Is Malcolm Turnbull taking longer than previous prime ministers to bring the Parliament back after the election?
Several times during the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard commentators and journalists suggest that Turnbull is dragging the chain on getting the parliament back in session. They seem to suggest that nothing is happening unless the parliament is sitting. It’s a seductive notion for those who deal in the theatre of parliament and the drama of set-piece occasions such as Question Time.
Of course, it’s a nonsensical argument. At any point in time, the parliament is likely not to be sitting. On average, it sits for around 70-80 days a year, in about 20 weeks of the year. For the rest of the time, the business of government is carried on by the executive and the public service.
Nevertheless, it set me wondering about the times parliament sits following an election. The table below shows the dates for the past 115 years, covering all 45 elections since 1901. [Read more…]