Great piece by IPA research fellow Simon Breheny in the Sydney Morning Herald today, on the federal government’s Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill, which gives the executive extraordinary new spending powers:
It is a basic tenet of parliamentary democracy that the decision to spend public money is made by the parliament.
The English Civil War and the French Revolution were sparked by this fundamental principle: when the executive wants money, it needs the consent of representatives of the governed.
But an obscure bill passed by the Federal Parliament turns this principle on its head.
The most depressing part is this: the bill was passed with support across the parliament. As Simon writes,
One after another our elected representatives got up to raise serious concerns with a bill they knew to be flawed. And one after another they voted for its passage.
But the most bizarre player in all of this is the Greens. One can at least understand the positions of the ALP and the Coalition, who both support the school chaplaincy program. But the Greens completely object to the idea of school chaplains, have never supported the program and still passed legislation purportedly designed to save it.
One can only assume they are in favour of executive overreach, no matter the issue.