Both candidates start in southeast Queensland for the first day of campaigning. The conventions ensure no major decisions are made without accountability. caretaker period preceding the 2020 quadrennial Queensland Local Government Elections. Media Office, UNSW Sydney NSW 2052 Australia The opposition did not support the continuation of the campaign – at least in Australia. The departments of Finance and Prime Minister and Cabinet review all government advertising campaigns at the start of the caretaker period and recommend whether or not they should continue. The Victorian Coalition government was accused of breaching the conventions by signing the East West Link contract in late 2014. Turnbull would do well to learn from recent experience in Victoria. Of all the conventions, the caretaker conventions are perhaps the most uncontested. TERM DEFINITION By-election Means an election to replace a councillor after the councillor’s office becomes vacant. Caretaker period. firstname.lastname@example.org They are a practice that the major parties have agreed upon since the mid-1970s. Poll Call for Day One of the Queensland election campaign Tuesday October 6, 2020. SCOPE These guidelines apply to all Councillors and Council Staff during the Caretaker Period however it does not extend to by -elections or fresh elections. Too liberal an approach might undermine democratic accountability and politicise the public service. Unusually for conventions, they are written down. Any decision to continue advertising campaigns should be done only with bipartisan agreement. Late last week, the government announced it would be appointing a disability discrimination commissioner to the Human Rights Commission before the election is called. While governments might be technically correct that a decision falls outside the caretaker period, the public has little sympathy for a government that rushes to lock in a major policy commitment when it knows an election is near. The Commonwealth guidelines are relatively clear as to when the caretaker conventions begin: … at the time the House of Representatives is dissolved. +61 2 9385 2864, Email. What is a “major policy decision”? The simple – although not quite complete – answer is no. And what does it mean in practice? Information on the ARC website will be published in accordance with the Guidance on Caretaker Conventions, circulated by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, until after the election and conclusion of the caretaker period. Legislative restrictions on political advertising apply during an election period. DEFINITIONS . This gives the incoming government greater freedom to pursue its electoral mandate. The caretaker period starts at the time the House of Representatives is dissolved and remains in place until the election result is clear – either the incumbent party retaining power, or in the case where there is to be a change of government, until the new government is appointed by the Governor-General. The Commonwealth guidelines say their application to individual cases “requires judgment and common sense”. There are also conventions that regulate government advertising during an election period. But, by convention, there are limits on what an incumbent government can do in this so-called “caretaker” period. Turnbull’s plan to fix the federation is bold – but can he deliver. TERM DEFINITION By-election . So when does the caretaker period start? Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said an election will be held on July 2, but that he will not ask the governor-general to dissolve parliament until after the budget is brought down. Both explained that compliance with the conventions ultimately rested with ministers, not public servants – and that public servants must comply with ministerial directions even when they believed they were in breach of the conventions. These are not strictly “caretaker conventions”. OPINION: Ahead of a near-certain double-dissolution election being called for July 2, Labor is warning the government that it needs to start acting in accordance with the “caretaker conventions”. In most election campaigns there is usually a stoush or two over whether the caretaker conventions have been breached. It argued that it was politically partisan. It even appears to be revelling in the announcement of important appointments. These are that an incumbent government avoids: “major policy decisions” that will commit an incoming government; If it is unavoidable for a government to make such a decision, it should do so in consultation with the opposition. Special arrangements apply in the lead up to an election, when the Government assumes a ‘caretaker’ role. There is some confusion, because the guidelines also provide for “pre-election consultation” between the opposition and appropriate government officials, subject to the government’s approval. Means an election to replace a councillor after the councillor’s office becomes vacant. The caretaker conventions’ central justification is that, once the House of Representatives has been dissolved and until the election result is known, the government is effectively governing without parliamentary oversight. The Commonwealth guidelines summarise the caretaker conventions, which come down to three deceptively simple rules. Behind this remarkable level of surface consensus on the caretaker conventions in the guidelines, however, lies a vast degree of disagreement over their scope and application to individual cases. Complaints were made to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the auditor-general. So, are we in caretaker mode yet? Labor was in known opposition to the project. The caretaker conventions also reduce the policies and funding commitments an incumbent government can lock an incoming government into. There is occasionally some confusion as to when the “caretaker period” starts. This opinion piece was first published in The Conversation. The Napthine government argued it signed the contract before the caretaker period started. The conventions are intended to reduce the politicisation of the public service, by taking away the ability of an incumbent government to inappropriately employ public servants in partisan activities during the election campaign.
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