How to constitutionally remove the NSW Government

Submitted by Rick Eyre on January 29 2009, 8:31 pm

"KERRY O'BRIEN: Given the mood in this State you could do what the Liberal Government in Tasmania did in 1998 and what the German Government has done twice post war and have an early election.

You could circumvent the four year fixed term by organising a vote of no confidence in your own government and going to the Governor for dissolution; put yourselves out of your misery.


NATHAN REES: Is that a serious suggestion?

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well, It is. It would be against your own self interest though, wouldn’t it?"

- (Source: 7.30 Report, ABC1, 20.10.08)

The current New South Wales Labor government has a fixed term in office, coming before the electorate again in March 2011. Until then, we're stuck with them. Or are we?

Here is Section 24B of the New South Wales Constitution. Have a read, and for those of us who are residents of New South Wales, have a think about what we can do:

24B Dissolution of Legislative Assembly during 4 year term

(1) The Legislative Assembly may be dissolved by the Governor by proclamation, but only in the circumstances authorised by this section.

(2) The Legislative Assembly may be dissolved if:

(a) a motion of no confidence in the Government is passed by the Legislative Assembly (being a motion of which not less than 3 clear days’ notice has been given in the Legislative Assembly), and

(b) during the period commencing on the passage of the motion of no confidence and ending 8 clear days thereafter, the Legislative Assembly has not passed a motion of confidence in the then Government.

After the motion of no confidence is passed, the Legislative Assembly may not be prorogued before the end of that 8-day period and may not be adjourned for a period extending beyond that 8-day period, unless the motion of confidence has been passed.

(3) The Legislative Assembly may be dissolved if it:

(a) rejects a Bill which appropriates revenue or moneys for the ordinary annual services of the Government, or

(b) fails to pass such a Bill before the time that the Governor considers that the appropriation is required.

This subsection does not apply to a Bill which appropriates revenue or moneys for the Legislature only.

(4) The Legislative Assembly may be dissolved within 2 months before the Assembly is due to expire if the general election would otherwise be required to be held during the same period as a Commonwealth election, during a holiday period or at any other inconvenient time.

(5) This section does not prevent the Governor from dissolving the Legislative Assembly in circumstances other than those specified in subsections (2)-(4), despite any advice of the Premier or Executive Council, if the Governor could do so in accordance with established constitutional conventions.

(6) When deciding whether the Legislative Assembly should be dissolved in accordance with this section, the Governor is to consider whether a viable alternative Government can be formed without a dissolution and, in so doing, is to have regard to any motion passed by the Legislative Assembly expressing confidence in an alternative Government in which a named person would be Premier.

(source: Australasian Legal Information Institute)