May test case for prorogation in Australia?

The backwash from the Gillard frolic continues. The opposition has put a motion of no confidence on notice for the budget meeting of the parliament in May. This motion will not require a suspension of standing orders and therefore will not need an absolute majority.

I’d be astounded, (but as we all know I’ve been astounded before) if the government tried to prevent a debate on this motion. They are unlikely to have the numbers in the house to vote against debating the motion, which means if they really do not want to have the motion debated there is always the possibility of seeking a prorogation. Prorogation would be dangerous because it would terminate the budget debate and the government needs to pass the budget before 30 July.

I hope the governor-general would reject that advice, but at least it would be a test case for whether the governor-general is a benign mentor or a mechanical idiot so at least the cause of political science will advance.

In the wake of Thursday’s chaos a number of senior ministers have resigned. They have been replaced by relative unknowns whoa re thought to be deeply loyal to Julia Gillard. The government’s electoral standings continue to decline. In today’s Newspoll the 2PP is 58/42 to the Coalition.

German president twisting in the wind

The presidency of Christian Wulff appears to be coming to an end. I found some of the language a little more elevated than one would expect from say discussion of the governor-gneral of Australia:

It is very difficult now to imagine how Wulff will exude the luminosity that I had hoped of him.

It does raise the question of how best to appoint and remove a ceremonial president. On the face of it comparing cases like Ireland where the president is popularly elected and Germany and Australia where the president is indirectly elected, indirect election does not always seem to work well. Since 1972 two governors-general of Australia (and 2 state governors) have been forced to leave early by public opinion. I am not aware of that happening with any Irish presidents.