Australia’s Labor Party’s revolving door leadership

In June 2010, Australian Labor Party leader and Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was ousted by his caucus in a leadership challenge won by Rudd’s Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who then became both party leader and Prime Minister. Less than two years later, history appears to be repeating itself, with Rudd now challenging Gillard’s leadership of the party. Gillard announced a ballot for the party’s leadership would take place Monday, February 27. Mr. Rudd’s challenge failed, and Ms. Gillard successfully held off the challenge, winning by 71 votes to 31 votes for Rudd. If Rudd’s challenge had been successful, he would have replaced Gillard as party leader, but not necessarily as Prime Minister of Australia. The party leaders in Australia […]

How to petition Canadian legislatures

A fair number of people regularly end up on this blog looking for information about petitioning Parliament. Here is an overview of the proper way to petition the House of Commons, as well as the provincial and territorial legislatures. Number of Signatures Before looking at the various petition requirements,  I want to address one issue that regularly turns up on the keyword search statistics on this blog. Many people are looking for information about “how many signatures are required for a petition” in Canada. In general, there is no minimum number of signatures needed to validate a petition. A petition could be submitted with only one signature on it. The Parliament of Canada does require that a petition have at […]

Parliamentary Privilege and Prayers in the House

Recently, in response to legal action brought by the National Secular Society, Britain’s High Court ruled that Bideford Town Council had acted unlawfully by allowing prayers to be said during meetings. This decision prompted quite a backlash in the UK media, and the Government announced that it would bring in early part of the Localism Act that aims to give councils greater powers and freedom, in essence reversing the High Court’s ruling. Partly in response to this incident, the Globe and Mail’s Doug Saunders wrote an interesting column on the place of religion in public life. I don’t intend to enter into a discussion of the rightness or desirability of prayers at the start of public meetings, or the role […]

How the Backbench Business Committee works

I have written a number of posts about the UK House of Commons Backbench Business Committee, trying to explain to readers what the committee is, what it does, and its role in relation to petition-driven debates. The Committee’s website now includes a very useful “How the Backbench Business Committee Works” page, complete with a video featuring Committee Chair Natascha Engel explaining what the Committee does, and how the e-petitions work. She makes it quite clear that a petition does not need 100,000 signatures to be considered for debate, it simply needs an MP to sponsor it and apply for a debate on the subject matter raised by the petition. You can also download a list of the topics chosen for […]

The Financial Privilege of the House of Commons

A controversial bill overhauling the UK’s social benefits system suffered a number of defeats in the House of Lords as the upper chamber rejected several provisions of the Government’s bill. When the bill was returned to the House of Commons, something happened. A committee of the House of Commons resolved that the bill “engages the financial privilege of the Commons”. In doing so, the Government was then able to declare the Lords amendments invalid, based on the financial privilege convention. What is the financial privilege of the House of Commons? As Dr Jeff King, Senior Law Lecturer at University College London, explains: Under such a privilege, the Commons is entitled to ‘disagree’ with any Lords amendment and ultimately reject it […]

Quote of the day

I personally think that when politicians think that their success hinges on attaching a particular adjective to their rivals then they are in serious trouble. – Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. Related Posts:No Related Posts