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The Forum > Article Comments > Prorogation:It won't stop the Rev Fred Nile > Comments

Prorogation:It won't stop the Rev Fred Nile : Comments

By David Flint, published 6/1/2011

Premier Kenneally can't deprive the parliamentary committee of its powers by proroguing parliament.

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The principle of the sovereignty of parliament is the foundation of a parliamentary democracy. Put simply, it is through their parliament that the people rule. It is a more important principle than that of the separation of powers. It was one of the major issues at stake in the English Civil War—it was given constitutional effect through the sacrifice of many lives.
It is a political principle—that is to say, a principle of applied ethics. As is the case with all such principles, it is possible to imagine exceptions. None of them apply in this case. It is an attempt to “manage” democracy. It is reprehensible
Australia has a long history of such attempts. The gerrymanders perpetuated for decades by the Liberal and Country Parties constituted one—largely successful. The ALP’s attempt to determine electorate size by their populations, not by the number of voters, was another. The Howard Government shortened the time available for new voters to enroll after the calling of writs for an election (a provision now overturned by the High Court). Attempts have been made to require voters to prove their identity before voting by producing their Medicare cards (which would also prevent many young people from voting). These are all at least as immoral as Keneally’s action; and in the case of the gerrymander and the Medicare card proposal, much worse. (Perhaps David Flint would like to comment.)
If Parliament had been dissolved, the Committee would have ceased to exist; and the group of MPs would not have the power to require the attendance of witnesses; nor would they be protected. But it has not been dissolved. The legal issues, which are not fully determined by the political principle, are whether the Committee still exists, and whether it has the power to institute its own inquiries.
Posted by ozbib, Thursday, 6 January 2011 8:46:10 AM
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