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Westminster in the Antipodes

July 15th, 2013

I’ve written a piece for the Conversation about a side issue in the Rudd-Gillard contest, namely the view that, under the Westminster system, voters elect the politicians who then choose the PM. Rudd’s proposed reforms obviously contradict that. I argue that Rudd is effectively codifying the existing system, as established by the bulk of historical precedent and understood by voters, and rejecting the view of insiders (especially the kind who appear on Insiders, or so I’m told – I’ve never watched the show and plan never to do so).

As a side issue, my piece was extensively edited for publication. With the natural pride of authorship, I thought my original (over the fold) was better. But I’d be interested in a reality check on this from readers here.

As I’ve said before, I don’t want to rehash the substantive merits of Rudd and Gillard at further length here. If you want to have your say on this, go to the Crooked Timber post I’ve linked.

Kevin Rudd’s proposals to prevent the ALP Caucus from deposing a sitting Prime Minister has raised the hoary issue of the Westminster system. The dominant view among insider pundits is that, under the Westminster system, the voters elect members of Parliament and they (in practice, those who belong to the party with a Lower House majority, or the larger share of a coalition) choose the PM. This claim is debatable at best, nonsensical at worst.

To state the obvious, Westminster is on the other side of the planet, and the Parliament located there bears only a distant relationship to our own. Among the obvious differences are the presence of a (mostly) appointed Upper House, a hereditary Head of State and a Lower House elected on a first-past-the-post basis with voluntary voting. Within that system, parties have chosen their leaders using a range of methods, including ballots of party members.

More important, perhaps is the fact Australia is a federation with a written constitution, while the UK has no written constitution and is a quasi-unitary state.

The importance of the constitution is qualified by the fact that it prescribes very little about the way the country should be governed. It does not mention Prime Ministers or political parties, even though both were well-established features of the Westminster system when it is written. So, the relationship between the PM, the majority party in the Lower House (if there is one) and the Parliament as a whole is one of convention, and convention can evolve over time.

The way our system has worked in practice, at least since the creation of the Liberal party by Menzies, voters choose between candidates based on perceptions of the party leader and the party label. Well-liked local candidates may gain a handful of percentage points in the ballot, but this is of trivial importance overall. Since party allegiances are relatively stable, the decisive factor is normally the choice of leader.

The complicated part of the story is the way in which leaders are changed. Roughly speaking, the rules that have evolved are as follows

* Leaders defeated at an election normally resign, and can expect to be deposed if they do not
* The Opposition can change leaders whenever the majority of the Parliamentary party judges it to be desirable
* Incumbent Prime Ministers can be deposed in the face of imminent electoral disaster
* Defeated leaders can return if they are willing to wait long enough for their successors to fail

There have been only a handful of exceptions to the first rule in recent decades. Labor was more loyal to defeated leaders in the past, giving Chifley, Evatt and Calwell three tries each. Whitlam was given a second go after 1975 but resigned immediately after his loss in 1977. Beazley had a near-win in 1998, and was also given a second go in 2001. There are probably some more exceptions at the state level, though none come immediately to mind.

The second rule is uncontroversial, though of course the actual choices may be debated. Instances of the fourth include Howard in 1985, Peacock in 1989, Howard again in 1995, Beazley in 2005 and now Rudd.

The real difficulty, illustrated in the case of Rudd and Gillard, arises with the replacement of sitting Prime Ministers. On this issue, there is a clear conflict between the majority of voters, who assume that they are supposed to choose the PM, and the advocates of the Westminster system, who say that this right belongs to the Parliamentary Caucus of the party with a lower house majority. As was already noted, the Constitution is silent on this matter, so the question can only be resolved by looking at actual experience.

The two previous cases in the postwar era were those of John Gorton and Bob Hawke. Gorton only held office because the seemingly obvious choice, MacMahon hand been vetoed by Country Party leader John McEwen. As soon as McEwen retired, Gorton was dumped. This anomalous case tells us little, except perhaps that McEwen was a good judge of character.

Hawke’s defeat by Keating tends to support the Caucus supremacy view. However, Hawke’s defeat took place in dire electoral circumstances, comparable to the recent switch from Gillard to Rudd. The deep recession, and Hawke’s inability to respond to the Fightback! package proposed by Opposition leader John Hewson created a general view that Labor was doomed without a change. Arguably, the procedures now proposed by PM Rudd might have been invoked in this case.

At the state level, the case is similar. The dumping of Iemma and Rees by NSW Labor, and Baillieu by the Victorian Liberals took place when an electoral wipeout loomed, although the NSW moves proved unavailing and the case in Victoria has yet to be tested.

In all of this, then, the Rudd dumping in 2010 stands as an anomaly. Despite a couple of bad polls, Rudd was certainly not facing inevitable electoral disaster. As has been made abundantly clear, the main reasons for his removal were that a number of his colleagues, including some of the most senior, strongly disliked him, and that he had incurred the displeasure of factional heavyweights who commanded a substantial block of votes in Caucus.

Although Labor scraped back into minority government in 2010, it became clear over time that these grounds for removing a sitting PM were not regarded as sufficient by the majority of voters. Despite some substantial achievements, Gillard was never regarded as legitimate by many voters, and every mis-step she made was evaluated in this light.

The interpretation of the Westminster system favored by Canberra insiders has been weighed by the Australian public and found wanting. The changes proposed by Rudd represent, in essence, a codification of the existing situation rather than a radical change. It was the coup against Rudd in 2010 that was a breach of the rules as understood by their ultimate arbiters, the Australian public.

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  1. Alan
    July 15th, 2013 at 14:37 | #1

    I think there is a far easier reading. Australia’s major parties are anomalous in electing leaders by caucus alone. The Rudd proposals merely align the ALP with every other party in the democratic world outside Australasia, Westminster or otherwise.

    The degree of entrenchment of the insider view can be seen not only in programs like ‘Insiders’ where the Canberra elite interview each other about the concerns of elite from the perspective of the elite, but even in book titles like The party thieves where Rudd and Turnbull were identified as the thieves because it was so obvious to Barrie Cassidy, if not to the rest of us, that the ALP and LNP are the property of the Canberra elite, not the Australian people.

    Really its a wonder that the cast of Insiders are not required to slip into frockcoat, wig and beauty spot before they go on camera.

  2. Luke
    July 15th, 2013 at 15:00 | #2

    Excellent piece, thanks JQ.

    Something’s gone missing at the end of the 3rd last paragraph: “…the displeasure of factional heavyweights who commanded a nu”

  3. kevin1
    July 15th, 2013 at 17:01 | #3

    My impression is that the upward shift in the locus of power within the ALP over the last 30 years reflects the replacement of democratic control in favour of “fairness” as its dominant leitmotiv. The pervasiveness of professional management and its associated business models, specialists and consultants in sport, community orgs and NGOs, and all levels of government like “participation” but primarily for its integrationist and implementation potential, not for changing direction. So far Rudd’s proposals seem to be a modernising strategy not a democratising strategy, being aimed at reducing instability and presenting a solid front to the electorate rather than devolving power or giving the party back to the rank and file. Possibly he’s just at stage one of a reform strategy, but I’d expect him to be in support of Chris Bowen’s new book which reportedly proposes a break with the labour legacy by despatching union influence to the outer reaches. None of this is “back to the roots.”

    I’m still gobsmacked by the “born to rule” sense of entitlement from the newbie wanting to get preselected for Lalor, but moreso by the political fixers who tried to parachute her in. This demonstrates how rotten and contemptuous towards Labor’s constitutency they are and doing it in the present context how arrogant too.

  4. kevin1
    July 15th, 2013 at 17:16 | #4

    Re editing by The Conversation, at least no big grammar or spelling mistakes in your article – it’s very common in most of the stuff I read at TC, many more than you get in newspapers, magazines, or online.

    Instead of editing copy they’re re-writing articles to insert convoluted stuff like this: “The governor-general is, in theory, Australia’s head of state, rather than the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as is the case in the state that gifted Australia its political architecture.”

    I think you are a much better writer than they are.

  5. Luke Elford
    July 15th, 2013 at 19:54 | #5

    With regard to the editing, I think the comparison between the Australian and UK parliamentary systems wasn’t well integrated into the piece, and the editor tried to fix that but made a meal out of it (as kevin1 notes, their “gifted Australia its political architecture” sentence in particular is terrible). The relevance of each of the highlighted differences to the question of who, exactly, chooses the prime minister isn’t made clear. If the point is just that Australia’s political system is so different from the UK’s that saying “Westminster system” doesn’t really mean anything, I would have gone through the differences chronologically to demonstrate how Australia’s system has evolved over time to be unique, starting with the very writing of a constitution, its establishment of the Senate, the introduction of compulsory voting and then preferential voting, and so on, before linking back to discuss the fact that the constitution doesn’t mention the prime minister, so it’s all just a matter of convention anyway. In particular, more could have been made of the irony that, while the constitution attempted to model Australia’s parliamentary system after the UK’s, its very writing was the first step in the development of a significantly different system. An explicit statement that Australia’s system should be judged on its own terms would have made things clearer.

  6. TerjeP
    July 15th, 2013 at 21:38 | #6

    I see the Rudd leadership reform as a mixed bag. I can see the sense in taking leadership speculation against a sitting ALP PM out of the mix and the reform should certainly do that. However I think the 75% threshold really is too high. Especially so when the ALP is in opposition. And needlessly so given the 30 day leadership campaign is also something of a deterrent against leadership spills.

    The other risk with this reform is that major parties win office by appealing to median voters. ALP members tend to have a left of centre bias. Will they pick leaders with less appeal to median voters? It’s hard to say but they might make the ALP less electable.

    On the question of increasing party membership I’d instinctively think it was a plus but the evidence from abroad seems mixed. Do you still need to be a member of a trade union to join the ALP?

    The other risk is that it may create expensive leadership contests that have more to do with good marketing than proven performance within caucus.

    Over all the initiative seems pretty good but it may yet get scuttled at the ALP National Conference. Although I suspect the entire ALP machine will have a strong incentive to downplay that possibility this side of a federal election.

    I agree that this is entirely a matter for the ALP and has little to do with supporting or compromising our system of government.

  7. rog
    July 15th, 2013 at 22:57 | #7

    The 75% threshold also occurrs in company takeovers (compulsory acquisition) and deed of arrangement.

  8. Robert in UK
    July 16th, 2013 at 01:50 | #8

    The following Guardian article by Ryan Goss (a constitutional lawyer) is also very helpful: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/10/kevin-rudd-labor-party-reforms?CMP=twt_gu . The idea that the reforms go against Westminster traditions is hard to sustain.

  9. El Poppin
    July 16th, 2013 at 07:19 | #9

    “Kevin Rudd’s proposals to prevent the ALP Caucus from deposing a sitting Prime Minister has raised the hoary issue of the Westminster system. The dominant view among insider pundits is that, under the Westminster system, the voters elect members of Parliament and they (in practice, those who belong to the party with a Lower House majority, or the larger share of a coalition) choose the PM. This claim is debatable at best, nonsensical at worst.”

    My understanding is that under section 64 of the Constitution the Prime Minister is appointed by the Monarch/GG and by convention it is the leader of the largest political party or coalition. Hence members of parliament choose the PM. As a voter I don’t tick a box that says PM. So if a PM dies in office, the members of Parliament will elect the new PM. How this can be debatable or nonsensical escapes me.

    “Since party allegiances are relatively stable, the decisive factor is normally the choice of leader.”

    It has been documented that party allegiances were far stronger from the 40s, through to the 80s. These days party membership is well down as a % of population compare to earlier decades.

    “As has been made abundantly clear, the main reasons for his removal were that a number of his colleagues, including some of the most senior, strongly disliked him, and that he had incurred the displeasure of factional heavyweights who commanded a substantial block of votes in Caucus.”

    The statement above makes it sound as if the leadership was a capricious tiff. It has been well reported that the Rudd was incapable of delegating, he could not work with the head of the public service nor his colleagues; his office was an impenetrable fortress where diktats were issued. The first hint of this came immediately after the 2007 election win when he ambushed caucus with the diktat that he will personally select the ministry, a suggestion made by The Australian on its editorial. And the fact that Rudd could not muster more than 30 votes in caucus is an indication that the dislike is not just between the senior colleagues and factional heavyweights (two of which happen to be both).

    It could also be argued that the destabilisation by Rudd and his small group of supporters white anted the ALP. Also the press was and remains overtly partisan for example Fairfax gave a gig to Peter Costello and Amanda Vanstone for fair and balanced commentary, etc.

    As for the changes that Rudd has proposed I can only look towards the Australian Democrats who actually have always had the direct participation model and ended up in tears when members of the Senate could not work with one another.

    The consequences of adopting these reforms could be very dire for the ALP. If the cabinet cannot work with the PM then they may be tempted to resign en masse leading to all sorts of constitutional issues and for the ALP to follow the AD. Or perhaps even better to the assassination of the sitting PM – this is certainly the lesson that I would take from the Rudd/Gillard saga.

    Has the current system been found wanting? I am not sure because I remember Bob Hawke’s line against the Coalition in the 80s: “How can they govern the country when they can’t govern their own party?”

  10. Ikonoclast
    July 16th, 2013 at 07:23 | #10

    I don’t think there was anything wrong with our Constitution or our Westminster conventions in the particular original instance under consideration; namely the ouster of Rudd by the Gillard faction. N1.

    The wrong or ill or stupidity (all three actually) lay in its entirety with Gillard and her supporters, morally and intellectually, and with the Australian Labor Party, organisationally. Thus reform is a matter for the Labor Party.

    For the electorate, the lesson Labor have been giving us for a long time is that they are merely Neoliberal Lite. The electorate needs to ditch both Neoliberal parties… and the best we have is a Light Green Party which still embraces bourgeois economics. Pretty sad really.

    Note 1: This does not mean I think the entire constitution is perfect.

  11. TerjeP
    July 16th, 2013 at 08:44 | #11

    Gary Johns argues in The Australian today that the Rudd reform doesn’t work in the context of rule 5(d) of the ALP constitution. Any future caucus can walk away from the new rule. Of course the ALP constitution could be amended but not by caucus.

    That said Rudd is good at getting away with illusions of reform that never actually get delivered. And he is now apparently a long ago survived of the Kokoda trail, so basically a national hero anyway.

  12. Alan
    July 16th, 2013 at 09:58 | #12

    The plan is to take the rule changes to a national conference in due course. A couple of months before an election is not really an ideal time to abandon campaigning and convene a national conference.

    It cannot be long until we hear from the LNP’s advocates on this blog that reform is an invisible substance and therefore does not count under Abbot’s Law of Electoral Metaphysics. For myself, I am working on seeing air so that I can continue to breathe.

  13. RussellW
    July 16th, 2013 at 11:14 | #13

    Professor,

    “..my piece was extensively edited for publication.” You’re being rather too charitable, “hacked” is a more appropriate term for the practice of inserting text not written by the author. The original is far superior to TC’s version. Why wasn’t the insertion included as an editor’s note?

    It’s realistic to assume that a substantial proportion of the public thinks that we elect PMs, that’s probably due to 80 years of Hollywood, the MSM’s obsession with US politics and compulsory voting, however Gillard’s real transgression was that she was really not competent and an electoral liability.
    Previous usurpers have been “forgiven” if they were winners.

  14. John Quiggin
    July 16th, 2013 at 11:32 | #14

    @El Poppin

    Section 64 makes no reference to the Prime Minister, nor does any other section of the constitution. As regards conventions, they are determined by established practice, and validated by electoral outcomes.

    @Terje Gary Johns is showing his usual silliness/dishonesty. If a majority of Caucus attempted to ignore the rules, they would have no sanction against a minority who refused to support their preferred leader, and would in any case face electoral annihilation. As for illusory reforms, this is nonsense and contradicts the other claim routinely made by his critics that he did too much and ran up gigantic debts (ETS, NBN, fiscal stimulus etc).

  15. July 16th, 2013 at 23:20 | #15

    Pr Q said:

    The interpretation of the Westminster system favored by Canberra insiders has been weighed by the Australian public and found wanting. The changes proposed by Rudd represent, in essence, a codification of the existing situation rather than a radical change. It was the coup against Rudd in 2010 that was a breach of the rules as understood by their ultimate arbiters, the Australian public.

    I heartily agree. Canberra insiders interpretation of political process is remarkably aligned with Canberra insiders political interests. Quelle surprise.

    Not so long ago I was prepared to countenance a bit of low-level Machiavellianism within the AUS political system, basically on the principle of circuit breaking, getting things done as a fait accompli and then moving on once it was a done deal. There is a time and place for Machiavellianism, generally in a crisis, when the threat is imminent and the people are unprepared. Australia in the early 21st does not fit those conditions.

    Moreover the comprehensive discrediting of “Richo-ism” both in NSW and now at the federal level has shown the error of this way. NSW is not a good role model, its moral values are somewhat out of whack.

    Insider politics is basically another example of the cursed elitism that has deformed liberal politics this past generation or so. Just as elitism has deformed the distributions of economic rewards and the construction of cultural values.

    There is wisdom in crowds, especially Australian ones who generally have well-attuned BS detectors and are capable of making their own minds up. Also they do not like being conned and disapprove of political skullduggery. I would rather be ruled by a few hundred names pulled out of a hat than all the so called experts who make careers out of political machinations.

  16. Alan
    July 17th, 2013 at 00:20 | #16

    I would rather be ruled by a few hundred names pulled out of a hat than all the so called experts who make careers out of political machinations.

    One of the things I cannot forgive the former prime minister for is giving citizens assemblies such a bad name. Citizens assemblies have been quite successful in the Netherlands, Canada and Iceland.

  17. John Quiggin
    July 17th, 2013 at 05:02 | #17

    @Alan

    Citizens assemblies are potentially a useful idea, but not for resolving issues where the community is already sharply divided on party lines. That’s what elections are for.

  18. TerjeP
    July 17th, 2013 at 10:11 | #18

    As for illusory reforms, this is nonsense

    I was thinking more of things like the health referendum that was promised.

  19. Jim Birch
    July 17th, 2013 at 14:25 | #19

    One absolutely enormous benefit of the 75% rule would be to stop the reporting of Labor governments as an ongoing leadership battle. This is not only directly destabilising to the government, but the concerning long term outcome is that it trivialises commentary away from actual policy analysis to something more like the spiel that accompanies professional wrestling. This is a good for the country not just the Labor Party.

    We have a powerful but vestigial attraction for top-layer dominance battles. In a chimpanzee troupe – and presumably a Palaeolithic human tribe – such battles are clearly worth observing closely since they can impact comparative advantages and/or survival of non-combatants. Swift judicious personal realignments may be required.

    In a modern complex, (relatively) stable society with multiple intersecting organisational patterns, the impulse is essentially an anachronistic psychological bias. I can report that the life adjustments I have had to make to cope with the change of PM are absolutely nil. I’d expect ditto for the majority of Australians unless they happen to be running a work car tax scam.

  20. Jim Rose
    July 17th, 2013 at 14:37 | #20

    israel used to elected their prime minister but he still had to form a government with a Knesset majority within 45 days.

    a failed experiment intended to reduce political fragmentation but it increased it.

    a leader who cannot resign or walk away is weaker that one with more options – threat points

  21. derrida derider
    July 17th, 2013 at 15:16 | #21

    The only thing worse for the ALP than having a PM which his/her parliamentary colleagues have no confidence in is to have such a one but be unable to get rid of him/her. Picking up El Poppin’s point, the if these reforms had been in place in 2010 there likely would have been a mass resignation from Cabinet rather than a knifing of the source of the problem.

    As Terje pointed out Branch memberships are not exactly the median voter, so giving them a direct say is not likely to make the leadership of the party better reflect the wider electorate’s wishes – the point you keep trying to make (if the Branch membership decided it then we’d probably have Kim-il-Carr as today’s leader). Whereas, for better or worse, MPs do have to pay attention to the marginal voters’ wish on this question – as we recently saw.

  22. Alan
    July 17th, 2013 at 21:27 | #22

    Sorry, it’s antiquated pseudo-Burkean nonsense to claim that MP’s are better representatives of the median voter or indeed to claim that the median voter should be determinative of who becomes the Labor leader.

    Playing to the median voter is what destroyed the Gillard government, who were so focused on that mythical individual that they ignored what actual Labor voters wanted on the theory it might scare either the horses or the median redneck. They also convinced themselves somehow the median voter lives in a freezer and never changes. That is why their ‘clever’ politics on marriage equality succeeded only in persuading people that the government believed in nothing. The 2010 median voter opposed marriage equality. The 2013 median voter has changed their mind.

    Labor senators are owned lock, stock and barrel by the unions who control the state conferences which pre-select senate candidates. You occasionally find an MHR with their own base in the electorate who is not similarly owned lock, stock and barrel by a union but they are as rare as hen’s teeth. In Queensland, for instance, the MP for Griffith is the only example.

    ‘Union’ is actually not quite the right expression in an environment where most unions are tightly controlled by narrow and self-perpetuating oligarchies that are often actually dynastic. It is no accident that quite so many AWU officials have the same surname and that was also true of the CFMEU under John Maitland.

    Barry Jones doesn’t seem to think that the caucus decides leadership by a rational process directed to the attainment of the good, the true and the beautiful:

    Delegates to conferences are not shop assistants, builders’ labourers or sheet metal workers, but officials of the appropriate unions, often with degrees, not part of the workforce that they ostensibly work for, looking eagerly for the possibility of political advancement.

    The development of national factions constitutes, in effect, the privatisation of the party, with factional warlords engaged in carving up the assets, rewarding factional loyalty and promoting an almost feudal code of allegiance. Factions are essentially executive placement agencies.

    You don’t have a choice between philosopher-kings in caucus and the great unwashed beating on the door to get in. You have a choice between a corrupt, oligarchic party and one that responds to the aspirations and needs of its members and voters.

  23. Tim Macknay
    July 18th, 2013 at 11:43 | #23

    @TerjeP

    I was thinking more of things like the health referendum that was promised.

    In his defence, Rudd was nobbled before he had the opportunity to hold a referendum on health. Nicola Roxon confirmed that he did actually intend to do it at the 2010 election.

    That said, I agree that Rudd Mk I tended to over-promise and under-deliver. Whether Rudd Mk II will be any different is an open question.

  24. Martin Spalding
    July 19th, 2013 at 10:57 | #24

    Nice piece & interesting comments. But seriously, you can’t keep putting that line out there that you don’t want to rehash the ‘substantive merits of Rudd v Gillard’, then proceed to deliver a topic where R v G is the elephant in the room.

    There is no point in talking about systems to appoint, retain and remove leaders without referring to recent examples of how they were done, and the merits of those. I know we have done this to death, but to me the blindingly obvious consequence of any system like Rudd’s that entrenches the leader’s power is that it would make bad leaders hard for a party to remove. It may well have saved Gillard recently – and that’s something I know this blog would not have liked.

  25. Jim Rose
    July 20th, 2013 at 11:58 | #25

    derrida derider :
    …Picking up El Poppin’s point, the if these reforms had been in place in 2010 there likely would have been a mass resignation from Cabinet rather than a knifing of the source of the problem.

    didn’t that just happen but to no effect: senior ministers refused to serve under Rudd; and more said that they would not serve when Rudd challenged before.

    thatcher survived serveral years of resignations

  26. harleymc
    July 21st, 2013 at 19:41 | #26

    If this proposal becomes codified, the correct way of deposing a Labor Prime Minister will be to cross the floor on a no confidence motion. After the conservatives pick up the government, dump the leader of the Labor opposition and install a new party leadership, then moving a no-confidence motion in the conservatives. Easy peasy.

  27. J-D
    July 21st, 2013 at 20:20 | #27

    @TerjeP
    I think your characterisation of the ALP rule on union membership isn’t strictly accurate. As I understand it, the rule is and was that ALP members who work in jobs that have union coverage must belong to the relevant union. I haven’t heard that this has been changed. If I understand the rule correctly, it would not have required somebody like Bob Carr, who joined the party as a 15-year-old school student, to be a union member.

    Speaking of Bob Carr, he’s an example of an Opposition Leader at State level who was not dropped from the leadership after losing an election; he led the Opposition from after the election defeat of 1988, through the defeat of 1991, and then on through the return to Government in 1995. In John Quiggin’s home State, and on the other side of politics, Rob Borbidge’s leadership survived defeats as Opposition Leader in 1992 and as Premier in 1998, and Lawrence Springborg’s survived defeat as Opposition Leader in 2004. There are plenty of other recent examples to show that the State political environment is more forgiving of defeated leaders than the Federal one, even in recent years, although in recent years it has become less forgiving than it was in the long-ago, so the general trend does seem to be in the same direction.

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  29. Jim Rose
    July 24th, 2013 at 19:58 | #29

    There have been occasions when party leaders would not resign as PM or permier when deposed by their party.

    Bjelke-Petersen refused to resign for 4 days.

    Vince Gair split from labor when the state executive expelled him and half the Cabinet in 1957.

    Billy Hughes and 24 others split from the Labor party to join with the conservatives in 1916.

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