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Power of the Australian Senate

Uploaded by chalice on Dec 11, 2001

“The Senate has assumed a position of power and importance in the Australian Parliament System far beyond what was envisaged by the founding fathers in 1901”

The Senate is one of the two houses of the Australian Federal Parliament. It consists of 76 Senators, twelve from each of the six states and two from each of the mainland territories. It has virtually equal power to make laws with the other House of Parliament, the House of Representatives. Senators are elected by proportional representation, so that the Senate’s composition closely reflects the voting pattern of the electors. The Senate specifically protects the States and the People from abuse. Each State has equal representation, no matter what its population.

Time after time PM after PM has attempted to undermine the Power of the Senate and get control of it, and time after time the Constitution has foiled them. High Court after High Court has been raining down hammer blows on the States, favouring the Federal Government against the States, but the Courts have not broken the Federation. These activities are clearly acting against the intent of the Constitution, as well as the Will of the People, who have consistently voted in referenda against increasing Federal Power since Federation.

The Constitution was written with the idea of having an absent Sovereign, and for the express purpose of protecting the People and the States from the central government. The instruments the Founding Fathers chose to provide maximum protection for the People and the States were the Crown, the Senate, the High Court (with an Appeal to the Privy Council), and the Constitution.

The Senate that the Founding Fathers created was a stroke of genius, and is the strongest Upper House in the world. The Constitution created two Houses of Parliament that are equal in power but with significant differences. They have different electorates and electoral systems. The Upper House, the Senate, is half the size of the Lower House of Representatives. The Lower House was given no taxing powers at Federation but was expected to perform its functions on 1/4 of tariff collections!

When the Lower House was granted taxing powers the Senate was given the power to refuse taxation measures, thus preserving the equality of power between the two Houses. Capricious use of this power by the Senate immediately forces the Government to the People, who then decide in a free and fair election to...

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Uploaded by:   chalice

Date:   12/11/2001

Category:   Politics

Length:   6 pages (1,345 words)

Views:   1683

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