Friday, 20 January 2012

There are shortly going to be

two by-elections in this state. Both of them are for the state parliament. Both of them are unnecessary.
One is for the seat of the former Premier. The other is for the seat of the former Deputy Premier. Neither member is ill or incapacitated. They have not been convicted of any offence. There is no other good reason for them not to see out their full term. Both members have simply decided to leave. Their ruling party can afford to let them go. The seats will not go to the opposition and, even if they did, the government could remain in office.
When someone stands for parliament they sign a declaration that they will, if elected, take up the seat. They are not required to remain in office. They can leave without good cause.
If it not going to shift the balance of power in parliament the major parties have never been too concerned about this.
People cannot be left "unrepresented" so by-elections must be held. By-elections are expensive, even more so under a system which has compulsory attendance at the ballot-box.
The former Deputy-Premier had a chequered political career and personal life. He has been portrayed in the media as a lout and a bully. He was involved in a number of law suits. Nevertheless he was elected to do a job and his resignation is a breach of contract.
The same can be said of the Premier. He was definitely "on the nose" and he was removed in what amounted to a coup because the opinion polls showed the government's popularity was at an all time low and, oh yes, the new man in the job did provide a bounce in the opinion polls.
Nevertheless, like the Deputy Premier, the Premier was elected to represent his electorate. Both of them can continue to do that job from the back benches.
Of course it is not easy for the new Premier and Deputy-Premier to do their jobs with their former leaders still there - but who said being in government was easy. Of course it is humiliating to no longer be the Premier or Deputy-Premier but they were not elected to do that job.
The cost of just one by-election would keep a country hospital open for some years. All South Australians are aware of one particular hospital that needs funds to remain open.
We are almost certainly going to lose our AAA credit rating too. The government also wants to put money into "saving" the car industry - at least until after the next federal and state election.
Despite that we are having two unnecessary by-elections.
Perhaps it is time to tell politicians who leave without good cause they will need to pay for the by-election. They need to stay and do their job.
It might just stop the rest of us having to pay for their breach of contract.


Sheep Rustler said...

Agree! Once someone is elected they should stay put until the next election unless in the sort of circumstances you mentioned such as sickness or severely inappropriate activity. It is such a waste of money and displeases everyone involved. It is much preferable, if necessary, to flag their intention of not recontesting the seat at the next election. A politican's primary purpose should ALWAYS be to serve their own electorate first.

Anonymous said...

While I will be glad to see them both go I have to agree with you. They should have been required to stay. Imagine if the rest of us just walked because we were demoted! Chris