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Our New Prime Minister: Was It Constitutional?

Turnbull, Abbott, Rudd, Gillard, Rudd – How many times does Prime Minister appear in the Australian Constitution? ZERO –that is absolutely correct. The Governor-General scores 90 mentions and the Queen scores 21. Since 3 December 2007 Australia has had the following Prime Ministers: Kevin Rudd (twice); Julia Gillard; Tony Abbott; Malcolm Turnbull. Now whatever your […]

Our New Prime Minister: Was It Constitutional?

Our New Prime Minister: Was It Constitutional?

By Aylward Game - Sep 17, 2015 Articles, Social Media
Turnbull, Abbott, Rudd, Gillard, Rudd – How many times does Prime Minister appear in the Australian Constitution?

ZERO –that is absolutely correct.

The Governor-General scores 90 mentions and the Queen scores 21.

Since 3 December 2007 Australia has had the following Prime Ministers:

  • Kevin Rudd (twice);
  • Julia Gillard;
  • Tony Abbott;
  • Malcolm Turnbull.

Now whatever your polit  ical standpoint may be… whether you have still not recovered from the demise of the USSR or waiting for Donald Trump to be the next US President – people are generally outraged at the revolving door of our national leader and why not?

Our roving Special Counsel was in a sullen mood on 15 September 2015. He was nursing a craft beer at one of Brisbane’s more fashionable waterholes when a robust discussion erupted between a group of young professionals nearby about the change of PM from Abbott to Turnbull. They exclaimed:

  • It was done without reference to the people of Australia;
  • It is a disgrace;
  • It is unconstitutional!!

It is the term “unconstitutional” that really piqued our Special Counsel’s interest. Without finishing his craft beer he dashed home, ignored the beautiful young lady there (well she was his ex-wife) and immediately buried himself deep in the Constitution. (You may think this a tad sad, but only recently he has stopped regaling the office with the time honoured fusion fallacy debate – about whether equity and the law are fused or merely confused. He is a good guy to have at a party).

Anyway, the Prime Minister is not mentioned once in our Constitution, and therefore there is nothing unconstitutional about changing PM’s at all.

Two other things that may surprise you about the Australian Constitution are:

  1. Provision is made for New Zealand to join Australia as a State see “Definitions” preamble Now this would be unconstitutional – what would happen to the All Blacks?;
  2. The Governor-General literally ‘calls the shots’ in relation to Australia’s Armed forces. He or she is the Commander-in-Chief. See section 68.

Imagine if Sir John Kerr had deployed his section 68 powers in the 1975 Constitutional Crisis? Food for thought!!

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