Feb 7, 2014

Constitutional crisis in Victoria? Shaw, Napthine and possible scenarios

The Victorian government is hanging by a thread as independent Geoff Shaw threatens to block supply. So how might this play out? And can Denis Napthine survive until the election?

Charles Richardson — Editor of The World is not Enough

Charles Richardson

Editor of The World is not Enough

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.

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4 thoughts on “Constitutional crisis in Victoria? Shaw, Napthine and possible scenarios

  1. aliso6

    Buy him off, indeed! That is all the Libs have done so far – and then they blame Labor for the whole debacle!

  2. Jimmyhaz

    This is how parliaments should work, with a mix of minor parties with separate agendas coming together to govern for the benefit of all their constituents, even if they do have conflicting ideas for how it should be run.

    Australia and the US are the only two countries where any rule other than an overwhelming majority by a single party is seen as chaotic disorder, other countries merely see it as part of the democratic process, and still manage to govern very effectively.

  3. johnb78

    You’re out of date re the UK system – following the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, it is now in exactly the same position as the Victorian assembly.

  4. Charles Richardson

    Yes and no, John. It’s not quite the same position as Victoria, because the UK legislation is just an ordinary act of parliament, which could be repealed in the ordinary way, rather than entrenched as a constitutional provision. But otherwise you’re quite right, I was talking about the traditional British position rather than the current one – my mistake.

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