In terms of world politics, whether or not the government of Victoria can get its legislative program through Parliament is hardly of momentous importance. But its difficulties this week illustrate some quite deep issues about how parliamentary government works.
A quick recap: the Liberal-National government in Victoria has 44 seats in the Legislative Assembly and its Labor opposition has 43. But since the speaker — Christine Fyffe, a Liberal, who took up the position on Tuesday — has only a casting vote and not a deliberative vote, the numbers on the floor are 43-all. The remaining seat is held by Geoff Shaw, originally elected as a Liberal but now a troublesome independent.