The constitutional principle is that a government must have the confidence of Parliament. Here the Governor-General commissions Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister on the understanding this will be announced in the House within hours. It was open to the House to resolve that it had no confidence in the Prime Minister. It did not.

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Whatever we think of the political machinations, the constitutional system works smoothly – and has in this country worked smoothly from the middle of the 19th century in a way which few systems have. That is why ACM says that the onus is on those who would trash our oldest constitutional institution to first tell the people what they would put in its place. Then they must demonstrate why it would be better.

 The  Swan-Turnbull republican push does not get to first base.