Recently there has been a lot of news about the US Debt Crisis. Could something similar happen in Australia, for example if the senate refused to pass legislation allowing the government to spend money?


Nope. We have the safety valve of a Double Dissolution. :-)

Basically a mechanism exists to boot them all to an early election if they can't perform the basic function of a government.

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  • The Australian Senate is a rather interesting mix of American and English bicameral sensibilities. It has slightly less power than the House in that it can not create appropriation bills; but as a review body it works quite well. (Except for those people who don't grasp that the Senate under the control either party doesn't and shouldn't rubber-stamp laws regardless) – LateralFractal Oct 23 '13 at 5:59
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    " If the legislation is passed by the joint sitting, then the legislation is deemed to have passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate." - so, what happens if it is NOT passed even in joint sitting? – user4012 Oct 23 '13 at 16:04
  • Acts are normally the result f a bill being passed first in reps then in senate, or conversely first in senate then in reps. Joint sittings deal with bills after a double dissolution. Normally a government reelected after a double dissolution can command reps and senate on that bill without requiring a joint sitting. – Samuel Russell Oct 23 '13 at 21:45
  • @DVK The key difference is that the electorate has the choice to continuously re-elect a deadlocked legislature, without waiting for term limits to expire. But going through, say, 4 general elections in a year due to dissolution triggers would encourage the electorate to make up their mind quite quickly. Indeed I know of no case of a dissolved parliament being re-elected even once into the same deadlock. – LateralFractal Oct 23 '13 at 23:12
  • In addition to this, you also don't have the Antideficiency Act saying "You can't spend any money if it hasn't been approved". – Bobson Oct 24 '13 at 13:55

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