While conceding that she had failed to gauge the level of public concern about the government's sale of electricity assets, the NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, has refused to consider recalling Parliament.(“ Premier erred but Parliament stays shut”, a report by Ellie Harvey and Brian Robins in The Sydney Morning Herald, 7/1)
''I underestimated the level of public interest in these transactions, and I acknowledge that,'' Ms Keneally admitted.
The Premier has decided that she and the Treasurer, Eric Roozendaal, would appear before the inquiry under the formidable Rev Fred Nile.
This is the inquiry she previously damned as “illegal” and then “unconstitutional.”
Power & accountability
From the Magna Carta in 1215, through the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the evolution of responsible government and the gift of that to the Australian colonies, the essence of our constitutional monarchy is that government is not absolute; that we live under the rule of law and not the rule of men.
Now the constitutional monarchy (or crowned republic) has been demonstrated to be the best system to ensure such accountability together with both stability and flexibility. We have long drawn attention in this column to the results which have been achieved in countries functioning under this system.
Prorogation once brought Parliament to a halt. An exception had to be made for judicial proceedings in the House of Lords; other exceptions were gradually made.
This can be done today by statute, and some argue as we have, by standing orders.
And with the greatest of respect to the Crown Solicitor, Mr. Knight’s well- crafted opinion, the judges are unlikely to agree with his restrictive view.
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