Government authority can be described as the power to prescribe and the power to enforce such prescription. The term 'power' is often used as a synonym for 'authority', for example, when referring to the separation of powers doctrine. A contentious issue in the history of Western political thought is the problem of how to control governmental power. Although governmental power is essential to the realisation of certain values in societies, such as justice, freedom and equality before the law, every government may deteriorate and become destructive of the values it was intended to promote. The fundamental place of parliament in a democratic constitutional system is undisputed; its real role and influence, however, is more debatable. The question that arises is whether parliaments should be regarded as rubber-stamp chambers for the majority party?