Foreword to the second edition

This book was originally published in 1994. The author had just completed work on a second edition when he died in January 2002. At the request of his widow, Mrs Barbara Hamer, the Department of the Senate undertook to edit and publish the manuscript. We did so because Can Responsible Government Survive in Australia? has proved to be an invaluable and unique repository of comparative information about the powers and practices of twenty legislatures in Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. I know of no other book like it.

David Hamer, apart from his career as a great parliamentarian, was an enthusiastic and colourful writer and a man of firm opinions. Needless to say, in publishing this book neither the Senate nor its staff endorses all the author’s views. Much of the content is historical in nature and the overwhelming majority of the text does not suffer greatly from the fact that it does not cover events since January 2002. To have brought it up to date would have required not only the updating of facts but also the modification of some of the conclusions and judgements that the author had made on the basis of the facts as they stood in 2002. It was considered best therefore to leave the text, apart from copy editing, largely as David Hamer left it. We have also retained the author’s original introduction and the foreword to the first edition by Professor Don Aitkin.

Harry Evans
Clerk of the Senate

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