New Matilda piece on Turnbull’s shadow Cabinet

Malcolm Turnbull’s new shadow cabinet drew a lot of attention and comment.  I’ve written something about it in this piece over at New Matilda. I often feel having to rely solely on people in parliament to constitute a Ministry makes for a very shallow talent pool. There are 45 positions in the full shadow ministry, which has to be drawn from amongst the 101 federal Coalition MPs.  It would be a huge cultural shift for Australia to move towards the US system where Cabinet can be drawn from people with expertise in the wider population (and impossible to do without amending the Constitution), but I do think that approach has a lot of merit.

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  1. As long as the ministers were rotated around every three months you don’t have to change the constitution :-)

    “64. The Governor-General may appoint officers to administer such departments of State of the Commonwealth as the Governor-General in Council may establish.

    Such officers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor-General. They shall be members of the Federal Executive Council, and shall be the Queen’s Ministers of State for the Commonwealth.

    After the first general election no Minister of State shall hold office for a longer period than three months unless he is or becomes a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.”

    Perhaps they could be made non-voting members of parliament? Is there anything prohibiting that? Is there anything much of anything in the constitution? No, not really.

    So perhaps changing the constitution is the best approach.

  2. No way Andrew! I never want to go down the path of America. What did their so-called ‘democracy’ bring to the rest of the world? Donald Rumsfeld, Condaleeza Rice, Paul Bremmer?No thank you!

    I think all those in the Parliament should be elected by the people in order to have the democratic right to remove them.Imagine the Parliament full of even more ‘Howardites’ for example?Those who were elected were bad enough – they threw our democracy back in our faces; insulted the processes by gagging debates, introducing draconian legislation without due discussion or debate. No thanks! Perhaps have revue committees, or why not take a leaf out of Sweden and others- go back to the communities to discuss and decide on policies etc.Venezuela did it with their first Constitution after Hugo Chavez was elected, and they’re going to add to it at this time. Community radio plays a major role too!We could do it on a local govt basis for example. Not on every little thing, but the larger ones, like paid maternity/paternity leave; including indigenous people in the Constitution; Child Care etc.Public/Private Education.

    I don’t believe that true democracy flourishes, when the govt is elected, and can then introduce whatever they like, asserting a mandate, when the people were never asked. Privatisation of electricity in NSW is a good example. Imagine having Iemma and Costa’s mates in the Electricity Industry being able to have the final say. (they’ve both gone,thank goodness).It’s an insult to the electorate for anyone to assume, that,with the information put before us, we are not able to discuss, argue and make good decisions. WorkChoices in the Howard govt. People like Peter Hendy had too much influence – not elected by us! Foisted upon us by a dictatorial govt?
    They need to attract better people to join (parties)or have more independents?

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