Matthew Yglesias argues that the separation of the executive and legislative in the Washington system leads to the legislative making policy rather than the White House
Even though it's typical for staff talent to flow from the Hill to the White House and even though the professional staff resources of the executive branch far exceed those of the congress, the details of legislation are written by congress and then it's left up to the White House to accept or reject the bills.
This has been a recurrent theme in several of his posts about policy. Many Australians look at the Washington system with envy as it so cleanly separates the executive and legislative. The Australian Washminster parliamentary system blends the executive into the legislative - both House of Representatives and Senate - through the executive cabinet and executive council.
The innovation in the Australian system is the absolute discipline the executive has over the legislative. This can be traced back to Labor's pledge which was enacted in the early part of the 19thC. This ensured that Labor was always a voting block - no matter what. The opposing parties to Labor; such as the modern Liberal Party have similar mechanisms to ensure absolute party discipline and a voting block. This means the executive and legislative are essentially one in the Australian system. The legislative never rejects the executives policies or bills.
It is interesting that the previous Republican Administration and Congressional majority under Bush, Hastert and Delay mimicked the Australian mechanism for absolute discipline. They used a bunch of procedural methods that stretched both convention and ethics to achieve that - such as threatening party members and keeping votes open until representatives votes were ensured. The meant that executive policy was executed exactly as the Bush Administration intended into legislation.
The current Democratic Administration and Congressional majority don't work under the banner of absolute discipline and has multiple splinter groups that vote outside of the party caucus or leadership. For instance in the current health care legislation Democrats such as Kucinich voted no as it didn't have a single payer system. The so-called conservative Democrats; the blue dogs, actually caucus and often vote as an internal block within the party.
I think this is a strength of the American system. In the Australian parliament the only time party discipline isn't enforced is when the executive decides that a piece of legislation can be a conscience vote. So again it is the dominance of the executive that over-rides the whole system.
Yglesias' argument is that policy is better when it flows through the executive and is then approved or denied by a separate legislative body voting on it rather than the inverse in the American system where the legislative implements policy in legislation and then the executive signs or vetoes it.
I don't know if this stands. Exceptionally bad policy has come from the Executive in the Australian parliament, often under the pressure of re-election. The Tampa Affair is a good example; another is the Aboriginal intervention. Both have led to expansive executive government and the minimizing of state autonomy. The dominance of the executive in the Australian system has made Australia more like a British system than a federal one.
This is a negative in my opinion, especially as most political systems are designed to minimize arbitrary government and tyranny. Given some of the executive government actions during the current terror scare and its value as an excuse for the executive to use executive exception to place people outside of the purview of the legislative and judicial, removing any political right from an individual, I think the checks against arbitrary government, tyranny and executive exception are very necessary.
Australia has a mix of government structures and the parliamentary system enables the executive to get their way in all cases through party discipline. In some places the governance has been worse for a unicameral parliament - Queensland in the Joh years stands out for it - but in other states a bicameral system has not been sufficient to stop corruption; NSW in the 70s being a good example.
Yglesias' argument is that the legislative should act as a check on the policy making of the executive. Because of the dominance of the executive in the Australian parliamentary system and the absolute party discipline the political parties in Australia practice, this does not hold true for Australia unless a minor party is holding the balance of power in one of the legislative houses.
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.