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Old 02-14-2016, 04:17 AM   #46
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In Australia our transitions tend to be speedier, usually marked by a piss-up occasioning property damage at the Lodge.
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Old 02-14-2016, 04:27 AM   #47
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In Australia our transitions tend to be speedier, usually marked by a piss-up occasioning property damage at the Lodge.
It helps that we have well-defined conventions about caretaker government.

In fact, I'm not sure it's really possible to have a lame duck PM in the same way it's possible to have a lame duck president in the US. I suppose that a losing government is sort of a lame duck until the new ministry is sworn in by the governor-general (note Whitlam having a two-man ministry rapidly sworn in after his 1972 victory to get rid of the Libs as soon as he could!). But they have none of the freedom to act that a lame duck president can possess. If such a ministry made any controversial decision, the incoming government could immediately ask the governor-general to dismiss the old government. Such a situation almost happened in New Zealand after the 1984 election, with the crisis so severe that the outgoing PM only relented when it became apparent his own cabinet was going to ask the governor-general to dismiss him.
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Old 02-14-2016, 04:41 AM   #48
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It helps that we have well-defined conventions about caretaker government.

In fact, I'm not sure it's really possible to have a lame duck PM in the same way it's possible to have a lame duck president in the US. I suppose that a losing government is sort of a lame duck until the new ministry is sworn in by the governor-general (note Whitlam having a two-man ministry rapidly sworn in after his 1972 victory to get rid of the Libs as soon as he could!). But they have none of the freedom to act that a lame duck president can possess. If such a ministry made any controversial decision, the incoming government could immediately ask the governor-general to dismiss the old government. Such a situation almost happened in New Zealand after the 1984 election, with the crisis so severe that the outgoing PM only relented when it became apparent his own cabinet was going to ask the governor-general to dismiss him.
The closest, outside of what you're talking about, that I can think of as a 'lame duck' Australian PM would be that of a government that is in its last months or weeks of office after multiple terms, and obviously doomed. Say, John Howard in mid to late 2007, when even world leaders were having a chat to Kevin Rudd over him. Or McMahon in 1972. Or Fraser in 1983 except not quite because Hawke sprang his surprise the same day he called the election, so his dead-man-walking phase all occured under caretaker conditions. (I exclude Keating in 1996 because even then, who was really sure?)
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Old 02-14-2016, 05:14 AM   #49
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The closest, outside of what you're talking about, that I can think of as a 'lame duck' Australian PM would be that of a government that is in its last months or weeks of office after multiple terms, and obviously doomed. Say, John Howard in mid to late 2007, when even world leaders were having a chat to Kevin Rudd over him. Or McMahon in 1972. Or Fraser in 1983 except not quite because Hawke sprang his surprise the same day he called the election, so his dead-man-walking phase all occured under caretaker conditions. (I exclude Keating in 1996 because even then, who was really sure?)
I do kind of feel sorry for poor old Bill Hayden in 1983. He probably wasn't wrong that a drover's dog could win for the ALP.

But yeah, even in these cases it's possible for something weird to happen. Hell, people were writing Howard's obituary in 2001 until 11 September and the Tampa affair happened. Surely nobody has come closer to being PM without succeeding than Kim Beazley. Thwarted in 1998, 2001, and 2007. Poor guy.

Anyway, the point here is that while the leader of a country holds their full complement of powers, and no transition is under way or other formal processes are in play to limit their power, they can make whatever calls to which they are entitled. That's how constitutions work and that's what they are elected to do. And under fixed term systems such as that in the US, you know exactly how long they can exercise that power.
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Old 02-14-2016, 05:34 AM   #50
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Yeah, poor old Beazley, much as he tended toward the neo-con wing of the Labor Party, I think he might have been a decent enough PM. So close, and so not Mark Latham. On the other hand, he blinked in 2001, so fuck him.

Oh absolutely they can make any calls they like, within legal constraints. In that sense there is no such thing as a lame duck Prime Minister until an election is called.

In a more informal 'soft power' sense (eg. Howard in mid 2007), there may come that disastrous point when people stop listening.
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:07 AM   #51
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It's funny we've even got Australian participation in this thread. I know more about the US Supreme Court appointments than those for the Australian High Court - and what I know there is for professional reasons. I know basically nothing about the New Zealand Supreme Court. The Australian justices are appointed by the governor-general on the advice of cabinet (I believe New Zealand is the same), but it's simply not politicised in the way the US system is.

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Yeah, poor old Beazley, much as he tended toward the neo-con wing of the Labor Party, I think he might have been a decent enough PM. So close, and so not Mark Latham. On the other hand, he blinked in 2001, so fuck him.

Oh absolutely they can make any calls they like, within legal constraints. In that sense there is no such thing as a lame duck Prime Minister until an election is called.

In a more informal 'soft power' sense (eg. Howard in mid 2007), there may come that disastrous point when people stop listening.
I do feel Beazley was overtaken by global events in 2001. A friend of mine, a member of Young Labor back then, recalls a Victorian state ALP function on the night when the terrorist attacks happened. The news began circulating throughout the venue and the first reaction was of absolute horror, replaced about half an hour later by a sensation that "we've lost the election". It completely reframed the national discussion, and at times of crisis the incumbent almost always prevails anyway. The Tampa iced the cake. Had the election been in August, we would remember Howard as the bloke who somehow held on for a second term but flopped when he sought a third.
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"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 02-14-2016, 07:20 AM   #52
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Howard was really extraordinarily lucky, in some black way, wasn't he. People forget he was always about five minutes away from gone until after the 2001 election (even 2004 looked dicey until Latham went off the reservation).

I'm glad you pointed to 9/11 because that was it. The Tampa affair was merely a secondary wave. That being the case, if they had nothing to lose anyway, maybe they could have stood on principle. It was a fatal loss of nerve and Bill Shorten is the exemplary heir to that tradition.

I'm just as glad our High Court appointments aren't as explicitly drawn along partisan lines, nor (unless I'm mistaken), the resulting tenures quite so lengthy. It's not quite 'till death do us part' around here, they actually get to retire.
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:24 AM   #53
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What does that have to do with anything?


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Doesn't.
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:38 AM   #54
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Howard was really extraordinarily lucky, in some black way, wasn't he. People forget he was always about five minutes away from gone until after the 2001 election (even 2004 looked dicey until Latham went off the reservation).

I'm glad you pointed to 9/11 because that was it. The Tampa affair was merely a secondary wave. That being the case, if they had nothing to lose anyway, maybe they could have stood on principle. It was a fatal loss of nerve and Bill Shorten is the exemplary heir to that tradition.

I'm just as glad our High Court appointments aren't as explicitly drawn along partisan lines, nor (unless I'm mistaken), the resulting tenures quite so lengthy. It's not quite 'till death do us part' around here, they actually get to retire.
Howard never really should've won re-election. Hell, he shouldn't have won election full stop, if we accept the narrative that Hewson was meant to win in 1993 (which is problematic, but fuck I'd take him over Howard). Funnily enough, he enjoyed the same good fortune as his hero Menzies. If the labour movement had not split between the ALP and DLP, Menzies would've been out after about six years. On the other hand, we perhaps dodged a bullet never having Doc Evatt as PM.

Our High Court justices are required to retire upon turning 70. If I recall correctly, the only constitutionally-mandated requirement for a new appointment is that they be under 70 years of age.

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Doesn't.
Do you actively try to make your contributions as insubstantial as possible?
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 02-14-2016, 07:47 AM   #55
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If George Bush was in office and a liberal judge died, would liberals want to block Bush from choosing a new Justice in a lame duck year?


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Where did this notion come from that a president can be called "lame duck" with 1/4th of a term still remaining?

A lame duck president is one who faces his replacement, after November. To be disregarding an entire quarter of a presidency is a joke. Should we also disregard the first year of a first term elect? Since he's still moving his stuff into the White House...?
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Old 02-14-2016, 08:18 AM   #56
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Soo, basically a president that still has 1/4th of his term left is now useless and should not be making decisions his successor might not completely agree with while there is still one WHOLE YEAR left of decisionmaking and life going on as usual?

Wow, such logic.. wow.
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Old 02-14-2016, 09:16 AM   #57
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I think a better question that gets to the heart of what Mssr. Saget was asking is: if the president were a Republican with a year left on his/her second term, Democrats controlled the Senate, Democrats thought they had a roughly 50% chance of retaking the presidency, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, what would Senate Democrats do? When answering, keep in mind that a Republican-appointed replacement would totally upset the balance of the court, potentially leading to a chipping away of Roe v. Wade, etc.

Best hope in my mind is that Obama appoints a moderate and can get the 14 Republicans he needs to defect to do so.


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Old 02-14-2016, 09:46 AM   #58
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The justice will be replacing Scalia... it most definitely will be a moderate and still considered a huge swing for the courts in favor of a more liberal look. I'm sure Obama will be looking for someone that will get through, not the anti-Scalia that is Sotomayor.
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Old 02-14-2016, 10:01 AM   #59
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If George Bush was in office and a liberal judge died, would liberals want to block Bush from choosing a new Justice in a lame duck year?


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Is this one of the times when you decide not to believe in the Constitution even though you say you believe in the Constitution?
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Old 02-14-2016, 10:07 AM   #60
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The question for conservatives to ask is "What would Reagan do?"
Then, the answer is simple, nominate a new Supreme Court judge as he did just that in his final year in office. From what I understand, the nomination passed the Senate with a 97-0 vote or something like that.
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