Re: Had enough of the UK
Originally Posted by JBR
Thanks for a very enlightening explanation.
If numbers in government and opposition are so close, and I assume this is not unusual, it must be difficult to pass laws quickly and efficiently. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing!
As I said most bills go through easily on the nod it is only contraversial bills that can have trouble but again most bills are improved by negotiations with the crossbench.
Originally Posted by JBR
I was somehow hoping that there might be three (or even more!) parties capable of becoming the majority in parliament. To be honest, I don't know how well that would work, though, because it occurs to me if one party was in power, the other two would be likely to unite to overcome anything they did! Perhaps a two-party system is the best way after all.
Incidentally, in the UK the Labour and Liberal parties are both left wing (Conservatives being right wing). Your two main parties - Labour and Liberal (and of course National) - sound to us to be left wing. Surely, one of them must be right wing?
Liberals like to characterise themselves as a broad church but they tend toward the right though not right enough for the extreme right like Tony Abbott (an ex PM) and some of his mates (could give you a list but it would mean nothing to you)
The Nationals come almost exclusively from the bush and represent the agricultural sector and tend toward the right.
Both major parties are fairly centralist but have left and right factions the Liberals tending toward the right, Labor toward the left. Speaking very generally
the Liberals stand for business and economic management (the latter is debatable) while Labor stands for social justice, health and education.
In the lower house the government normally has a workable majority - before the last election the Coalition had a majority of about 17 but needed to persuade 6 cross benchers (from memory) to get controversial legislation through the Senate. Calling a double dissolution was an attempt to break the power of the cross bench in the Senate which backfired badly.
The cross bench ranges from the extreme right (One Nation, Australian Conservatives) to the Right (Bob Katter's Party) to the centralists and left (Greens) so any government has part of the cross bench on side automatically.
I think most Australians like the way the Senate works in practice as a brake on extremism.
BTW the Lower house is 150 members the Senate about 75 (I forget exactly but that is about right)