I had hoped to have time to make new Irregular Webcomic! strips for this week, but I’ve been so busy I just couldn’t squeeze it in. So I’ve declared this a hiatus week and will hopefully get back to making some more for next week.
I had a full raft of ethics classes today, three in the morning plus an individual extension class in the afternoon. That ends the Buying and Selling topic. Tomorrow I need to write the new topic on Language, in time for three classes in a row in the evening. (So tomorrow is going to pretty busy too.) Also today I did outlines for the next three weeks of classes after that. I’m supposed to have outlines ready 4 weeks in advance, but I’ve neglected to keep up to date for three weeks!
In interesting news following Saturday’s election, today Anthony Albanese was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Australia. This was despite the election results not being finalised and—technically—it not being certain yet that he will actually win. It seems highly likely that he will be able to form government and become Prime Minister, but it is not guaranteed at this point. With vote counting still underway, it’s possible that the Labor Party will not win enough seats to command a majority in Parliament. If so, they will need to negotiate with the minor parties and independent MPs in order to secure enough supportive votes to form government. It’s possible (although as I said unlikely) that they will withhold their votes and that Albanese will not have been elected Prime Minister.
So why was he sworn in today?? I’m glad you asked!
Normally, the new Prime Minister would indeed not be sworn in until the election results are final and, in the case of a minority government, they had succeeded in negotiating support from the minor parties/independents. The previous government goes into “caretaker” mode at the calling of the election, and the previous Prime Minister remains in office as “caretaker PM” until the newly elected one is sworn in—after the election results have been finalised. The caretaker government retains full powers, but by convention doesn’t actually do anything except in cases of emergency*.
However, in this election there was a special case. The Quad Summit is an international leaders’ meeting held between Australia, the USA, Japan, and India, and this year’s meeting was scheduled to begin on 24 May – tomorrow. With election counting still underway and the result not yet finalised, but a defeat of the previous Prime Minister Scott Morrison looking almost inevitable, it would have been very bad for Morrison to actually go to the meeting as a caretaker Prime Minister with potentially only hours left in office. By convention, he would have been unable to commit Australia to any decisions there.
So, on Sunday (yesterday, the day after the election), Morrison officially resigned as Prime Minister. This forced the Governor-General to—according to the Australian Constitution—either appoint a new government or call a new election. Calling a new election while the results of the one held on Saturday are still being counted is obviously ludicrous, so the Governor-General chose to appoint the likely winner, Anthony Albanese, as an interim Prime Minister, until the election result is finalised and it is known if he will actually be able to form government and claim the role of Prime Minister. And so Anthony Albanese is now Prime Minister and flew to Tokyo today to join the Quad Summit tomorrow and negotiate with Joe Biden, Fumio Kishida, and Narendra Modi.
* Such as in 1914, when Britain declared war on Germany in the middle of an Australian election campaign, thus forcing the caretaker government to immediately begin making war plans.
New content today: