Monday, 24 July 2017

Fixed terms in parliament

are naturally loved by politicians - especially when they are in power.
The subject was raised again over the weekend. The leader of the Labor party talked about it and was backed by the leader of the Coalition.
We have a fixed term for the state government. It is said that this brings about "certainty", that the government can "get on with the job". 
The proposed four year term would, it is said, allow governments to implement new policies and see them actually work. It would, we are told, make for radical changes to the way we are governed - all changes for the good of course.
Our state government did not win the last election. It obtained a majority of the seats but that is not the same thing. The electoral boundaries were such that they managed to retain them without getting a majority of the votes. The electoral boundaries have changed. This household is now in a new electorate - represented by a member of the current government. She  could be voted in for  yet another fixed term even though we have heard very little of her.
Our state government is also looking rather tired. It has been in power a very long time. It has made some major blunders. It should have been ousted more than once. If there had not been a fixed term for parliament there would have been at least three occasions on which we could have gone to the polls...and should have gone.
The problem with fixed terms is that, while good governments can stay in power, bad governments can stay in power too. They can go  on being lazy right up until close to the time of an election . They can do harm and there is no means of getting rid of them. 
Parliament has to be answerable to the people. Fixed terms don't allow that and all the arguments in their favour do not, cannot and should not over ride the will of the people. 

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