At the moment I'm reading the chapter on parliament (ch. 4) to see what he says about the constraints on power of the executive that would ease the domination of parliament by the executive.
Craven says is the most despised institution in Australia, putting aside taxation and some football clubs. He observes:
"...the issues of behaviour is one of the most important in attacks made on modern Australian parliaments. Average Australians are largely uninterested in sophisticated critiques of parliament as a democratic vessel. They are, however, quite capable of observing that parliament on television looks like a brawl in a brothel, and resenting the fact that they are funding it. Whereas professors worry that parliament is failing its democratic mission, punters are are more often irritated that it seems full of adolescent idiots." (p.93)
Craven partly undermines this public picture of parliament as the Constitutional lout then moves onto other critiques, such as the domination of the executive. this is of more interest, as this is the situation we are now entering into in Australia and the US.
Craven acknowledges the problem in relation to Government patronage for the backbench. a well tempered parlaiment through controlling the Speaker and the capacity to control an under resourced opposition.
So what constrains this executive domination?
Craven mentions several constraints on the power of the executive.
1. The different views in the party room of the government. But this does not lead to dissent. Howard controls the party room with an iron fist.
2. The role of the upper house and the balance of power of the minor parties. This will have gone after June 2005.
3. The cooperative fashion in the way parliament works in relation to legislation.That is still there.
4. The indepepdent role of the parliamentary committees especially in the Senate. But the Government controls the Senate.
5. The germ of menace in Question time in the House.
6. The public allegations made by the opposition that without fear of leqal recrimination. The Government just stands firm, toughs it out and gets away with it.
7. The ravens of the press unearthing a corpse or some smelly horror.They dfailed badly on the Tampa affair.
There Craven leaves it, without mentioning the judiciary dealing with bad law passed by the executive controlling the Senate. I find the account rather complacent.Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at November 22, 2004 09:46 AM | TrackBack