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Word Count: 1,609
The ability to dismiss alter and permit a set of laws that will ultimately change the lives of millions is always going to be a complex and difficult task By allowing control over the decision-making process to be shared between the governing party and the senate the Australian Washminister system can be said to be more democratic than most governing systems This essay determines whether the Australian Senate acts as a safeguard or a handbrake on democracy It looks at the history of the senate the voting systems used and the problems they caused and questions the distribution of power within the senate In particular it focuses on the reasons why critics have called for reform of the senate and the possible ways in which it can be modernized Central to this argument is the senates capacity to dismiss pass or amend bills One of the more controversial cases here is that the opposition may reject proposals in a bid to stifle the government and not because of the impracticality of the bill The constitution makers sought to limit the power of the government by providing a Senate with the capacity to reject amend or pass legislation With the ability to limit the supply of money bills to the governing body the senate provided a way to halt the government If the government was denied money it could not govern Rodney Smith 1993 The senate should not act as a second government it should exercise its powers while at the same time recognising that the government was elected to do precisely that to govern The constitution requires that all states have equal representation in the senate The present proportional representation system introduced in 1948 after the failure of the previous two voting systems challenges the one vote one value notion It produces the current situation for example where 12 senators represent 330000 electors in Tasmania and the same number represent more than four
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