The Exercise of Reserve Powers in Victoria from 1912-1955
Australian Bar Review, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 198-214, 2014
19 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2014
The reserve powers of the monarch or his or her vice-regal representatives are rarely exercised. When they are exercised and the political players loudly object and dispute the legitimacy of their use, they become notorious parts of political history, etched on the public psyche, such as the King/Byng affair in Canada in 1926 and the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in Australia in 1975. In contrast, when the political players choose instead to accept what has happened and move on, the events become lost in history and their lessons ignored. This paper explores the rich history of the exercise of the reserve powers in the Australian State of Victoria from 1912-1955 and ponders how the players and the public in 1975 might have behaved differently if they had had a better understanding of this neglected constitutional history.
Keywords: Crown, reserve powers, prerogative powers, Governor, dismissal of government, refusal of dissolution, minority government, blocking supply, advice by judges, coalition government, constitutional history
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation