The following is an excerpt from a speech to the House of Commons by the Hon. Zoë Parker, MP, Prime Minister of Georgeland, on January 29, 2007. Mrs. Parker was speaking in response to the address by the President of Georgeland outlining the government’s agenda for the 2007 sitting year.
‘’It should be noted that the Prime Minister and the government writes the President Speech; the President delivers it but has no input on policy.’’
“…Mr. Speaker, it is the position of this government that further changes are needed to the electoral process in Georgeland. Specifically, the President’s speech outlined the government’s intention to introduce permanent, unalterable terms of office for future Parliaments, beginning with the 37th Parliament to be elected later this year.
“In many democracies around the world, Mr. Speaker, including the United States, the government has no say as to the timing of elections. Up until now, Mr. Speaker, governments in Georgeland have had the right, and have exercised it, to decide upon the time of a general election whenever they please. The only restriction up to now has been the “eight month rule”, stipulating that a minimum of eight months must occur between elections.
“Prior to the 2004 constitutional amendment, Parliaments in Georgeland served a term of four years, as mandated by the Constitution. However, in reality the average term has, since 1970, been closer to three years because of a discrepancy between the terms of the Senate and the House of Commons. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, in the last decade, there have been no fewer than six general elections – in 1997, 1999, 1999 again, 2001, 2002 and 2005…
Mrs. PARKER: “…to continue despite the Member for Cooper’s protests, Mr. Speaker, six general elections in ten years is quite simply too many. This government’s proposal would completely and utterly eradicate such a scenario in future, and would in turn usher in a new age in Georgeland politics – where politicians are subject to elections, and not where elections are subject to politicians.
“This government will introduce an Act of Parliament, provisionally called the Timing of Elections Act 2007, which will provide for fixed parliamentary terms. Under existing arrangements, the Prime Minister and Cabinet may advise the President to dissolve the House of Commons and issue writs for its election, and the election of half of the Senate, at ‘’any time’’, excepting the eight month rule. Under the legislation we propose, the law would be prohibit the Prime Minister providing such advice, save in the case of a double dissolution under extreme circumstances, such as a breakdown of government or a loss of the House’s confidence. This law would not require a constitutional amendment, as while essential nature of the relationship between aspects of the Executive would change, the legal arrangements would remain unaltered.
“Parallel to this, Mr. Speaker, this government will introduce legislation to insert an amendment into the Constitution, thus giving the Act the full force of Constitutional law. This amendment will be offered to the people of Georgeland at a referendum to be conducted concurrently with the next general election.
“That election, Mr. Speaker, will be held in the latter half of this year, and I make that commitment now. Furthermore, this government will seek the official permission of the seven State Governors for a special dissolution of the Senate. The intent of this government, Mr. Speaker, is to ‘reset the clock’ of parliamentary elections. Senators elected at this election will begin their terms on January 1, 2008, and will serve until either January 1, 2011 or January 1, 2014, as determined by the Senate Terms (Dissolutions) Act of 1935.
“My daughter will be seven years old next month. In eleven years time, she will be getting ready to cast her first vote, which she will cast at the 2019 election. The politics of her age will be different, Mr. Speaker. Because of the fixed parliamentary terms to be put in place today, the people who run the nation she will be voting for will no longer be able to cynically time elections to benefit themselves. The idea of single-issue elections such as we have seen in the past will be an outdated one. The Parliament she votes to elect will be truly for the people, Mr. Speaker, because of the certainty of democracy – everybody will know when elections will be. Everybody will have the chance to raise funds, and prepare candidates. There will be more debate on the issues, there will be more time to make sure a party and its candidates are ready for the challenge of fighting an election campaign. The politics of the future will be different, Mr. Speaker, and the legislation we will introduce will help to make it so…”