Sunday, February 17, 2013

Basil has passed away.

From Peter, Basil's son, Basil passed away in Dec 2012. His posts will remain here for a while.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

National Revival and Unity

Tim Colebatch (The age 19/6/12) writes that a sense of common purpose that we had with Menzies, and Hawke was lost under Whitlam. Why so?

Certainly, Whitlam had an agenda to ‘fix’ society, by a Labor government long out of office and alive with a ‘left’ agenda to be achieved in short time. Menzies and Hawke were ‘in touch’ with the wider electorate, including the ‘forgotten people – the middle class. While Menzies was an astute politician Hawke had a wide humanitarian appeal with ‘common touch’.

Howard was too authoritarian with roots in business, while Rudd failed to be a team man. Will Gillard succeed? Only the next election will prove whether her strength of purpose is matched by a political acumen in the taut politics of the hung parliament and the ‘relentless’ pressure of Abbott and crew in their pursuit of power.

Where shall we go? What shall we do?

Our dependence on leaders is our and their downfall. That’s the party system. They do as they will because we let them. Then we punish them by replacing them when they don’t satisfy. The result is short-termism in government as they look nervously towards the next election. And so it goes on, an on – see saw government.

Is there an answer? If you have followed this blog you will by now be quite clear about the answer! A national revival and unity reached by the invasion of our hapless parliaments.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Our deteriorating democracy

Tim Soutphommasane writes (Age 18/6/12) with some alarm that the trend in our democracy has degenerated into a materialistic low with money and wealth dominating our democracy. Noting that this phenomenon tends to be cyclical which Tim Colebatch (The Age 19/6/12) attributes to the varying quality of past leaders.

That our democracy has degenerated into a competition to find the best leaders to advance our economic status is sad, when we remember that one ex judge believed that the promise of democracy is to enhance morality. Tim Sout notes that the ‘…expansion in education has not resulted in greater political knowledge or civic virtue’. Why not?

Both commentators are disturbed by the fallen standard of contemporary political debate, which they describe in such terms as ‘toxic’, ‘poisonous’ and ‘strident’. Furthermore, cartoonists seem free to express extreme contempt at our elected leaders.

What is clear is that ‘we get the government that we deserve’. If democracy is government ‘by’ the people as Abraham Lincoln observed, and I believe he was spot on, clearly we have failed to keep up with our responsibility to participate in government, and politicians do what they do because they can. They know that material benefit is influential in our midst.

Colebatch heads his article ‘In not so joyful strains’ clearly suggesting that national attitudes expressed in our national anthem have been undermined. There can be no joy when the earlier values of mateship and sacrifice have been swept up in materialistic fear and conflict. After all, our wealth owes more to our lucky mineral resources than the hard, often harsh, experience of the past, which fed a modest personal pride in our country.

We do indeed need a new vision for our country, one which calls for, and builds on, our past national strengths and successes. Our leaders must challenge and inspire us.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Democracy unpopular!

Democracy unpopular in a poll! Is it any wonder, when the ballot is still missing from our parliaments?

Some think that such a parliament could not make decisions. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

At every election millions of us go to the polls to elect our 150 representatives - by secret ballot - quietly and with finality (despite distorting electoral factors beyond our control).

Why should we believe that good policies could not stand out in the parliamentary debate, each gaining a winning margin of independent secret ballot votes - especially with constituents nudging members in public forums.

Is it that hard to understand? Where is the will for change to a much better democracy??

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Australia – when I am gone.

A series of articles forecasting inevitable changes in our society.

Our presently fragmented society will merge into a unified society in which differing religious and other beliefs will exist but not wreck the unity of our country, being all subservient to 'government by the people'. It will have the common themes of ‘what is good for us all in a growing multicultural population, and ‘what can we do to uplift the wellbeing of other, backward nations’. How will all this occur? While mankind has the inherent ability to think, leading to commonsense solutions. In brief, commonsense will need to become much more common.

All parliaments will be conducted without political parties which used to stir up selfish attitudes and partisan contention. State and federal parliament relationships will function in a supportive and cooperative model, crossing the dots with better linkage of policy formulation. One such radical rearrangement - See National Revival website – has important potential.

Communities will all be represented in our parliaments by independent members who, by regular forum consultation, will encourage the people to participate, resulting in a constant confidence in our parliaments to deal with stubborn problems - within the context of the above-mentioned aims and principles of unity and responsibility,. Loud and aggressive voices will have been already quietened by the civilised, face-to-face discussion in the regular forums generated by all the independent members. Frank analysis and open discussion of all controversial matters will create a close working relationship between members and constituents, giving each community a ‘friend at court’. The people will be reassured with confidence and respect for the democratic process, while each satisfactorily performing member could be unopposed at the next (very quiet) election.
Forum discussion will retain room for any citizen’s concerns to be ardently, even passionately advocated where necessary, to progress the community to effective conclusions, without the danger of loud voices (or heavy money) ever dominating the ultimate policies to be represented in parliament. In the face of the new community involvement with the independent representatives, the power of local media to wield political influence will fail.
Economic factors which trigger street crime, youth suicide, domestic tensions, drug and problem alcohol involvement, will all come under public airing and scrutiny in local meetings, developing a strong and caring community life.

More to come – crisis in our parliaments!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Letter to the Prime MInister

Dear Prime Minister, It is surely time to oust the party system which gave us the problem of the hung parliament and is now bringing Australian democracy to such disrepute as to hear our people’s parliament described as ‘toxic’, and even ‘ferocious’, on tonight’s 7.30 report.

You have a fragile hold on power but there is something you could do to commend to the people a reform that will rattle the teeth of all opponents of real democracy.

May I therefore respectfully request that you seriously consider implementing a referendum to permanently establish an electronic secret voting system for every vote of members in parliament. (Goodbye party politics!)

Ballots in our parliament will confine members to clean, issue-based debate, creating decisions by parliament itself—pure parliamentary democracy. Parliamentary debate will centre on policy persuasion, (not personalities), often being intense, even passionate, in advocacy for needed change. Decisions by ballot will be made without undue delay, accurately reflecting public opinion, as members enjoy a new freedom to consult with constituents and powerfully represent them in parliament.

There is more. Parties may come and go, but with the secret ballot established in our parliament(s), only the members, (dependent solely on their constituents for re-election) will come and go. Parliament itself being ‘the government’ could never fall.

Ministers? The members themselves will choose them—by ballot!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Christians and politics!

Some people say that we need more Christians in politics! That’s what’s wrong! Sorry! That’s not the answer! There are quite a variety of ‘Christians’ in our parliaments, many no doubt struggling with its dominating partisan nature, but some apparently not!

Quote from ebook: ‘OUT WITH THE PARTIES – A PARLIAMENTARY REVOLUTION' ‘It is evident that party MPs are often quite troubled by the pressure to conform. On one occasion, Brigadier Jim Wallis AM, SAS retired, Executive Chairman of the Australian Christian Lobby, related how one MP friend actually broke down while confiding to him how he had felt when forced by his party to go against his conscience on a critical issue. With a member of conscience in tears, there has to be something radically wrong with our politics.' Quite!

Furthermore, any reading of the New Testament could not miss the condemnation of partisanship in both the gospels and the epistles, with a plain and exclusive emphasis on the unity of the love of God in Christ. Need I say more?

Except perhaps to add that: ‘the love of power is the love of self, but the love of democracy is the love of others’.

Is there not therefore a very real question hanging over our politics, with many participants professing Christian belief, but nonetheless engaging in the pursuit of party power?

(However, a genuine democracy requires the participation of all who will love God and neighbour before self.)

Of: FORUMS and forums

There are serious gaps in the practice of our theoretical democracy, with government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people, (government BY the people being perhaps of foremost importance, because without that, the OF and the FOR are compromised). Thus, the deficiency in government BY the people means that government OF and FOR the people just cannot happen, because of the conflicting pressures of ungoverned interests.

So, what do we do? The reason for democracy’s failure is the absence of realistic forums, for which FORUMS miss the points completely – and perhaps also deliberately.

A few days ago our local member completed a run of FORUMS in the community, in which influential groups were able to put their case with the local member presiding. But it was about their needs and his ability to help, if they voted for him! The last, with the leader of the opposition speaking, was confined in numbers to a limited number who had paid a fee for their place. Whether political donations were sought in addition – ‘cash for influence’ I do not know, but wonder!

These ‘forums’ were not convened with free access for dissidents in mind and cannot in any sense be seen as facilitating a process of government BY the people. They represented a continuation of the political disease of party politics. So, what is the solution?

The elimination of this disease depends entirely on removal of its root cause – the system of all members voting openly in our parliaments which enables and supports the venal party system.

A change to a secret ballot for all decisions in parliament is all that is required to change the representation of all members from party to independent.

Clearly, all the members would then be obliged to run free forums regularly in each electorate, soon becoming loyal supporters of constituents’ views in their forums’ free exchange of ideas about the process of government. They will quickly establish an ongoing rapport with the people, forming a vital link between people and parliament which would soon reconstitute government as government BY the people. A true government OF the people and FOR the people is thus assured as well. Can anyone dispute the validity of this claim?

Your view is welcome -