* Representative and responsiable government
1. Representative Government
* Our democratic system allows people over the age of 18 to vote for who they want to represent them in parliament * A representative government represents the views, values, concerns and demands of the people. * If the government does not effectively represent the peoples wishes or perform to the peoples satisfaction, they can dismiss the government at the next election * In a representative government the people have the power over the government by putting pressure on the government to change laws * For example: Mandatory reporting of child abuse, uniform gun laws and the 40km speed zones near schools * The principal of representative government is established in the Constitution * S7 states that “The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State”. * S24 states that “The House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth”. * The bicameral system contributes towards a more representative government because the lower house reflects the will of the people 2. Responsible Government
* Refers to the government’s responsibility to the voters * A democratically elected government must be answerable and accountable to the people for their actions * Ministers are drawn from within the government and they must maintain the confidence of the government * The Senate is able to scrutinise bills before they are passed and become law. This helps the government in being accountable to the people * The principles of a responsible government are:
* Ministerial accountability, which means that ministers are responsible to parliament and therefore the people – a minster can be called upon to explain in parliament his or her actions and those of the department and agencies under his or her control * Members of parliament have the opportunity to question minsters about their activities and the activities of their department * Minsters must carry out their duties with integrity and propriety or resign * There are opportunities for public scrutiny of the law-making process so the public can hold the government accountable for its actions; the government must respond to concerns of the parliament and the people and must answer questions where appropriate – a record of parliamentary proceedings is kept in Hansard which is available to the public and the public can view parliament in operation * If the government lose the support of the lower house it must resign, hence the government is responsible to parliament. The parliament in turn is responsible to the people.
* The Separation of Power
* The Commonwealth Constitution separates powers between the three branches of government – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. * The legislature:
* Given the general power to legislation by debate, consideration and amendments of bills that must be passed through both house of parliament * S1 (Chapter 1 – part one -- General). – Provides that the legislative power is exercised by the parliament: “The legislative power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Federal Parliament, which shall consist of the Queen, a Senate, and a House of Representatives, and which is herein-after called "The Parliament," or "The Parliament of the Commonwealth.” * The Executive:
* Allowed the power to administer the laws and manage the business of government * S61(Chapter 2 -- The Executive Government). – Provides that the executive power is exercised by the Crown (the governor-general): “The executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen's representative, and extends to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, and of the laws of the Commonwealth.” * The Judiciary:
* Has the role to settle...