Motions of No-Confidence

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With the current turmoil in our Federal Parliament, this is a real possibiilty.

Labor has only to lose 2 seats and the Governor General may choose to dissolve the parliament

and call an election. This is a knife edge situation. Parliament could well be untenable with the

hostility the current speaker will face. Labor will now try to protect 2 members facing serious charges.

Will the Labor Govt. run it’s full term? This must now be in doubt.


A motion of no confidence (alternatively vote of no confidence, censure motion, no-confidence motion, or (unsuccessful) confidence motion) is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.

Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no confidence in an existing government, the head of state must respond in one of two ways:

In determining whether another individual can command the confidence of parliament, the head of state examines whether that individual has the backing of a parliamentary party, a coalition of parties and MPs, or an agreement of support with enough parliamentary seats to withstand any confidence challenges. If this cannot be done, parliament is dissolved and a general election is called.

In some cases, the sitting government will request that the head of state dissolve the elected parliament and call a new election without seeking the forming of another Government, such that it would remain in power during the election period. The head of state may agree to do this, depending on factors such as time until a mandated election, reasonable expectation of the forming of another government or in very rare circumstances, on royal prerogative alone. However, where the head of state believes the government no longer has the confidence of the responsible house (i.e., the directly elected lower chamber which can select and dismiss it; in some states both houses of parliament are responsible), a head of state may refuse a request for a parliamentary dissolution, so forcing an immediate resignation.

This procedure is either formalized through constitutional convention, as is the case in Westminster style parliaments such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia,[citation needed] or explicitly stated in a written constitution, as is the case with Germany [1] and Spain.[citation needed]

Sometimes, the government will choose to declare that one of its bills is a motions of confidence. This may be used to prevent dissident members of parliament from voting against it. Sometimes (depending on the country) a government may lose a vote because the opposition ends debate prematurely when too many government members are away.

In the Westminster system, the defeat of a supply bill (one that concerns the spending of money) automatically requires (by convention) the resignation of the government or dissolution of Parliament, much like a non-confidence vote, since a government that cannot spend money is hamstrung. This is called loss of supply.

Where the upper house of a Westminster system country has the right to refuse supply, such as in Australia during the events of 1975, the convention becomes a grey area as Westminster governments are not normally expected to maintain the confidence of the upper house.

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