Comrade Campbell to lose and launch coup?

From Crikey:

Barring a last-minute turnaround, it looks likely that Campbell Newman will lose his inner-city Brisbane seat of Ashgrove. However, as our very own William Bowe has predicted, his party looks set to win the election. And theoretically, that means he could remain premier of Queensland.

A column in The Conversation by constitutional lawyer and Sydney University professor of constitutional law Anne Twomey has quickly made a splash after suggesting there was no legal reason Newman could not continue as premier. The argument goes like this: calling an election doesn’t mean the position of premier is vacant. Leaders continue to lead through an election and sometimes after, if the result is uncertain. And only a change in government necessitates a new premier. If the LNP wants to keep Newman, there’s no reason it couldn’t, even if he were no longer in Parliament. South Australia and Victoria have provisions indicating an office bearer cannot hold office for more than three months without a seat in Parliament, but Queensland has no such provisions, despite attempts by former premier Peter Beattie to bring them in in 2005. So if Newman can keep his party room on side, he could theoretically continue to be premier for the whole of the next term, despite losing his seat.

Twomey has support for her interpretation. Speaking on ABC Brisbane local radio yesterday,former lecturer in constitutional law at the Queensland University of Technology John Pyke said that was his understanding as well. Laureate Professor Cheryl Saunders, of the Melbourne Law chool, also agrees. “Anne Twomey’s views are right,” she told Crikey, although noting it would be odd for a person who had lost his or her seat to hang on to office in the absence of some explicit constitutional authority for this.

Houses and Holes
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  1. Wow. How about that. Im thinking if that does happen it will just be like a big middle finger extended to the electorate. Does this not also mean that they can vote for any random stranger off the street to be premier ?

  2. I wonder if there is also a basis for paying him as Premier if he is not a sitting member? Fascinating.

  3. I’m sure that will go down a treat with the voters.

    I still wouldn’t rule out a hung parliament or maybe even a Labor win. A double digit swing against LNP is a real possibility up here.

    • Yup, they’d be better off limping along with Premier Seeney, Premier Springborg, Premier whoever…

      Voters do not appreciate being treated a electoral playthings by the party overlords.

      • Libs will get back in all be it with a much reduced majority. Reckon the Libs would have to be crazy to appoint Newman as Premier when he doesn’t have a seat – that’s a big ‘fuck you’ to the electorate and will end in disaster. We’ll be looking at a new Premier of QLD come Monday.

  4. Unless a specific provision has been written into the relevant constitution there has never been any requirement under the Westminster system for a Minister of the Crown to be a member of Parliament.

    Since the development of the concept of “Prime” Minister under Walpole they have, however, all been drawn from either the Commons or the Lords.

    The “convention” that Ministers – and especially Prime Ministers – be drawn from the Parliament reflects the realpolitik that Parliament:

    a) is full of of ambitious megalomaniacs who have competed to be there precisely because they value the exercise of power; and

    b) Parliament – through its control of supply (money) – has the de facto power to force the nominal head of state (monarch or governor) into appointing whomever it wants as a Minister.

    The combination of these two factors means that Parliament will tend to appoint one of its own megalomaniacal members to the position.

    It is interesting to observe that the last Prime Minister of Britain to come from the Lords was Lord Salisbury who retired in 1902.

    Just 9 years later the Parliament Act 1911 removed the power of the Lords to veto money bills, thereby giving the Commons politicians a monopoly on power.

    Thereafter, the Commons have always appointed one of their own to the top job.

    It is also of interest to note that in response to the budget crisis of 1910/11, the Lords themselves had actually proposed a limited form of Democracy: that disputes between the two Houses would be put to the People in a referendum.

    Needless to say, this partially democratic alternative was anathema to the Commons politicians who sought nothing short of a monopoly on power. In the election of December 1910 the People were permitted to vote only for politicians and not for a provisions which might have seen the beginnings of a British Democracy.

    • There is no upper house in Qld, so that option is out.

      It’s not possible for a party parliamentary leader to not hold a seat, although the party leader may not.

  5. I don’t think the electorate would dig it.

    Federal Lib have discovered that declaring that you have a mandate – doesn’t mean you have a mandate. I mean – they believed they had a mandate for their policies given they won the election, won, they believed – on their own merits. But they should have paid attention to the state of the labor party and the fact that they won government with the least popular wining leader in history.

    Fed Lib have implemented key elements of their mandate – and the electorate clearly doesn’t approve. Hence, I’d contend, they didn’t have the mandate for their policies.

    So we now have the Qld libs saying:
    – well you elected us with Campbell Newman as leader – he got voted out – but we’re going to ignore that and install him as leader – because we have a mandate …

    The question is whether the rest of Qld say bugger off Ashgrove – we want Campbell and let them get away with it or whether the populace will resent an un-elected leader

    The other aspect is whether it’s even smart – a swing as large as is expected – is hardly an endorsement of Newman’s performance – in fact, it’s almost a loss and almost a loss from one of the strongest leads in history ….

    If he’d increased seats – but lost his own – that might be difference – but really – is his leadership so brilliant that he is worth the risk of a voter backlash?

    • It’s quite remarkable that politicians declare that they have a mandate when the policies that they have before the election are the opposite to what they say they have a mandate for after the election. Both Newman and Abbott have made that mistake.

      But as someone said yesterday, (either here or on another blog that I read) “Australians don’t do one term governments”. That is how Howard got through the GST and it is how the LNP in Queensland will get through the asset leases.

  6. SO, let’s get this clear; the man would lose an election and not be able to sit in any Parliament.. but somehow he would still be Premier?

    Australian politics has reached a new level of sick now, surely. Kleptocratic dictatorships by the criminally insane.

    Would Strayans stand for this???

    Surely were not so retarded as to think this is a good thing?

    (I’m borderline on that)

  7. What they don’t say is that this provision was put in by the dopes in the ALP in drawing up the constitution in 2001. Just another legacy of the incompetent Beattie govt. Or was it deliberate?

  8. We need a form of government that is largely administrative

    No power, no cachet to be in office except true public service

    No Comcars, no crazy super.