July 08, 2013 | Graham

Greens push towards constitutional crisis

There was always a question mark over the way in which the Governor General appointed Kevin Rudd Prime Minister, but little discussion. Now, in stating that they may not support Rudd if he defers the election until October, the Greens have bolded and italicised that question mark.

Rudd governs with their support, but that support cannot be tested until the parliament sits, which will occur on Tuesday August, 20.

But what can they do then? If Rudd refuses to agree with them, they could withdraw their support and give it to Tony Abbott, on condition that he move immediately to an election. From the Greens point of view, that would seem bizarre.

And it ignores what the independents might do. Bob Katter has said he supports Rudd, but we do not know exactly where Wilkie, Oakeshott, Thompson, Slipper and Windsor would sit.

But what if Rudd decides to pre-empt the parliamentary sitting and approach the GG directly for a date of his choosing?

This is just another shambolic episode in the shambles that has become the Parliament of Australia, and could easily have been avoided.

Perhaps the coalition didn’t want to raise the spectre of 1975, but in my view, given the statements of a number of players, and the state of the parliament as hung, they should have been publicly raising the issue as to whether, and on what conditions, he had the support of the house, and when the election should be held, with a view to influencing public debate and the Governer-General.

Even if they didn’t the Governor-General should have asked some hard questions, not just of Rudd, but of the Greens and Independents, as well as the Opposition.

And a prudent GG would have commissioned Rudd on the basis that he went to parliament and sought the confidence of the house immediately, after canvassing issues, like this one, that were likely to arise.

None of this happened, and indeed the Solicitor General pressured the Governor-General from the government’s side, issuing a statement that there was no reason why she shouldn’t commission Rudd.

This at the same time as she has a personal conflict of interest, with Bill Shorten, the key player outside of Rudd and Gillard in all of this mess, being her son-in-law.

Which opens up the republican debate again I’m afraid. There does have to be a better way of appointing the head of state than the one we have now. And while the Republic has been off the agenda as far as the public is concerned for over 10 years, perhaps the Greens have found a unique way to put it back on.

And to think I thought I’d only see one 1975 in my life!


Posted by Graham at 1:34 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Graham,
    the GG sought advice from the Solicitor General prior to swearing Rudd in. His advice was to do as she has done. What you think she should have done is irrelevant.
    There are no constitutional issues here. move on.

    Comment by barney — July 9, 2013 @ 9:17 am

  2. Well the greens could withdraw their support if they so choose!
    However, that would likely be political Hari Kari.
    After all, the greens rely almost exclusively on labour preferences for their current numbers in the senate and their one seat in the lower house.
    Neither of the major parties have to preference them, and might even choose to preference each other, given they are politically closer to each other on most matters, (possible nuclear power and more dams) than the far left leaning greens.
    Think, but for the greens and green intransigence, we would now have an ETS and a regional solution for the boat people, and indeed, many lives saved as the very first consequence.
    It remains the PM’s prerogative when to call an election!
    If the greens believe they should withdraw their support at this extremely late stage, they can choose to do so; and indeed, reap the whirlwind of political harm that would surely follow!
    Moreover, they would need cross bench support to usher in any change, and that may not be forthcoming!
    I mean, none of the independents would support them, on the grounds, that improving the electoral prospects for the coalition, also harms them?
    And cross bench support for Labour at this stage, may well result critical major party preferencing in some seats?
    One can understand that the coalition now want to contest the election ASAP, given the poll trends, and will try and manipulate anyone they can, in order to achieve that outcome? But particularly the obdurate greens, who don’t seem too bright or politically astute?
    And labours prospects might even be improved if the preference any other party except the greens, or the tail that tries to wag the dog!
    In fact, in private conversations, Kevin Rudd and Labour might even dare them to withdraw their support, on the grounds that it simply wasn’t there, when it was needed or counted on!
    So much for the so called, “green Labour alliance”!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — July 9, 2013 @ 10:26 am

  3. I’ve taken you off the top of my list for constitutional advice after your last post Barney.

    Comment by Graham — July 10, 2013 @ 10:30 am

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