The Purpose of Australia’s Democratic Parliament

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The purpose of Australia’s democratic parliament is to convert political inputs into outputs and to be the means by which the will of the people is expressed. Its Bi- cameral structure is intended to allow the sovereignty of a popular government whilst maintain and protecting the interests of the states; its two chambers have distinct identities but similar powers. The four main function of parliament are legislation, representation, responsibility and acting as a forum of debate. It is a commonly held belief that there has been a decline in parliamentary thesis. Advocates of this belief claim that parliament in the modern day supports the executive rather than scrutinizing it and thus acts as little more than an electoral college. They claim that this decline is evident in the fact that it is unable to effectively scrutinize bills, its members are loyal to parties rather than electorates and in that it is ineffective in acting as a forum of debate. This essay will assess and evaluate these claims and ultimately conclude whether or not there has been a decline in parliamentary thesis.
The legislative function requires that parliament initiates, deliberates and thereafter passes legislation. In accordance with its intended image parliament should ideally allow legislative proposals to be raised both by the government and ordinary members; any such bills should then be scrutinized and amended where necessary to make them suitable for enactment. Decline of parliamentary thesis advocates however claim that parliament retain this function only formally as it is in reality dominated by party politics. This claim is based on a variety of factors; firstly since the government almost always holds a majority in the lower house it elects the...

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...dividuals to be elected and express their views
Conclusively parliament is clearly incapable of performing its traditional functions. This is due predominantly to the adoption of the two party systems in 1910 which greatly changed political objectives. Advocates of the decline of parliamentary thesis consequently claim that in comparison to the golden age parliament has deteriorated into a rubber stamp of executive will. These critics however fail to take into account that previous parliaments were different not necessarily better and while it is true that party dominance reduced the opportunity for debate and the ability to enforce ministerial responsibility it also has strong benefits such as providing government with a clear set of policies which it can then defend with electoral mandate. Additionally the two party system also contributes to government stability.
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