Country Party has never stood on its own two feet as a real party. It has always been just the poor man's branch of the Liberal Party.
5.4.2 It is time for the Liberal and National Parties to merge as one party. Or for the Nationals to be locked into the senate and out of the house of representative as a minor party. Which is all they have ever been outside of Queensland.
6) See III. THE PRIME MINISTER AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 7.1.1 above. Likewise, to prevent independents screwing up the House of Representatives I propose independents should be restricted to the senate and presidency. See 5.3 above.
7) Another issue that needs considering, is the fate of coalition parties. A. Pre-election coalitions, B. Post-election coalitions.
7.1 Should two parties be allowed to run as separate parties then form a post-election coalition? Morality would seem to say no. If they cannot win office separately, let them merge as one party or go out of existence.
7.2 Should two parties be allowed to run as separate parties, but announce pre-election that they will run as a coalition if they win? Possibly, but if so, the leaders of both parties must publicly announce the coalition during the run-up period to the election.
7.2.1 If two parties announce a coalition prior to an election, then one of them picks up a majority in its own right, the coalition should have to stand.
8) Under the current Australian political system we do not vote for the prime minister, deputy prime minister, our state premier or deputy premier, our lord mayor, or local mayor. We only vote for the ruling party. The ruling party then appoints their leader and deputy leader, who are automatically prime minister and deputy prime minister.
8.1 The Liberals don't seem to understand this basic system. When the ALP changed leaders and elected Joan Kirner as Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett continually disrupted state parliament crying, "You have no mandate to rule!" Of course she did! Under the Australian system the people do not vote for the prime minister, or state premiers, the ruling party appoints them.
8.1.1 Interestingly, when Liberal premier, John Fahey came to power in mid-term in New South Wales, the Liberals conveniently forgot their spiel of, "You weren't voted in as leader, so you don't have a mandate to rule."
8.1.2 At one stage Jeff Kennet even attempted to blackmail ALP ministers into resigning before an election, threatening to cut off their retirement perks if they lost the election then retired.
8.1.3 It is frightening to think a man who does not understand the first principal of Australian and Victorian politics went on to control Victoria with an iron fist for seven years!
8.2 This idea of not voting for the leaders (other than the president) might seem like a strange system, but it makes a lot more sense than the U.S. system. In the U.S.A. they vote for the president and vice president, but no one else in the lower house. The "ministers" are simply appointed by the president.
8.2.1 This led to the strange situation where no one in the general public voted for Gerald Ford when he became president.
8.2.2 They had voted for Nixon as president and Spiro Agn


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