The Small Change Of Government


A note for my North American, South Canadian, and French readers:

Here in Australia we have just changed our Prime Minister. As he was not our head of state (who still is accounted to be the Governor General…who reigns, but only in small showers… as the vicar of the Queen of England* ), the removal did not require any revolting or head chopping. This may have been a disappointment to the ardent supporters of the party in opposition, but the Westminster system allows for it. It is the parliamentary version of the pea and shell game, except we never really get to choose which shell has the pea.

As Australians we get elections that are free and fair – every four years or so. Very little cheating occurs in Australia, though there have been occasions of remarkable bungling. Votes have been lost by…losing the votes. Literally losing the ballot papers. We had to have a by-election on one of these occasions but as the local Parents And Citizens group always has a cake stall at the polling booth I look upon it as an occasion for baked goods. If they had a coffee fountain I would stay and keep on voting for a week.

The expelled Prime Minister was unpopular with a great deal of the country and eventually with a great many of his party colleagues. We was not a bad man but people who wished to elect the opposition party painted him as such. They will be readying the tar brushes for his replacement, and already the Facebook keyboards are running warm with their jeers.

I never thought the man as black as he was painted – indeed I never suspected him of any criminal activity – just of being the Prime Minister when others wanted a different party in power. I am neutral about the replacement as such but I do think that the Westminster model that allows it to happen without general consultation ( ie. an election) is wrong. Wrong – or less of a good idea than direct election of the head of a government. The question of a head of state being different from the elected head of government is an odd one – perhaps that will one day be addressed by a republican decision by the electors. I cannot imagine a revolution here in Australia despite some of the citizens being truly revolting.

  • Know what I mean, eh?

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