Occident Prone

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Posts Tagged ‘Willmott’

Party favours

Posted by occidentprone on September 13, 2008

From nail-bitingly exciting to teeth-grindingly outlandish, The Sunday Times is reporting that the Liberals are considering an unelected person for a cabinet post if they are in government.

All perfectly within the rules and with precedents in Australia. All above board, in theory.

The person they want to co-opt is Deidre Willmott. Ring any bells?

There are serious discussions about giving Deidre Willmott — the economist who missed out on the plum seat of Cottesloe when Mr Barnett was elevated to the leadership — a seat at the cabinet table. 

Technically, Ms Willmott cannot be called a minister, but she can play an equally important role.

The Commonwealth Constitution does not allow the American, presidential-style of hand-picking cabinet members in the Federal Government, but there is nothing to prevent it at state level. 

It is not unprecedented. 

South Australian Premier Mike Rann appointed two eminent people from outside parliament to his cabinet’s executive committee. 

Senior lecturer in constitutional law at Edith Cowan University, Ainslie van Onselen, said such a move would be unconventional under the Westminster system of government, but was legally sound. 

“There is nothing in the WA constitution that would prevent a premier from appointing non-parliamentarians on the executive committee of cabinet or even sitting in cabinet,” Ms van Onselen said. 

“By convention, members of the cabinet normally come from the legislature, but that is an unwritten convention.” (Source: PerthNow)

Interesting development. If this is true (and we are talking The Sunday Times here so it remains to be seen) where does Colin Barnett get off telling the Nationals they should not side with Labor because the people had voted with their, um, votes to be rid of the ALP. And yet, he doesn’t need to bow to the will of the people when it comes to who he puts in cabinet. 

I’m all for bringing in experts for a talented cabinet – MP or not. And Willmott is by all accounts a talented individual with a proven track record. But this smacks of cronyism and untoward rewards.

Really, does Barnett think the voters cannot see through this?

First he shafts Willmott by reneging on a promise to quit and hand his plum seat to her, then he shafts the electorate by using cabinet posts as trinkets for favours.

Maybe it’s mischievous muckraking, but it’s just so crazy …

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