Friday, February 10, 2006

Pollie Waffle

I loathe politics so this is going to be a quickie. It's a basic rundown of Australian politics for Suzanne. Enjoy!

The Queen
I've got a few American readers so we'll start by clearing up the confusion: she is NOT the Queen of Australia, she's the Queen of England and as such has dominion over us and other Commonwealth nations.

Charlie (Prince Charles) is her son and next in line for the crown then come his and Diana's boys, Princes Wills and Harry. Poor Harry looks more like his dad every day but, thank Christ, Wills looks like his mum.

Governors and Governors General
Each state has a Governor and the whole of Australia has a Governor General. They have the power to dismiss our Premiers and Prime Ministers. In 1975 the most notorious of our Governors General, Kerr ("Kerr by name cur by nature") dismissed Whitlam.

Our current Governor General is Major General Michael Jeffery and NSW's current Governor is Professor Marie Bashir.

Premiers and Prime Ministers
Premiers head each state and Prime Ministers head the country. Yes, this means we've got two heads of each state (Governor & Premier) and two heads of Australia (Governor General & Prime Minister). Technically this means we're ruled by the English Crown but, since 1975, the Queen has made it known we control our own destiny.

Our current PM is John Weasel Howard (pictured).


A few of our better-known PMs:
Edmund Barton, our first one. 1st of March 1901 Parliament was opened by the Duke of York (later crowned George V). Before Federation each state was a British colony and federation was agreed on by a vote and we've never fought a war against England. Australian national identity kicked in 1915 in Gallipoli.

Harold Holt, the one we lost. And yes, we really did name a swimming pool after him.

Gough Whitlam, the one who got the sack.

Bob Hawke, the PM who cried and got pissed on TV when we won the America's Cup.

Paul Keating, the PM we had to have.

Main parties
Democrats. NOT like the American democrats. Too rational to be real politicians. They've suffered several implosions recently but are still going strong.

Get some fucking policies already! And put The Beazer on a diet. The bastard looks like he'll be carried out of parliment in an ambulance one day. This party suffers implosions almost daily.

Liberal my arse. Shows you what bullshit there is in politics. These bastards are conservative through and through. They just fucked us over with the new industrial reform crap. Talk about a great leap backwards. Their leader is our current PM, John Howard, a closet comb-over and sulky bastard.

Conservative rural party. Half the time these buggers form a coalition with the Libs to keep Labor out of the big chair. This leads to regular implosions and the Nats threatening to take their party and go home.

Still confused? Here's one someone else made earlier.


Suzanne said...

You are so kind. It's rather more perplexing than I imagined, down there where you are. Over here we only have two parties, the Massively Corrupt Party of Power and Money that's running the show, and the only Slightly Less Massively Corrupt Party of Gutless Wonders who act as a perfect foil for the party in charge by running around in circles saying stupid things and trying to find their asses with both hands. Of course, this is America, so we also have our Fringe Element of Crazy People With More Money Than Sense who occasionally line up for a big asskicking by the MCPPM (Bushies for short.)

Spike said...

You do seem to have more and more vociferous and self-righteous crazy persons with political ambitions that we do :)

We've got a few nutters and supremists. Idiots like Paul Hanson ("Please explain") the dimwit from Queensland and those nutters from Birmingham's book rear their ugly mugs from time to time and there's a rather ugly crowd at the moment called FamilySomething. One of their party members was stupid enough to tell a journo lesbians should be burned at the stake so I s'pose they'll get a small but fanatical following of criminally-minded nutters.

But there's very little political violence in this country (not counting small-time nutters blowing each other away in drunken hazes). Probably due to a combination of differences in culture, a lower population leading to a lower number of nutters and our habit of taking the piss out of pollies rather than deifying them. If we ever get a Bill of Rights it'll be just a long list of people and institutions we've got a right to take the piss out of.

Anonymous said...

Constitutionally the current monarch IS Queen of Australia. This role is seperate from her role as Queen of England, Ireland, Scotland and Dominions. The procedure is that the holder of the throne of England (specifically) is also de-facto Monarch of Australia, however by the Constitution Act of 1901 and the Australia Act of 1983 (?) which was passed in both the House of Commons in the UK and the House of Representatives in Australia, the Queen was confirmed as 'Queen of Australia'. The Australia Act severed all and any remaining legislative ties to the Parliament of the UK, confirming and completing a process begun by the Constitution Act of 1901 and the so-called 'Commonwealth and Dominions Act' of 1934.

Anonymous said...

Gawd...this inaccurate rundown of the form of government in Australia is a good argument for having Civic Classes as they do here in the US. The Governor and Governor-General are NOT the head of any governments. They are Head Of State. The Premiers and Prime Minister are Head Of Government. How this differs from the US model is that the position of President combines BOTH functions in one position..although outside a parliamentary context, so the Head of Government (The President) isn't required to form his government from elected politicians - he can form a government (cabinet)from his political cronies, donors and other brown nosers without ever needing to stand up in Congress every Tuesday and answer for his actions as a Prime Minister is required to do.

Anonymous said...

One last comment, because people have some pretty wierd ideas about what a Constitutional Monarch is. Hereditary succession is not an absolute. The Monarch (in the UK) constitutionaly holds his or her position " the will of Parliament" When Elizabeth dies, it will be Parliament which decides if Charles is next or not and he will only be crowned after that vote is made. Several times in the last 250 years Parliament has decided to NOT allow a regular succession and picked someone else..

Spike said...

Piss off, Chamberpot.