November 9th, 2007


Balance of power

One thing I think is important in government is oversight. Without oversight, power can be abused more easily and bad decisions made more readily. Before the month is out, I hope to write about some recent legislation that removed oversight of law enforcement agencies. In this post, however, let's look at the balance of power.

I remember years ago thinking that it's an odd thing, balance of power; there always seems to be one or two candidates or parties able to block decisions.

The alternatives are not that appealing, though. We currently have a situation where one party has a majority in both houses and can pass almost anything. It's also a problem if the opposition has a majority in the senate and can block everything just out of spite.

So, after the election is done, who will hold the balance of power? Who will be responsible for oversight of legislative changes in Australia?

I can't say that the options are all that appealing. It looks like the Democrats are going the way of their founder, Don Chipp. With Natasha Stott Despoja and Andrew Murray leaving, they're pinning their hopes on two returning candidates plus Don's daughter Laura Chipp (one electorate up the road from here). That leaves The Greens (we talked about them last week), Family First (shiver), Pauline Hanson, and a bunch of other nutcases (and maybe some well-meaning parties with no real following).

Whoever wins, it will be interesting to see who'll be providing oversight and controlling the senate.