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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?

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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.

  • 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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