Federal Election day brought with it the promise of a return to a normal, functioning Parliament. Few predicted the current situation we find ourselves in, with the caretaker convention being put though the ultimate pressure test.
As I have discussed in earlier reports, the caretaker convention acknowledges that because the Parliament has been dissolved for the election, the Executive arm of government cannot be held accountable for its decisions in the same way. During this time the ordinary business of government continues, but the government must not act to bind an incoming government. This means that the government avoids making major policy decisions, significant appointments, or major contracts - unless it consults with the Opposition beforehand.
Therefore, with the election giving no party a majority of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, the caretaker period will continue until a new minority government can be formed with some combination of independent and minor party members.
We have a clearer outcome in the Senate, with the half-Senate election last weekend likely to result in an upper house where nine Greens Senators hold the balance of power. Senators serve their six-year terms from 1 July, so the current Greens-Independent-Family First balance of power situation will continue through until 30 June 2011.
We await the formation of the next government, however constituted, to continue the task of advocating the real issues for Members and making the case for a better tax system.
Please see below for details of other activities this week.
Robert Jeremenko FTIA