Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 02:47 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 02:47 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: War and parliament II

9 September 2010 15:05

Matt Currie writes:

I tend to think that Alison Broinowski's comments overstate the authority of the PM in sending Australian troops to combat. In Australia the PM is the representative of the party which holds the confidence of the House of Representatives. If the PM loses the confidence of the House, he can be replaced. The events of the last six months have demonstrated this principle for all Australians (and all potential PMs) quite clearly. For Alison to suggest that a PM could send troops to war, without the support of a majority of the Parliament is a inaccurate.

John Howard held a unique position of strength within his party as a result of his electoral success. This position allowed him to exercise an immense amount of influence over the Parliament, but he did not work outside of it, nor did he circumvent it.

Howard led a Government which collectively holds responsibility for the decision to go to war. If at any time his actions led to his supporters losing faith in his judgement they could have removed him and changed the decision. This did not happen (nor to my knowledge was it seriously considered) and so Parliament bears responsibility, not an individual.