Senate lecture series

Public lunchtime lectures held at Parliament House in Canberra, on topics related to Parliament and governance. Related papers are published in the Papers on Parliament series.

Dr Marija Taflaga

‘Not Parliamentary?’ Australian semi-parliamentarism and the role of the Australian Senate

This lecture will explore the implications of how our politics are practised and where they could continue to normatively develop.

Scholars and parliamentarians have struggled to accurately describe Australia's system of executive-legislative relations. Descriptive labels run the gamut from the ‘Washminster’ system to simply ‘not parliamentary’. But does it really matter what we call our parliamentary system? In short, yes. 

For many decades, conflict between the executive government and the legislature has often turned on the role and exercise of the Senate’s powers. Members of the House are by turns incredulous or frustrated by the Senate’s assertion of its powers, and the Senate has only grown more confident in doing so over time. While much reference is made to Australia’s Westminster parliamentary system, it’s clear that different actors mean different things by these terms. The concept of semi-parliamentarianism offers a parsimonious description of the way Australian politics is actually practised. It can provide parliamentary actors, scholars, journalists and the public with a way of coming to grips with the institutional logics underpinning our parliamentary institutional design. 


Dr Marija Taflaga is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University and Director of the Australian Politics Studies Centre. As part of her ARC Discovery Project, Australian Political Careers, Marija is currently researching the political careers of Australian political elites. Marija’s work also focuses on the interaction between political elites and other political institutions such as political parties, parliament and the executive and gendered pathways into office. She has also worked in the Australian Parliamentary Press Gallery as a researcher at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

 

Friday 10 February 2023
12.15pm - 1.15pm
APH Theatre, Level 1
Free event
REGISTER HERE
 
Procedure & Research Section
02 6277 3648
research.sen@aph.gov.au


Past lectures

Date Presenter Topic Watch Listen Read
09/12/22 Professor Anne Twomey AO Annual Harry Evans lecture: Law and border– who has the power to control movement across state borders? Parlview MP3 PDF 202KB
19/08/22 Mr Harry Jenkins AO, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, Mr Graham Perrett MP Reflections on the 10th anniversary of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights Parlview MP3 PDF 705Kb
20/05/22 Professor Cheryl Saunders AO Accountability for cross-jurisdictional bodies Parlview MP3 PDF 232Kb
25/02/22 Ben Oquist and Bill Browne The Senate’s new role in protecting our democracy Parlview MP3  
03/12/21 Dr Ben Gauntlett Disability Policy in Australia – Where to Next?  Parlview MP3 PDF 1.8Mb
12/11/21 Dr Stein Helgeby Insights into the Parliamentary Budget Office Parlview MP3 PDF 5Mb
18/06/21 Professor Megan Davis 50th Anniversary of Neville Bonner entering the Senate Parlview MP3
30/04/21 Dr Sarah Moulds Committees of Influence: Evaluating the Role and Impact of Parliamentary Committees Parlview MP3 PDF 532Kb
12/02/21 Dr Sarah Cameron and Professor Ian McAllister Australian Political Opinion: From the 2019 election to COVID-19 Parlview MP3 PDF 600Kb
06/03/20 Nick Mitzevich The art of democracy—the power of the national art collection to nurture identity Parlview MP3
18/10/19 Dr Raymond Kelly First Nations languages in Parliament Parlview MP3
20/09/19 Andrew Murray Annual Harry Evans Lecture: The Senate - the struggle continues Parlview MP3 PDF 416Kb
26/07/19 Professor Lisa Hill and Dr Jill Sheppard Compulsory Voting: Effects, Public Acceptance and Democratic Justification Parlview MP3
05/07/19 Associate Professor David Karpf Lessons from the first 25 years of the digital revolution in politics Parlview MP3
07/06/19 Dr Cathy Foley Why do we fund government research labs? What have they done for us? Parlview MP3
12/04/19 Professor Joo-Cheong and Kate Griffiths Electoral campaign financing-two perspectives Parlview MP3 PDF 178Kb
08/03/19 Professor Ken Benoit Analysing the Brexit debate through social media: topics, arguments, and attitudes Parlview MP3
16/11/18 Amy Mullins 75 years of women in political leadership in the Australian Parliament Parlview MP3
19/10/18 Dr Rosemary Laing Annual Harry Evans Lecture: Richard Chaffey Baker and the shaping of the Australian Senate Parlview MP3 PDF 578Kb
21/09/18 The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Senator Patrick Dodson Parliamentary processes from an Indigenous perspective Parlview MP3 PDF 87Kb
17/08/18 Professor Ariadne Vromen Political engagement in the Australian Digital Context Parlview MP3 PDF 224Kb
11/05/18 Professor Kim Dovey Architecture and Power: How Do Buildings Shape Politics? Parlview MP3 PDF 4Mb
13/04/18 Dr Ben Wellings Taking Back Control: Parliament, Sovereignty & Brexit Parlview MP3 PDF 407Kb
16/03/18 George Megalogenis Restoring respect Parlview MP3 PDF 1.5Mb
01/12/17 Bret Walker SC Annual Harry Evans lecture: Justified Immunity or Unfinished Business? Parlview MP3 PDF 121Kb
20/10/17 His Excellency Mr Chris Seed The Anzac Connection: Trans-tasman ties in the century since Beersheba Parlview MP3 PDF 119Kb
25/08/17 Professor Ian McAllister and Sarah Cameron Trust, Parties and Leaders: Findings from the 1987-2016 Australian Election Study Parlview MP3 PDF 232Kb
21/07/17 Dr Yee-Fui Ng Between Law and Convention: Ministerial Advisers in the Australian System of Responsible Government Parlview MP3 PDF 110Kb
30/06/17 Dr Anthony Bergin Parliament and national security: Challenges and opportunities Parlview MP3 PDF 114Kb
26/05/17 Russell Taylor AM Indigenous Constitutional Recognition - 1967 Referendum and Today Parlview MP3 PDF 205Kb
26/05/17 Denis Strangman AM The defeated 1967 nexus referendum Parlview MP3 PDF 369Kb
28/04/17 David Fricker Government-Citizen Engagement in the Digital Age Parlview MP3 PDF 112Kb
17/03/17 Dr Zareh Ghazarian Small parties, big changes: The evolution of minor parties elected to the Australian Senate Parlview MP3 PDF 162Kb
17/02/17 Professor Simon Jackman Populism and Discontent: Comparing the United States and Australia Parlview MP3 PDF 341Kb
04/11/16 Professor Anne Twomey Annual Harry Evans lecture: Parliament, the Executive and Vice-Regal Reserve Powers: Heading off crises in a closely tied Parliament Parlview MP3 PDF 294Kb
28/10/16 Professor Tom Frame 1916 Conscription Referendum – 100th Anniversary Parlview MP3 PDF 128Kb
30/09/16 Associate Professor Anika Gauja Party Reform: Where are Australia’s Political Parties Headed in the Future? Parlview MP3 PDF 165Kb
02/09/16 Associate Professor Paul Strangio The Australian Prime Ministership: Origins and Evolution Parlview MP3 PDF 133Kb
22/07/16 Leah Armstrong Reconciliation Action Plans – “Creating Shared Value” Parlview MP3 PDF 119Kb
24/06/16 Dr Bede Harris Does our Constitution really give effect to the doctrines it purportedly embodies? An argument in favour of constitutional reform Parlview MP3 PDF 143Kb
13/05/16 Professor Simon Tormey The Contemporary Crisis of Representative Democracy Parlview MP3 PDF 106Kb
11/03/16 Professor Cheryl Saunders Australian Democracy and Executive Law-making: Practice and Principle (Part II) Parlview MP3 PDF 125Kb
11/03/16 Mr Stephen Argument Australian Democracy and Executive Law-making: Practice and Principle (Part I) Parlview MP3 PDF 308Kb
05/02/16 Professor Graeme Orr Elections as Rituals Parlview MP3 PDF 1.3Mb
13/11/15 Dr Chris Sarra High Expectations Realities through High Expectations Relationships: Delivering beyond the Indigenous Policy Rhetoric Parlview MP3 PDF 93Kb
25/09/15 Phil Bowen PSM FCPA The Parliamentary Budget Office: supporting Australian democracy Parlview MP3 PDF 98Kb
08/09/15 Dr Michael Macklin Annual Harry Evans lecture: Serving the Senate: The Legacy of Harry Evans Parlview PDF 190Kb
14/08/15 Jane Halton AO PSM Reforming the Public Sector Parlview MP3 PDF 104Kb
19/06/15 Her Excellency Mrs Menna Rawlings CMG 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta Parlview MP3 PDF 94Kb
29/05/15 Dr Andrew Moore Fitzpatrick and Browne after 60 years Parlview MP3 PDF 313Kb
10/04/15 Aaron Pegram Politicians At War: The Experiences of Australian Senators and Members in the First World War Parlview MP3 PDF 1Mb
20/02/15 Dr Simon Longstaff AO Democracy, Trust and Legitimacy Parlview MP3 PDF 104Kb
05/12/14 Professor Ross Garnaut Global development: The long term context of Australian development Parlview PDF 103Kb
28/11/14 Colin Neave AM Exploring the role of the Commonwealth Ombudsman in relation to Parliament Parlview PDF 94Kb
24/10/14 Professor Helen Irving Pulling the trigger: The 1914 double dissolution election and its legacy Parlview PDF 416Kb
12/09/14 The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson The role of the Australian Parliament when going to war Parlview PDF 173Kb
08/08/14 Professor Linda Trimble 'Abolition difficult, reform impossible, status quo unacceptable': can Canada fix its Senate? Parlview PDF 118Kb
11/07/14 Professor Megan Davis Competing notions of constitutional 'recognition': truth and justice or living 'off the crumbs that fall off the White Australian tables' Parlview PDF 100Kb
27/06/14 Judith Ireland and Greg Jericho The impact of social media on political journalism Parlview PDF 120Kb
30/05/14 Stephen Bartos There is no accountability until someone cares: The role of the Senate in public sector performance Parlview PDF 134Kb
11/04/14 Professor Andrew Markus Trust in the Australian political system Parlview PDF 268Kb
07/03/14 Alex Oliver Are Australians disenchanted with democracy? Parlview PDF 335Kb
14/02/14 Antony Green Is it time for a fundamental review of the Senate's electoral system? Parlview PDF 109Kb
06/12/13 Michael Maley International election observations: coming ready or not? Parlview MP3 PDF 188Kb
15/11/13 Robyn Archer Re-imagining the Capital Parlview MP3 PDF 133Kb
18/10/13 Rosemary Crowley, Amanda Vanstone and Laura Tingle Women in Federal Parliament Parlview MP3 PDF 153Kb
20/09/13 Aaron Martin Political engagement among the young in Australia Parlview MP3 PDF 120Kb
19/07/13 James P. Pfiffner Dysfunctional politics in the United States: origins and consequences MP3 PDF 154Kb
24/05/13 Jack Waterford Canberra and the Parliament: an increasingly uncomfortable marriage MP3 PDF 100Kb
22/03/13 Christopher Kam Paying politicians: do we get what we pay for? Lessons from Canada MP3 PDF 505Kb
15/02/13 David Headon 'But once in a history': Canberra's foundation stones and naming ceremonies, 12 March 1913 MP3 PDF 163Kb
23/11/12 Ken Coghill How should elected members learn parliamentary skills? WMV 185Mb MP3 44MB PDF 347Kb
19/10/12 Ross McMullin Will Dyson: Australia's radical genius WMV 148Mb MP3 41Mb PDF 1.6Mb
28/09/12 Cheryl Saunders The scope of executive power WMV 145Mb MP3 41Mb PDF 153Kb
31/08/12 Margaret Fitzherbert Liberal Women in Parliament: What do the numbers tell us and where to from here? WMV 157Mb MP3 38Mb PDF 153Kb
29/06/12 Dr Sally Young Media Reporting of the Next Federal Election: What Can We Expect? WMV 130Mb MP3 21Mb PDF 252Kb
25/05/12 Professor Kenneth R. Mayer Forecasting Presidential Elections: Obama, Romney, or What? WMV 153Mb MP3 25Mb PDF 562Kb
13/04/12 Professor William Buss Intersecting Australian and American Constitutional Law: The Strange Case of Privileges and Immunities WMV 130Mb MP3 10Mb PDF 272Kb
16/03/12 Dr Andrew Banfield Minority Report: Lessons from Canada's Minority Parliaments WMV 118Mb MP3 34Mb PDF 928Kb
24/02/12 Anne Henderson From Labor to Conservative: Joseph Lyons and the Great Depression WMV 136Mb MP3 38Mb PDF 297Kb
07/12/11 Jon Stanhope Who’s Afraid of Human Rights? WMV 151Mb MP3 24Mb PDF 334Kb
18/11/11 Kylie Scroope ‘Faithful Representations’ 100 years of the Historic Memorials Collection WMV 135Mb MP3 11Mb PDF 816Kb
14/10/11 Ian McPhee The Evolving Role and Mandate of the ANAO Since Federation WMV 159Mb MP3 26Mb PDF 369Kb
23/09/11 Peter Mares Temporary Migration and its Implications for Australia WMV 150Mb MP3 42Mb PDF 787Kb
05/08/11 Mick Dodson Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians WMV 149Mb MP3 24Mb PDF 156Kb
08/07/11 Don Aitkin The Problem of Planned Cities: Canberra in Context WMV 161Mb MP3 26Mb PDF 150Kb
10/06/11 Andrew Murray Budgets and Finance: Sunlight and the Dark Arts WMV 154Mb PDF 141Kb
13/05/11 Patrick Weller AO Learning to be a Minister WMV 154Mb MP3 12Mb PDF 99Kb
01/04/11 Waleed Aly Multiculturalism, Assimilation and the Politics of Terrorism WMV 158Mb MP3 13Mb PDF 84Kb
11/03/11 Dr John Barry After the Party, the Hangover: An Analysis of ‘Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland’ in the Light of the February 2011 Election WMV 152Mb MP3 24Mb PDF 190Kb
25/02/11 Geoff Gallop AC How Healthy Is Australian Federalism? WMV 151Mb MP3 25Mb PDF 74Kb
03/12/10 Dr David Headon Devotion, Daring and Sense of Destiny - Surveyors of the Early Commonwealth WMV 149Mb MP3 24Mb  HTML
05/11/10 Dr Meg Russell Strengthening the British House of Commons: The Unexpected Reforms of 2010 WMV 153Mb MP3 28Mb  HTML
15/10/10 Dr Scott Brenton Minority Government: Is the House of Representatives Finally Catching up with the Senate? WMV 148Mb MP3 55Mb  HTML
17/09/10 Andrew Hutson Square Peg in a Square Hole? Australia’s Parliament House MP3 21Mb  HTML
27/08/10 The Hon Dr John Bannon The Disillusionment of Sir John Downer WMV 138Mb MP3 11Mb  HTML
13/08/10 Kathleen M. Burns The Pryor Perspective: Sharply to the Point MP3 12Mb  HTML
23/07/10 Dr David Burchell How Not to Do It: Lessons for Australia From the 2010 UK Elections WMV 150Mb MP3 21Mb
21/05/10 Professor Diana Dwyre Elections, Money and Free Speech in the United States WMV 150Mb MP3 25Mb  HTML
23/04/10 Professor Yvonne Galligan Thinking About Gender and Democracy WMV 150Mb MP3 28Mb  HTML
12/03/10 David Day Andrew Fisher, Triumph and Tragedy WMV 159Mb MP3 27Mb  HTML
13/11/09 Charles Sampford Parliament, Political Ethics and National Integrity Systems WMV 159Mb MP3 28Mb  HTML
28/08/09 John Keane Media Decadence and Democracy WMV 159Mb MP3 59Mb  HTML
14/08/09 Jonathan Pincus Commonwealth-State Financial Relations The Case For Competitive Federalism MP3 14Mb  HTML
24/07/09 Harry Evans Time, Chance and Parliament Lessons from Forty Years WMV 164Mb MP3 15Mb  HTML
19/06/09 Professor Margaret Reynolds Is There Life After Parliament? Reflections of a Former Senator MP3 18Mb  HTML
22/05/09 Professor George Williams The Role of Parliament under and Australian Charter of Human Rights MP3 25Mb  HTML
24/04/09 Professor John Dryzek The Australian Citizens' Parliament: a World First MP3 58Mb  HTML
03/04/09 Dr Anne Twomey Cutting the Gordian Knot: Limiting Rather than Codifying the Powers of a Republican Head of State MP3 43Mb  HTML
06/03/09 John Warhurst The Trajectory of the Australian Republic Debate MP3 43Mb  HTML
17/10/08 Dr David Headon Wanted: Treasure House of a Nation's Heart - The search for an Australian capital city, 1891 - 1908 MP3 15Mb  HTML
12/09/08 Professor Geoffrey Garrett McCain v Obama: What the 2008 US election means for Australia MP3 14Mb  HTML
08/08/08 Dr Peter Brain Governing the Market: Threats to Australia's stability and security MP3 14Mb  HTML
11/07/08 Dr Sally Young Politics and the Media in Australia Today MP3 14Mb  HTML
20/06/08 Kenneth Feinberg Compensating Victims of Disasters - the United States Experience MP3 14Mb  HTML
30/05/08 Dr Anne Tiernan The Rudd Transition: Continuity and change in the structures of advice and support to Australian Prime Ministers MP3 15Mb  HTML
09/05/08 Dr Clement Macintyre Parliamentary Architecture and Political Culture MP3 22Mb  HTML
04/04/08 Professor James Allan Siren Songs and Myths in the Bill of Rights Debate MP3 12Mb  HTML
07/03/08 Patricia Sykes Women Leaders and Executive Politics - Engendering Change in Anglo-American Nations MP3 12Mb  HTML
15/02/08 Sir Bernard Crick Constitutional Politics: Is it the 'Scottish Question' or the 'English Question?' MP3 11Mb  HTML