Articles on Parliament

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Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron outside Number 10 Downing Street, where he’ll be able to remain should there be a hung parliament. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

If the UK parliament is hung again, Cameron can squat at Number 10

Britain looks set for another hung parliament after the May 7 election – a prospect that gets people surprisingly muddled. Australia could teach Britain's leaders a lesson in caretaker governments.
The Abbott government’s expedited passage of national security laws in 2014 demonstrated an underlying disrespect for the legislative process. AAP/Nikki Short

‘Good government’ gets lost in the pursuit of national security

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made two key pledges in recent weeks – to begin “good government” and to no longer give “the benefit of doubt” to people suspected of planning terrorist activities in Australia…
Queensland Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Sunday that she’s ‘optimistic’ of forming a majority government, but it may be days before that’s clear. AAP/Dan Peled

What’s next for Queensland if there’s a hung parliament?

While counting continues in the Queensland election, one possibility is a hung parliament with neither major party holding a majority. Prior to the election, both party leaders indicated that they would…
Separating power is not so easy. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

People must remain engaged in debate over future of Britain

The vote, in the end, was decisive, with the Better Together campaign winning with 55% of ballots cast. As a Glaswegian living in Southampton, I’ve watched from afar, saddened not to be in my home nation…
Australian Federal Police officers outside Parliament House in Canberra today. The AFP is set to take over Parliament House security after ‘chatter’ about a possible terrorist attack. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Parliament ramps up security, only months after scaling it back

Liberal senator Bill Heffernan has had the last laugh on the serious question of security at Australia’s Parliament. Earlier this year, security was slackened in a bid to save A$400,000. MPs’ staff and…
Speaker Bercow is in a pickle over his choice of clerk. PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

House of Commons clerk spat is more important than you think

As the Chief Officer of the House of Commons, the speaker is well used to being in the spotlight. But in recent weeks, John Bercow has dominated the airwaves more than at any point since his election in…
Couple risk getting caught by the tide. Vicki & Chuck Rogers

Common-law marriage myth highlights desperate need for reform

Your common-law wife and husband do not exist. Next month will see the latest stage in the latest attempt to improve the legal standing for people that live together but choose not to marry. With nearly…
Environment minister Greg Hunt and prime minister Tiny Abbott are keen to repeal the carbon tax as soon as parliament sits - but it may prove harder than they thought. AAP/Alan Porritt

Carbon tax showdown: the rocky road ahead for Abbott

The Coalition will introduce its draft bill to repeal the Clean Energy Act into parliament next week. The bill would effectively remove the current carbon tax and its planned replacement, an emissions…
The PUP bloc will only be able to act on issues the major parties disagree on. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Why Palmer’s pups are unlikely to block the Senate

If you believe the recent media reports about the composition of the Senate from July 1 next year, you’d think we were facing three years of the Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party (PUP) “bloc” holding…
What is life like inside the office of MPs who hold the balance of power, such as retiring independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor? AAP/Alan Porritt

The retiring independents: looking inside the ‘balance of power’

With the end of each parliament there inevitably comes a series of announcements that particular parliamentarians will not be contesting the next election. Usually, these decisions are justified by the…
The federal government has suspended debate on a number of bills in the final parliamentary sitting week before the election. AAP/Lukas Coch

Is the government gagging the referendum debate?

The federal government has announced that it will gag debate on 53 bills in the Senate next week. One of them, the proposed constitutional amendment on the recognition of local government, is to be limited…
Opposition leader Tony Abbott plans to move a motion of no confidence in the government - but he faces constitutional and conventional hurdles in his attempts to hold an early election. AAP/Lukas Coch

Would a no confidence vote in Julia Gillard create even more confusion in Canberra?

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has confirmed he plans to move a motion of no confidence against Julia Gillard’s government in the next two parliamentary sitting weeks. But in the event a no confidence motion…
Foreign minister Bob Carr is the highest profile of the six current senators appointed after a vacancy, rather than elected by the public. AAP/Dean Lewins

Unelected ‘swill’: how Australia’s upper houses could be more democratic

A casual vacancy in the Victorian Legislative Council has now been filled. The replacement member for the Western Metropolitan Region in the upper house, union official Cesar Melhem, enters Victorian parliament…
Malcolm Turnbull calls time on Question Time. (AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Question Time: don’t change the contest we want to watch

Malcolm Turnbull’s call to change Question Time is admirable. He has proposed looking to the British system, where the Prime Minister is only required to answer questions one day a week, giving other ministers…
Interns are a key feature of the modern workplace. flickr/Drew Leavy

Internships and real world politics

The Education Office of the Western Australian State Parliament introduces students to the “real world” of politics and policy making though an internship program. The parliamentary internship looks a…
Crossbenchers Tony Windsor and Rob Oakleshott arrive at a press conference on asylum seekers. AAP/Alan Porrit

Integrity for all: who is keeping the crossbenchers honest?

It is fair to say that, in the eyes of the Australian public at least, the view of our politicians is currently at a very low ebb. The tone of the Australian Parliament is at its most toxic for a generation…

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