text below and answer the questions that follow the text.
The Senate and the
The GST has to get the
thumbs up from both houses of parliament. No problem in the lower house
- or house of representatives, the government has the most members there.
The next stop is the Senate, where it's not quite so easy.
The Senate. The Upper
House. The red chamber. This is where bills come for approval, to get
the big tick or the big flick. A bill is a suggestion for a new law
which has been presented to parliament and the GST is the hottest bill
being debated in the Senate at the moment. "The Coalition Government
wants a GST, the Labor Party is against it, and the Democrats would
like it changed to exclude food." (Mia Handshin - Political Commentator)
Getting the GST through
means getting the most numbers. In the Senate there are seventy six
senators. The states have twelve each and the territories have two each.
In the current Senate, the Coalition Government has thirty seven seats,
nine more than Labor's twenty eight. The Democrats have seven and the
other four go to the Greens and Independents. If the Democrats, the
Greens and Independents sided with the Labor Party and voted against
the GST, it wouldn't get through. But they could support the Coalition,
vote for a GST and then it would get through. It's called the balance
of power. "The balance of power is a situation where the governing party
can't get a bill through a house. It's also when one person or a party
holds the deciding vote." (Mia Handshin - Political Commentator)
The Democrats and the
Greens have already said 'no way' to the GST, unless changes are made.
The Government is busy trying to get support from independent Senator
Brian Harradine as he holds the balance of power. This is the Government's
first go at trying to get the GST through both houses of parliament.
If it doesn't get through the Senate, the Government can have two more
goes. Then if that doesn't succeed it may force an election." (Mia
Handshin - Political Commentator) The future of the GST won't be
decided until the Senate votes at the end of June.
(from Behind the News
What do these 2 phrases
2) The GST is the hottest
bill being debated in the Senate at the moment.
What does the phrase "
the hottest bill" mean in this sentence?
3) The Democrats are opposed
to the GST. Is this statement true or false? (Give reasons for your
4) If the Democrats,
the Greens and Independents sided with the Labour Party and voted
against the GST, it wouldn't get through.
a) Who or what are 'the
b) What does the phrase
'wouldn't get through' mean in this context?
5) This article says that
Senator Brian Harradine holds the balance of power. Can you explain
what this means?
6) The states have twelve
(senators) each and the territories have two each. What are 'the territories?'
7) Under what circumstances
might the issue of the GST force an election?
8. Write at least 10 lines
outlining your own views on the GST. Do you think Australia should have
it? Why? Why not?