Flashcards in CHAPTER 5 Deck (16):
The party with the second largest number of seats in the HOR. Opposition in a Westminster system is the alternative government. Its role is to hold government to account and be ready to form government itself.
Define shadow ministry?
The opposition front bench composed of spokespersons for each of the ministerial portfolios of the government. Each spokesperson scrutinises a government minister. They are alternative government.
Define leader of the opposition?
Leader of the party with the second largest number of seats in the House of representatives (Bill Shorten)
Define private members?
All members of Parliament who do not form part of the Ministry (Executive). This includes the Shadow Ministry and government backbenchers.
Roles of opposition?
Its role is to oppose, and therefore check and scrutinise the power of the current government. It is also expected to act as a viable alternative government.
How does the opposition fulfil their role of holding government to account?
- Question time
- Moving censure motions and motions of no-confidence
- Calling for quorum
- Refusing pairs
- Calling for divisions
- Good opposition
What is question time?
It is a session in each sitting day during which Private Members may ask 'Questions with notice' or 'Questions without notice' to the relevant ministers.
In reality Question Time has has become little more than a contest for political advantage.
What is a censure motion?
A motion to discipline a minister or the government. A successful censure motion in the HOR would, by the conventions of individual or collective ministerial responsibility, require a minister or government to resign.
In reality they are almost always defeated on party lines. However, they offer the opposition the chance to debate
What is a motion of no confidence?...
A motion by which the HOR withdraws its support from the government. A successful motion of no-confidence would, by the convention of collective ministerial responsibility, require a minister or government to resign.
Forms of motions of no confidence?
- A direct vote against the government
- The defeat of a core government bill in the House
- The defeat of a government money bill in the House
- A loss of government control of the business of the House
What is a quorum?
The minimum number of Members of Parliament required in the House (or Senate) for a valid vote to be taken. The law specifies that the quorum for the HOR is 1/5 of total members (currently 30)
Opposition can frustrate business of government by making the Speaker aware of the limited MPS in the House causes the sitting to be adjourned until a quorum is reached.
What is refusing pairs?
Pairs is a convention by which the Opposition withdraws one of its own members of the House or Senate to match each government MP who is absent for other business or ill.
As a convention it can be broken by the Opposition if it wishes to frustrate the government by forcing it to all call its MPs back for a vote.
What is calling for divisions?
A formal vote in either House of Parliament. Members move to one side of the chamber or the other to vote in favour for or against a motion. Members may cross the floor to vote with another party.
If the Opposition wishes to frustrate the government, they may call for a division. It contributes to minister accountability.
Factors affecting success of an opposition?
- Impartiality of the speaker
- Lack of resources
- Executive dominance
Overcoming the limits of Opposition
- Third party research