[EM] Stability WITHIN legislatures

Tom Round T.Round at mailbox.gu.edu.au
Wed Aug 25 22:10:58 PDT 1999

Yes, I definitely do agree with David on that! 

I should add, though, that after 1989 the incoming govt's reformist zeal
(for initiatives that would reduce the power of the largest party/
coalition over the legislature and of the Executive over both) cooled
markedly after 2-3 years in office. Having been in opposition for 32 years
and been kicked repeatedly and viciously for 20 years by a premier who saw
parliamentary politics as civil war by slightly-less-violent means, the ALP
team who were elected to govern Qld in Dec 1989 was torn between two
impulses: [a] a desire to exact revenge and [b] a desire to ensure such
abuses (which were linked with widespread police corruption) didn't happen
again. Over time the latter fell behind the former impulse.

An empirical index of this can be gleaned from counting the percentage of
recommendations in successive reports issued by the two refom bodies set up
after 1989-90 -- the Electoral & Administrative Review Commission and the
Criminal Justice Commission. In the earliest reports the list of
recommendations were adopted by the Govt almost in toto (including a
compromise two-zone voting system that the ALP itself was not overjoyed
about). By the end of EARC's time a few years later, they made fascinating
reading but otherwise gathered dust on the shelves.

At 01:29 PM 8/24/99 +1000, you wrote:
>It is not possible to discuss the effects of elections and
>legislative/executive organisation without some analysis of the realities
>of political behaviour - after all, there's no such thing as the perfect
>electoral system etc. for all situations, so we need to choose election
>methods etc. with the situation in mind.
>I'll say something with which I hope Tom Round will chime - assemblies
>should never be run by autocracy. Queensland during the Bjelke-Petersen
>years had no effective opposition, not just because the opposition was in
>disorder, but also because the standing orders of parliament were rigged
>against any input from the opposition. When Joh B-P was finally toppled,
>the parliament began a series of reforms which included - extensive
>committees (which are established by an Act, last I heard), question time,
>and a review of standing orders to lessen the impact of gagging and
>guillotining (spelling's awful, I know). The important fact is that these
>were all initiatives of successive governments and are based more or less
>on their good will and on public opinion (the essential ingredient?).
>On Mon, 23 Aug 1999 ECOLING at aol.com wrote:
>> with giving legislatures freedom to structure themselves however they will?
>> Meaning however some largest organized plurality wishes to do it?
>> That was the point of my original message.
>> I don't want to get sidetracked.
>> Lloyd Anderson
>> Ecological Linguistics
>PS what in the funk is ecological linguistics?

Tom Round
BA (Hons), LL.B (UQ)
Research Associate -- Key Centre for Ethics, 
	Law, Justice and Governance (KCELJAG)
(incorporating the National Institute for Law, Ethics and Public Affairs)
HUM[anities] Building, Room 1.10, Nathan Campus
Griffith University, Queensland [Australia] 4111
Ph:	07 3875 3817
Fax:	07 3875 6634
E-mail: 	T.Round at mailbox.gu.edu.au
Web:	http://www.gu.edu.au/centre/kceljag/

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