Talk:Responsible government

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Untitled[edit]

The comment below is right - responsible government was indeed given to/gained by the colonies of Australia, New Zealand and Canada as they transitioned to dominions, but the term had an agreed meaning within the context of normal English practice - the government is responsible to the parliament (and in particular to the lower house).


Hmmm. I don't think the main article is correct. AFAICT , Responsible government describes the conventions at least partly followed by the governmental systems of the UK and the former colonies Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. It describes the system where the monarch (or their representative) formally holds almost dictatorial powers, but uses them only on the advice of the parliament and more specifically the ministers, who are also chosen by the Parliament. It also describes the running of executive government and rules for the behaviour of ministers (ie they are responsible for the actions of their departments and should resign if their department does something seriously wrong, and they are obligated to publically support executive government decisions etc).

I agree. In all Westminster systems the head of state is theoretically independent of the houses of Parliament. Ministers, however, are collectively and personally responsible to Parliament, and specifically to the House of Commons. Andrew Yong 21:31, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
All responsible government really means is that:
  • there is an assumption of the separation of powers doctrine with separate legislative, judicial and executive arms;
  • however, the executive (PM, Cabinet, ministers etc) must be drawn from Parliament and by convention from the party of government (in Australia for example this is governed by s64 of the Constitution - similar provisions exist in other systems)
The system previously in place was with a Governor and an appointed Executive Council; this replaced the Executive Council with an elected one from the Parliament of the day and the Governor's near-absolute power was limited to accepting bills passed by Parliamet on advisement from Ministers. The idea is that ministers are accountable to the Cabinet, who in turn are accountable to the Parliament, who in turn are accountable to the citizens. In alternative mechanisms, the Cabinet is accountable either to the monarch or president (an appointed system), or to the citizens directly. The system has broken down over the years so the responsibility checks and balances within the system aren't what they were and most accountability mechanisms are extra-parliamentary (i.e. the media and interest groups). Orderinchaos 17:36, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

If it took them 60 years after the American Revolution to get sensitive -it doesn't seem to be sensitive at all. At least, it's not an aftereffect of the Revolution. --rmhermen

Indeed, it largely reflects the very non-revolutionary way in which the Australian states (formerly colonies) in particular gained self-government :) Orderinchaos 17:39, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

system and conception[edit]

Terms like "responsibility" and "accountability" are subjective notions, whereas a system of government is an objective affair, a thing. So if a government is responsible when it is "accountable", then we are dealing not with a system but with a conception or an ideal of one. --VKokielov 19:20, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

If I'm wrong and "responsible government" is a name for a system of government, then we must remark that fact; the subjectiveness of "responsible" and "accountable" remains. --VKokielov 19:21, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Responsible government is indeed the name used in the literature rather than a descriptive - even the authors of many of these texts acknowledge that the responsibility mechanisms within it have failed even while continuing to use the name to differentiate from other systems. I really hope I can improve the article, I've just done a course which dwelt somewhat on this so I have plenty of academic citations (although weighted somewhat towards an Australian view of the topic). Would welcome any assistance and source diversification from Canadian, South African and New Zealand editors. Orderinchaos 17:31, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

The UK[edit]

So I take it that the UK itself still does not have "responsible government?" —Preceding unsigned comment added by ColDickPeters (talkcontribs) 16:56, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

The one and only external link ("Can Responsible Government Survive in Australia?") is to a paper that has ZERO references, is highly biased and poorly written. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cameronyoung (talkcontribs) 11:49, 8 March 2010 (UTC)