Friday, May 25, 2018

The Section 44 imbroglio - fight over the 28 July by-election dates

The imbroglio over citizenship and Section 44 of the Australian Constitution is a gift that keeps on giving.

The announcement that the by-elections for the five vacant House of Representatives seats would be held on 28 July has created something of a political storm (here, here for example) because this date coincides with the ALP national conference. This date was recommended by  the Australian Electoral Commission in part because the new requirements to provide detailed citizenship and family genealogical information would disadvantage independent candidates and those from the minor parties compared to the major parties.

The date seemed to blindside Labor. The Government was fairly sniffy about this on the grounds that the problem - the resignations - was one of Labor's own making, thus continuing the relative blame game between parties over the whole matter. I do think, however, that Tony Smith as Speaker of the House of Representatives should have provided Labor with the courtesy of consultation before the announcement of the date.  


2 tanners said...

The problem as of the election date was not of Labor's making since noone most especially MT knew how the High Court would rule (given his comments re BJ's eligibility). That said it is the government's privilege to set the date, and Labor will pay this back in spades if it gets the opportunity. Foolish and short-sighted.

Jim Belshaw said...

I agree with the last. Technically in this case, unlike a general election, it was a matter for the speaker. Given the issue, I think consultation with Labor would have been sensible. But there will be payback