Attorney-General George Brandis, speaking on Q&A to host Tony Jones and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek.
When Attorney-General George Brandis was asked on Q&A about a parliamentary vote on the decision to go to war, he said that was not part of the Westminster tradition. Is that right?
In many important areas of Australia’s system of government, much is determined by unwritten rules – or what we call ‘constitutional conventions’.
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Australia’s Constitution sets the ground rules for its system of government. But many things one might expect to be in the Constitution are simply not there.
Australia’s public service has gradually become more politicised in recent times.
The public service is meant to be independent and bipartisan. But "political" appointments and funding arrangements can hamstring their ability to give fair and frank advice.
Australia’s current military involvement in the Middle East has not been properly scrutinised by parliament.
Across the world, debates have emerged around the extent to which the legislative branch should be involved in – and even have the final say on – authorisation of military deployment.
Australia still follows Westminster in allowing key principles of democratic accountability to operate according to convention.
Political conventions may be challenged and redefined by every new government, but it is their role in promoting political accountability that ensures the health of our democracy.
In touch with the people?
The upper house has humiliated the government, and now there'll be hell to pay – or will there?
It seems to be an extremely difficult task for a party leader, even as prime minister, to stamp their authority on the party.
Since 2007 Australia has not really had prime ministers of sufficient calibre. Instead, we have had an incessant struggle for power by those who believed they had the goods.
Barnaby Joyce has been outspoken in opposition to a government decision to build a coal mine in his electorate of New England.
Collective responsibility – or cabinet solidarity – is an axiom of political prudence that has mutated into a constitutional convention of how ministers should behave.
Ed Miliband’s recent proposal to hold regular Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) with members of the public was met with derision from some commentators. In typical critical fashion, Telegraph blogger Dan…
The voluntary release of the former Rudd government’s cabinet documents in relation to the home insulation scheme risks undermining cabinet confidentiality, and is a dangerous precedent.
It was revealed last week that prime minister Tony Abbott personally authorised the disclosure of the former Labor government’s cabinet papers in response to a summons by the royal commission into the…
By releasing the previous government’s cabinet proceedings for examination, Tony Abbott has exposed his cabinet to the risk that their successors will do the same to them.
A long-standing principle in Australian politics, one derived from Westminster and British experience over hundreds of years, is that incoming governments do not use the confidential discussions of cabinet…
Do Kevin Rudd’s proposed reforms to the ALP expose the failings of Australia’s Westminster system of government?
Prime minister Kevin Rudd’s proposal to prevent the ALP caucus from deposing a sitting prime minister has raised the hoary issue of the Westminster system. The dominant view among pundits is that under…