How Parliament Will Work

The National Parliament

General

The National Parliament shall be responsible for policy on all aspects of governance with application across the Nation, and for all Statute Laws.

The National Parliament shall be responsible for overseeing the implementation of National policy. To facilitate oversighting National policy on issues such as water, energy, air traffic control, national railways and national roads, the Parliament shall establish statutory authorities.

Elections to the National Parliament

Each Regional Assembly shall elect one Member or recent ex-Member of their Regional Assembly with at least three years experience in that Assembly to the National Parliament.

This means that MPs are experienced people with an intimate knowledge of what has been happening in the Parliament and are already conversant with policies under consideration by virtue of their role in the Regional Assembly.

Members shall be elected to the National Parliament for a term of four years.

Citizens elected to the National Parliament shall be required to relinquish direct responsibility for businesses, etc but shall not be required to divest themselves of businesses, farms, shares or other interests.

Sitting Members of the National Parliament may stand for election to further terms in the National Parliament.

Elections for the National Parliament shall be conducted in a maximum of two Regional Assemblies every month so that no more than two new Members enter Parliament each month.

Progressive or staggered elections are held to avoid the problems of a “big bang” election day. These problems include:

  • The “stop/start” nature of Parliamentary business.
  • The sudden change of policy direction.
  • The sudden exodus of experienced MPs and the influx of inexperienced MPs.
  • The uncertainty in business quarters when a “big-bang” election is imminent.
  • The hype created and the excessive promises made by aspiring politicians.
  • The excessive cost of electoral staff caused by the need for temporary staff during “an election year”.

The Electoral Commission shall review election dates every ten years and shall make such adjustments as are necessary to preserve this principle.

Dismissal of Members of Parliament

A 75% vote by any Regional Assembly at any time shall allow recall of their Representative to the National Parliament and the conduct of a new election.

The President shall dismiss Members of Parliament found guilty of malfeasance, misconduct, malpractice or incompetence by a 75% vote of the National Parliament.

Failure to disclose potential conflict of interest shall result in dismissal from the Parliament on a 75% vote of the Parliament following a conclusive police investigation.

Parliamentary Procedures

The National Parliament shall sit for the last four business days of every week except the third week in every month.

This means that there shall be no “parliamentary recess” except for the third week of each month when the Members sit in their Regional Assembly. By sitting for four days in each week, the business of the Parliament is continuous. Members of the Parliament will take their holidays as and when they like except that leave will be controlled to ensure there is always a quorum but the Parliament will not close for business

Members of the National Parliament shall sit in their Regional Assembly for the last four business days of the third week in every month.

This arrangement constitutes the review process. Members of the National Parliament would be required to brief their Regional Assembly on matters before the National Parliament and take note of the views of their Regional Assembly. Furthermore, during this one week in four, Members of Regional Assemblies have the opportunity to brief their Member of the National Parliament on matters of concern to the Region that should be considered by the National Parliament.

The President shall appoint a Chairman and Deputy Chairman to the Parliament after taking advice from the Public Service Board. The Chairman and his Deputy shall conduct the business of the Parliament and shall be accountable to the President.

The Chairman and Deputy Chairman shall not be Members of the Parliament.

The first item of business debated on each sitting day shall be the Agenda.

The Agenda for each day of sitting shall be prepared several days in advance. Members shall be required to advise their desire to speak for or against any matter so the Chairman can arrange speakers and allocate times.

There shall be no religious ceremonies or practice in the Parliament. The government must remain strictly secular.

It is considered important that there should be a clear separation between matters of the church and matters of State in a secular society.

All sittings of the National Parliament shall be open to the public unless approval to conduct a closed session for reasons of national security is granted by the Constitutional Court.

A quorum of the National Parliament shall require 75% of Members.

The Parliament shall sit in round table format. There shall be no division into ‘government’ and ‘opposition’.

All Members of the National Parliament shall have a right to be heard on every issue. The Chairman shall arrange the agenda to accommodate those who wish to be heard.

Legislation shall be debated by the Parliament and shall not be subject to a vote until Representatives have had sufficient time to debate the issue in their Regional Assemblies. This shall be the review process.

Uniform National laws are essential in areas such as criminal law and commercial law, to ensure that all Australians have the same basic legal rights. In many other areas of law, regional variation should be allowed, in order to take account of local circumstances, subject to overall national constitutional principles protecting the basic rights of Australian citizens.

Representatives shall discuss all issues before the National Parliament with their Regional Assembly during the four days each month they sit in their Regional Assembly. Discussion of Bills in the Regions is the review process. Dissatisfaction in more than 25% of the Regions will lead to a Bill being defeated in the Parliament.

Chairmen shall exert strict control of debate in the Parliament, shall disallow raucous behaviour and shall preclude inappropriate practices such as filibustering

Parliamentary Committees shall be formed to study issues in depth and to propose Bills.

There shall be no instructed block voting and it shall be unconstitutional to illegally influence the vote or to attempt to illegally influence the vote of any Member of Parliament.

Members of Parliament shall declare any potential conflict of interest prior to any vote by the Parliament.

A 75% majority of those Members voting shall decide issues. The Chairman shall have no vote.

Some may consider this percentage to be excessively high. However, the prevailing view is that Australians prefer to live in a free society where the default position is the freedom of the individual with as few laws as possible. Unless an issue can gain the support of 75% of representatives of the People after full and free debate of that issue, then there needs to be more work done to ensure that laws and policies are adopted only where there is a clear indication of what the people want.
Furthermore, because there will be no arbitrary division into “Government” and “Opposition” as at present, a 75% vote is much more likely.

All votes of every Member in the National Parliament shall be recorded in Hansard, published daily and shall be included in a daily update of the Parliamentary website.

National Legislation

Legislation (Bills) to create, amend and annul laws shall be initiated by:

  1. any Member of the National Parliament,
  2. the President,
  3. Chief Executive Officers of Government Departments to further the policies of the Parliament, to create new policies and to ratify International Treaties, or
  4. the People using the procedures in — Referendums & Plebiscites
  5. Legislation shall have no retrospective validity.

All Legislation shall include a “sunset clause”.

This is to ensure that redundant legislation does not accumulate.

 

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NOTE: The above information is inspired by A Draft Constitution for Australia written and published by Lt Col (Ret) Charles Mollison

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