No WE DO NOT ELECT the Prime Minister….


On what has been a rather monumental day in Australian Politics… I thought I really did need to point out one little fact. A fact that not only the Opposition, but both the new Prime Minister and former Prime Minister have made the simple mistake of saying they were elected as Prime Minister.

Yes with modern politics it does seem to be driven by a “personality” as opposed to a Party system, however what has not changed is the Constitution.

A head of government (or head of the executive), known as the prime minister (PM), premier or first minister. While the head of government is appointed by the head of state, the constitutional convention that the person appointed must be supported by the majority of elected Members of Parliament. If more than half of elected parliamentarians belong to the same political party, then the person appointed is typically the head of that party. (Wikipedia)

You will notice what is missing in that. The fact that the public do not vote for the leader. The leader can change (and does) in the middle of terms. This has never has represented a constitutional crisis. If the leader was voted in by the public and then changed by the party, this would be a crisis, but this is not how the system works.  However the PM is appointed by the Governor-General of Australia under Section 64 of the Constitution.

The only time there was a Constitutional crisis was when the GG Kerr replaced Whitlam as prime minister,  putting Fraser in as the caretaker prime minister.  In this case it was a change of party and not just leader.  That is the power that the Governor General has.

It would help if even the current Prime Minister would stop playing word games with the Constitution. Julia the Lodge is yours by our system of government fair and square.  You can move in and change the curtains when ever you like.

3 Responses to “No WE DO NOT ELECT the Prime Minister….”

  1. Gillard might have said she was elected, but I’m sure she meant by her party members, not the people. Rudd clearly said (and Abbott said about him) that he was elected by the people as Prime Minister. It’s not the case and technically not the way the government works, but it is unfortunately the way many people vote.

    Good on you for pointing it out though. Perhaps if people don’t focus on who will be prime minister and concentrate on their own representative, they will choose suitable people to be in government.

  2. Although this is technically true, parties are elected on their policies; and one of their most prominent, visible, and arguably important policies is the identity of the Prime Minister. I think if that policy gets changed, people have a right to be annoyed.

    Think about Abbott, too. Do you really think it’s unreasonable for a swinging voter to consider voting for a (ceteris paribus) Turnbull-led coalition but not an Abbott-led one? Don’t you agree that a party’s leader can, and should, strongly influence the electorate?

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