NSW needs a panic button

As a citizen and taxpayer of New South Wales, I am appalled (to put lightly) at the performance and immense shortcomings of the state government. Without delving into the morally questionable decisions of certain members of parliament and seemingly corrupt practices and dealings, it is fair to say that most people in this constituency have had enough. It’s time we call on a panic button and parachute out of this plunging plane.

Do you realise that the next state election will not be until March 2011? Compare this with the federal government, which gets re-elected every three years. Our NSW Constitution (Constitution Act 1902) says in section 24 that the term of the current government will “expire on the Friday before the first Saturday in March in the fourth calendar year after the calendar year in which the return of the writs for choosing that Assembly occurred”. That is 18 months away. The people in this state must put up witht he government that is the mockery of Australia, and undoubtedly the world, until that time.

That section deals with the natural expiry of the general assembly. An alternative method to remove the government would be to dissolve it. Section 24B specifies 3 avenues for the Governor to dissolve a government:

  • If a motion of no confidence in Government is passed through the Legislative Assembly (Lower House), and during the 8 day interval after that, the Legislative Assembly has not passed a similar motion of no confidence over the interim government: s24B(2)
  • If the Legislative Assembly rejects the bill of appropriation (budget money) or fails to pass it when the money is required: s24B(3)
  • Not in accordance with the above, but under established constitutional conventions, and in considering whether a viable alternative government to be established without dissolution, and is to have regard to any motions of confidence in an alternative government: s24B(4) and s24B(5)

The coalition already tried the motion of no confidence under subsection 24(2) on 2 September 2009 amidst the fallout after a member of parliament resigned over an extra-marital affair, but failed due to their lack of majority support. The result was 52 against and 36 for the motion.

So whilst there are no constitutional escape routes for the people in this sorry state, as a democracy there still remains people power. If enough people outwardly express their disgruntledness and unhappiness in the government, possibly through protests or other manifestations, it may be enough to begin the slow path down subsection 24(4). I admit that I highly doubt the success of this avenue considering the political ambivalence of the constituency. All that people do is whinge and complain (including myself), and hope that somebody else does it. If everybody waits, there is no somebody else.

The compounding factor behind our stagnation or lack of politcal drive is that there really is no suitable or desirable alternatve government that would appease voters. NSW lacks a charismatic leader in government or opposition. More generally, NSW lacks charismatic people in politics. Party politics itself is merely a corroborree of people driven by greed and money wanting power, rather than a tool towards delivering genuine altruism for the six million inhabitants of this state.

What is the end result? Another 80 weeks of soap opera farce.


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