Former Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating, once famously described Australia’s Senate as “unrepresentative swill.” He was right. The composition of Australia’s Senate is bizarre. With equal representation (12 senators) from each of the states, Tasmania’s half a million voters has the same Senate clout as New South Wales’ seven million! There may have been some logic to protecting the rights of smaller states in the original Australian federation, but that logic has well and truly passed its use-by date.
I wonder what Keating would have to say about Thailand’s current constitutional proposal for an appointed Senate. I suspect it wouldn’t be pretty.
Does Thailand really need a Senate? Do we have so little faith in the checks and balances of the electorate, the judiciary, the media and civil society that we need a modern day council of elders overseeing (and obstructing) the affairs of state? Even the Democratexceptwhenwecannotwinanelectionandthenacoupisok Party seems to have reservations about this proposal:
Democratic Party deputy leader Jurin Laksanawisit lashed out at the charter for bringing back an undemocratic appointed senate. “Instead of reforming it they step back in time and hand over power to seven people to appoint senators,” he said. “Why don’t they allow the people to choose by themselves?”