September 15, 2015

Australia has Ousted its Prime Minister & Why it Matters to Americans.

Tavis Ford/Flickr

“To the Australian Government and the Governor General: We Reject Tony Abbott and the LNP.

This is a statement of non-confidence. 

We the people of Australia do hereby firmly reject the Abbott Government and the Liberal National Party as our ruling body. We do not condone any of its actions henceforth, nor do we accept its values as our own.

We strongly implore the Governor General of Australia to dismiss the LNP Government before serious damage is done to Australia as a nation.” ~The original change.org petition for the vote.

It may have taken several months but Australia has finally succeeded in ousting Prime Minister Tony Abbott from office with a vote of non confidence. Support for Abbott has been dwindling quickly in recent months as Australians grew more and more frustrated in his failures to deliver on his promises of improving the economy and his stance, or lack thereof, on climate change amongst other important issues.

Abbott was recently overheard laughing at jokes made by his immigration minister at the expense of Pacific Island nations as to them soon being under water, just after he had returned from a Pacific nation forum where several Pacific leaders urged him to adopt tougher measures to combat warning because they risk being submerged by rising seas.

This caused quite a ripple.

It was just one more thing on the growing pile that had Aussies frustrated with their Liberal National Party PM.

Less than one week after Abbott’s insensitive joke and after a string of less than impressive media interviews, the popular communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, stepped up and declared his bid for leadership of the party, stating that “if Abbott continued to lead the party it was likely to lose the next election to Labor and its leader Bill Shorten.”

Once declared, the party voted and the leadership shifted within a few hours.

A leader dubbed to be more in touch with the current views of the people, Turnbull has expressed support for same-sex marriage and concern that not enough action is being taken to address climate change—two issues very important to many Aussies that I know.

Why care?

As an American, it’s interesting to me seeing how the democratic nations with parliamentary systems of government can almost easily oust their Prime Ministers when they have had enough. When this occurs the party then elects a new leader for the party to then serve as PM.

This is in contrast to the U.S. system where the act of impeaching a President means we are then stuck with the Vice President stepping into the main seat and, who in some instances I can think of, would have been worse than the impeached President (had it happened). And no, I don’t mean Obama and Biden.

The ability of parliamentary governments to oust leaders with non-confidence votes helps hold these leaders accountable to the people of the nations they are serving. In a sense, the elected officials have reason to fear the people.

I feel as though in the States, we have lost that power over our elected officials.

And of course, in this day and age of globalization, if we are not awake to the world’s activities, we are going to find ourselves out of the loop before we know what hit us.


Author: Lindsay Carricarte

Editor: Sarah Kolkka

Image: Flickr/Tavis Ford

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