Monday 5 December 2016

That Brexit vote

seems to be causing more problems again. The three judges who ruled that the matter had to go before parliament were apparently vilified in the press. Now all eleven judges will potentially put themselves in the same position.
The judgment should be unanimous. It should say that the matter has to be put before parliament. 
Yes, yes I know that there was a referendum and I know that a majority of people who voted in the referendum voted "leave" but the referendum result was not binding. The matter still has to go before parliament or, quite simply, why does any country which calls itself a democracy bother to have a parliament.
Referenda are a difficult thing here in Downunder. They are notoriously difficult to get up. They require two hurdles. They require (a) a majority of the people and (b) a majority of the states. One without the other does not work. If however there is a majority of people in a majority of the states then the government must act in accordance with the wishes of the people.  It is how changes are made to the Downunder Constitution.
A "plebiscite" is different. It is intended to seek out what the majority view is and act upon that.  The Brexit vote in the UK was similar to a plebiscite here. It differed in the sense that there is no compulsory attendance at the ballot box there. The vote was not intended to be something that overrode the role of the elected parliament.
I am sure the newspaper staff who decided to make a fuss knew that. They knew full well that the judges were doing their job and doing it well. It was a way of making news, nothing more and nothing less. 
The government there has appealed because it knows it must. I suspect however that the government will also breathe a sigh of relief when the court decides that parliament must be consulted. 
It's how we are governed. 

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