During the final year of the Labor government in NSW there was an outpouring of frustration from an electorate that had clearly made its mind up to throw it out, but was powerless to do so. The reason was NSW’s system of four-year fixed parliamentary terms.
What emerged was a proposal to introduce US-style ”recall” elections, whereby a government can be dragged to the polls early if enough of the electorate desires it. The same mechanism helped Arnold Schwarzenegger to the governor’s mansion in California in 2003.
In the heat of a looming election – and after much coverage of the idea by the Herald – both Kristina Keneally and Barry O’Farrell declared the idea worthy of consideration. O’Farrell has made good on his word and has convened an expert panel to consider how it might work in NSW.
This week there was a good illustration of the process in the US state of Wisconsin. It is the very same state with which NSW was compared during the recent battle between unions and the NSW government over its legislation capping the wage rises of public servants to 2.5 per cent.
In Wisconsin the Governor, Scott Walker, introduced laws to remove collective bargaining rights from public sector workers. It led to recall elections targeting Republican state senators. The elections resulted in the removal of two of the targeted senators but not enough for the Democrats to seize control of the Senate.
The result will bring renewed focus on plans in NSW. The expert panel has yet to report, but Anne Twomey, a constitutional law expert at the University of Sydney, recently published her thoughts on the subject.
Full Article: Total recall no instant cure for cranky voters.