Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: On the Force of Arms

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  • Graeme Edgeler,


    Surprised that you didn't mention the Whitlam Govt in Australia

    I was trying to focus on situations where I think the intervention of the Governor-General would, almost inarguably, be justified. I could come up with any number of examples where the Governor-General either shouldn't, or perhaps shouldn't, intervene. You might agree with the Whitlam act, but I don't think it's on the level of abolishing Parliament :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    The Whitlam Incident should alone be enough reason to seriously look at reforming or replacing the current system, or so I believe.

    I wonder if the Herald's Should We Become A Republic series will bring it up? Speaking of which, what do we think about that?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I'd assume that any government that was trying to mount a constitutional coup would start by putting the Governor-Generalship in a "safe" pair of hands.

    Just to focus on the signing of legislation, there is a long list of constitutional changes that have been passed by a simple parliamentary majority over substantial opposition: womens suffrage and the abolition of the country quota for two.

    Would a Parliament Act that enabled legislation to enter effect on Third Reading (e.g. removing the arguably obsolete Royal Assent) justify a refusal of assent?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Lewis Holden,

    It's true a republican head of state could be appointed, but they will more than likely be elected either by Parliament or directly (these are the two models proposed by Keith Locke's Bill). That automatically implies more independence from the Prime Minister than is the case under the status quo; which means the examples Graeme gives vis the G-G using there powers are more likely to come to fruition with an elected President than an appointed GG.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    In theory a parliamentary super majority appointed President (in the context of NZ that is) should offer the highest probability of preserving the current character of the NZ system. However I can't think of any contemporary comparisons with which to test this assumption out. Anyone care to point some out?

    Besides, I suspect the NZ electorate would probably prefer an elected President, like Australia did, if given the chance to vote on it. If that is indeed likely then we perhaps should just go the whole hog and have a much wider ranging reform.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • Lewis Holden,

    Israel's parliament, which is largely based on Westminster traditions, elects the Israeli president by a 2/3rds majority, as does Turkey and Iraq. Italy requires a 2/3rds majority for the first round, but a simple majority can be accepted for the last.

    I'm not so sure direct election erodes parliamentary traditions so greatly that it would require "wider ranging reform". Iceland, Ireland and Austria both have strong parliamentary traditions, but directly elect their Presidents. In all three cases the states used to be monarchies.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 21 posts Report Reply

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