Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chipp failed democracy

Chipp (and his Democrats) have failed because they rejected the goal of
eliminating party ideological politics through secret ballots in
parliament. Had they done so their success would have stunned the major
But all AD leaders have preferred the temporary success of pursuing
political power, despite the name they adopted.
Meanwhile, our democracy continues to stumble.
Only ballots in parliament can free all our representatives to truly
represent us in government, by discussing the problems with their
constituents in regular public meetings, and voting independently for us
in parliament.
A partnership of parliament and people is absolutely essential to any
successful resolution of the difficult problems ahead of us.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shrinking Democracy - re Age article

To Professor George Williams
Good to see your article in today's Age. The question is - what can be done about it?

This party has done a little bit but, despite the wealth of critism and unhappiness at the deterioration of our politics toward authoritarian government, there is little real response, with so many hoodwinked, believing the propaganda about our low unemployment and our 'healthy' economy.
(What happens when the family jewels run out in a generation of so. Who
really cares?)

The introduction of 'our democracy' to other countries is a joke. Is it a blessing to the people in America? Here in Australia? No way.

Has it worked in New Guinea? It's a mess. Is it working in East Timor? That's a mess too. Is it working out in Iraq? No that's a mess too.

What can be wrong? Simple. The basis of our notion of democracy has a fundamental flaw - party politics.
It is common in political writings to recognise that there is a serious problem, but no acknowledgement that our politics, structured around a party system is not real democracy at all - a hybrid - and disastrous.
Some have even said that there can be no democracy without parties.
'Blind leaders of the blind'! The tragedy of this view is that political parties have proved the death of democracy.

Let's not be deceived. If the rot were not slow people might wake up but, like the frog on the stove, we are being gradually boiled helpless.
We are being carefully conditioned for authoritarian government.
To compare our drift to prewar Germany might seem passe, but the trend is very clear. Our concept of democracy is a house of cards, collapsing where it is most needed.

Our devotion to 'democracy' is in name only. The Eureka miners would be horrified. Their deaths gave us a start in the right direction - with the ballot for elections. This revolutionary idea was bitterly resisted, as threatening chaos. Wrong. It opened the way for a period of real progress and prosperity which made Victoria the leading state, able to handle well the turmoil of the gold rush and the wealth of the people.
There is much turmoil ahead for us and we need the connection of the disconnected public, with real representation, not by parties but by representatives. Only the ballot in parliament can recreate the power of a politically connected people.
Basil Smith
03 9800 2561

Saturday, June 03, 2006

East Timor & Iraq, and Democracy

The breakdown of struggling ‘democracy’ in East Timor (and Iraq) prompts the question whether ‘European’ democracy is actually suitable for less developed countries.

The object of government, and the measure of its success, is the combined achievement of the community through popular cooperation.

The cooperation of the people may be achieved in:
1. Dictatorship, by leadership, propaganda and coercion – clearly a no-no.
2. A two-or-more-party state by leadership, propaganda and by appeal to the acquisitive instincts of the people. However, the problems engendered by the escalating consumption of (and competition for) global resources and the resulting environmental problems must soon force a revision of this basis of government.
3. A non-party state (e.g. Britain in wartime) by leadership and the willing sacrifices of the people – clearly the ideal in view of the damage to our environment by our self-centred consumerism. However, we willing need to use our intelligence to find the secret of non-party government without waiting for crisis, which might indeed be international chaos.
In A.A.Milne’s classic tale of Winnie-The-Pooh, ‘Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs … bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head … It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.’
Party politics to a T. There is another way for us – ballots in our parliaments.

We need better democracy, but few are listening. Especially do we need to be aware that a future crisis, quite on the ‘cards’, is more likely to produce a to dictatorship than a better democracy. Machiavelli mentioned the need for concentration of power in government in time of war. Britain’s monarchy enabled the smooth wartime transition from party government to Grand Coalition. This cannot be regarded as a normal to democracies generally.
We need to stop ‘bumping down the stairs and think’. This is not an option.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Who will bell the cat?

Joo-Cheong Tham, (Melbourne Age 26/5), in your excellent article 'Party Funds threaten democracy', you recommend that we 'institute limits on the amount the parties can spend, to ... promote a level-playing field and...stanch the demand for private funds' for elections.'

But, who is going to do it?

I am reminded of the Aesop's Fable, about the little mice forming the plan to solve their problems by putting a bell on kitty's neck.
However Grandma mouse sees a flaw in the plan. 'Who shall bell the

Many and varied are the problems caused by the power of party governments to ignore public opinion, thus destroying democracy.

But where is the political will to put an end to it. The only answer lies with ballots in our parliaments - for every decision.

The fable concludes with the MOTAL: 'Many a plan has just one flaw: No one has the courage to try it.'

The Secret Ballot Party plans to 'bell the cat'.

Basil Smith 111/100 Harold St. Wantirna. 3152. 9800 2561

Secret Ballot Party

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Unpublished Letter to the Age (Melbourne) 23/5/06

'A Call to Arms',(The Age 22/5).
Anne Mancini calls for a 'united effort from the thousands of angry Australians who want to hand on a respected democracy to their descendants'. She has a point! What's wrong, you ask?

The domination of our democracy by party executives has progressively destroyed the fundamental element of a genuine democracy - real representation, and accountability of MPs to their constituents - not to party heirarchies or minority interests.

The Secret Ballot Party has the sole objective of a referendum to free our representatives to decide all debates in parliament (and elect all ministers) by secret ballot.

Some object that: 'But you wouldn't know how they vote', ignoring how bankrupt is that privilege, when we, as unorganised individuals, are helpless to influence outcomes on any specific matter at all, even at elections.

With the ballot in parliament, representatives will no longer be controlled, or endorsed, by parties. They will therefore need to hold regular public meetings to win constituent support.

In such local meetings a 'respected democracy' will certainly reappear, as we take hold on the new opportunity for effective participation.
Then the 'anger of thousands' will be dissipated in a confident, purposeful community life, with stable, accountable parliamentary government.


Secret Ballot Party
03 9800 2561

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Christians - Our Democracy needs YOU !

The situation with regard to our democracy is really quite serious.
Ongoing concerns with the local, and international drift away from democracy go back many years. Control of our representatives votes by party leaders is destroying democratic government, and the wellbeing of the people. That is why we are establishing the Secret Ballot Party, to pursue the only real solution - the rule of the ballot in our parliaments.
The party's main need at this early stage is a few hundred members - no money or further involvement - to gain the attention of the people to this reform, the merit of which will make its own momentum amongst 'non-political' people, and arrest the slide away from the rule of the people, and the pernicious doctrine that neither we, nor our opinions are needed.

People often say: "I'm not politically inclined." This fairly common view, leaving it to the politicians, is causing a drift away from democratic government. (Let's never forget the Reich.)
Leaving it all to the 'government' is not democracy; nor is being merely content to vent our spleen at an election. As someone has said: However you vote, all you get is the 'government' - which is not 'by the people'.

To counter this drift we need the change in the operation of parliament so that all decisions are made by ballot so that representatives, as a body, decide the laws and courses of action, not a Prime Minister, or ministers exercising control of party members' votes.

The question of accountability worries some. There is no cause. All party politicians will be effectively dis-endorsed, reducing them to independent status, entirely dependent upon their constituents for re-election. Their logical, and only feasible response will be to conduct regular monthly meetings of, and for, the people, who will quickly sense their vulnerability, and not be backward in making their
views known, with all the insistence deemed necessary.
Woe betide that representative who treats the constituents lightly. Any deviousness will quickly bring down the wrath of the people on the representative. And suitable rivals for the seat will always be close at hand.
It is obvious that cultivation of the constituents will be a first priority for all representatives.

Turmoil? No. Both representatives and constituents will quickly see the way to cooperate, to further their mutually dependent interests.

The Secret Ballot Party offers to the uninvolved the opportunity, with an absolute minimum of action, to anyone to arrest this downward slide into dictatorial government.

Meanwhile, what of the operation of parliament? Obviously the ministers will behave, or be displaced by ballot. They will each be required to give undivided and serious attention to the administration of their departments, as delegated by parliament. And, without the distraction of party conflict, they will be without excuse for any inadequacy of administration. And, public servants will replace party appointments of
ministerial staff.

Cabinet? Elected ministers will be required by parliament to pull together in an orderly and constructive team, carrying out the decisions of parliament.

'Thy will be done on earth, as in heaven.'

Now about us Christians. We are witnesses, in life and word. Are we not 'the light of the world'? So, we must 'Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven'.
We, along with others of sincerity and goodwill, will always have a significant role in the community - not by preaching, and having no authority beyond the wisdom which God may afford.

I am reminded of the dream of the English poet William Blake, and the words so often sung in schools.


And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold,
Bring me my arrows of desire,
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold,
Bring me my Chariot of Fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green and pleasant land.

It is the dream of Abraham: "A city without foundations whose builder and maker is God."

I am further reminded of a saying on the wall of my old Presbyterian

We believe in a Christlike world.
We know of nothing better.
We can be content with noting less.

May God bless and encourage us all.

Basil Smith
for the Secret Ballot Party.
(the party to end party politics)
03 9800 2561

Friday, March 24, 2006

MP Accountability

A common error by those opposed to the 'secret ballots in parliament reform' is that, without knowing how the Mp votes, there could be no accountability. Quite wrong!

Some years ago senior Victorian Liberal MP James Guest was quizzed on this very point. His succinct answer: "It would make MPs accountable".

Strange isn't it?

Let's consider.

In a parliament that ballots every issue, all MPs will be supported by party clout and funds no longer. Entirely free to do as they please in parliament, they will need to use that freedom to work for their constituents' best interests.

Awakened to the MP's vulnerablity in the new, and regular, public meetings, convened by the MP (in the MP's own best interests), constituents will rally there, especially on controversial issues.

If their MP is not entirely honest, constituents, ably assisted by a salivating media, will swarm like angry bees.

But any MP who is honest and competent, will graduate quickly to the changed role, and find it much more fulfilling and highly respected.

This reform has the capacity to change everything - for the better - for all.

By the way - 'the love of democracy is the love of others' - while 'the love of power is the love of self'.

Democracy will flourish under the ballot in our parliaments.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

America - tramping the world.

One would think an avowed Christian like George Bush would have picked up a few tips from his Bible on how to get on with your enemies. How about "Love your enemies". Or maybe "Resist not evil but overcome evil with good".
It is arrogance that makes wars. The trouble is that arrogant people are slow to recognise their arrogance.
How many nuclear states do we have now? Quite a few.
Why is Iran considered to be such a threat?
Israel? There's a lot of hatred for Israel. That goes back 3000 years or so; to the days when Ismael got kicked out of Abraham's house because Sarah was jealous of Hagar, Ismael's mother, for beating her to have Abraham's child.
Spurned by Abraham's religion and descendants over the centuries, it's no wonder the Arabs found another religion to get upsides with the Jews. So we have religious enmity as well.
The UN kindly responded to the Holocuast survivors by allowing their settlement in Palestine, to have their own land in some security. But they roughly evicted 600,000 of the inhabitants who finished up in surrounding refugee camps their hearts filled with hatred for the invaders. It's quite unsurprising that some of them at least want those invaders out, hopeless cause though it be.
Only suicide bombers stand between them and their complete subjugation, with the creeping absorption of the remainder of Palestine by Jewish settlers and their protecting military, complete with tanks, gunships and every modern military surveillance equipment, with which they casually assassinate whom they will with impunity.
Every attempt to find a peaceful solution has been foiled by the constant Israeli demand that the Palestinians surrender everything first, completely , despite the fact that their land is constantly overrun with Israeli tanks and troops.
One would think that Israel's previous Holocaust experience would have produced some feelings of compassion for the Palestinians. But apparently not.
America's continual weak surrender to the Israeli point of view, with financial and full military assistance (without prevention of it's secretive nuclear capability) has prolonged the conflict interminably with insult adding to injury. A Tragedy in our time.
The solution lies with America - if ever it can regain its Christian perspective and moral character. Oh, when will their people rise up to rule??

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What do you think?

The times they are achangin’!

An article by Australia’s New South Wales Ex Premier, Bob Carr, in his recently published book, ‘Thoughtlines’, on the future of our planet is quite alarming. He details many worrying facts illustrating that the world is heading for serious trouble.

The populations of many countries are on the rise, not just a little, but a lot, and many are pursuing higher and higher standards of living.

Our planet will be quite unable to sustain the resulting pressure on its resources - especially of fuel (for heating, power, agriculture and manufacture) and water. Developed nations have been for some time consuming much more than their share, on a population basis, while demand from poorer nations is accelerating. Moreover, there is no sign of any wealthy country restraining its demand for more and more, much less intending to cut its consumption to world sustainable levels for all – if that were a realistic possibility, even with drastic, across-the-board change.

It cannot be merely alarmist to warn of the future political and international confrontations and conflicts that are likely to occur as world stocks of vital supplies dwindle at an accelerating rate.

For a start, a drastic change in the manner of living of developed countries is clearly necessary, without delay. While the inhabitants of the wealthy countries must face that challenge now, it is debatable whether the rising industrial giants of Asia (and South America?) will be able to accept the challenge to hold back when their standards of living are already far behind. Need we mention as well the poverty of Africa?

Are we planning for the future? Are we aware of the future danger? Perhaps it is already far too late to see an outcome that could be acceptable to future generations. We may not see these outcomes but, even if our children don’t, our grand children certainly will.

Have we the nous and structures to seriously tackle this political tsunami, or is the battle already lost?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Where is democracy???

Where is the cry for democracy? Where are those who are concerned???
Many are seriously disturbed at the increasing trend to autocratic party government, but can't see the answer. When John Faine Melbourne 774, was speaking to Mark Latham on ABC radio, about the corruption of the political process, neither had any answer to the mess we are in.
We need a referendum of the people for the installation of the ballot in parliament for all debates and elections. There is no other answer.
Since the parties are not interested in real democracy we need a new initiative. We need leadership which actually believes in democracy - government by the people -
through freely voting parliamentary representatives, and an executive in submission to parliament. This is something from which we have strayed a long way - ministerial responsibility. Or should we say rather, accountability, since irresponsibility has become so blatant.

Where can this kind of leadership be found ???
The Secret Ballot Party is still in its infancy but it stands for the real democracy which only the ballot in parliament can attain to.
Our membership is slowly building, with concerned people who are not afraid to think outside the square.

Secret Ballot Party:

An Australian Persona

Is there such a thing? Of course not. We are a collection of many different kinds of people. Of course. We are multi-cultural. We are diverse.
There are many different layers of difference.
Wealth, education, religion, ethnicity,emotional type, age etc etc.
Many are hard at work - some can't be bothered. Many are patient in adversity - some impatient.
Some get angry at injustice and do something - some just stay angry. Some are happy & glad - some are not.
Are there common factors. Yes we are human.
We can be patient - and work things out. We can be inventive - finding solutions.
We can help others - and find satisfaction.
We can be optimists - and see the donut - not the hole.
We can be a part of the solution - not part of the problem.
Yes, we are human - with a limitless capacity for doing good - happily.
We are human - with a limitless capacity for destroying the wellbeing of others (and ourselves).
We are human. We have the capacity to choose. But without faith it is difficult and for many can prove impossible. Faith enables us to be what we want to be - ourselves - productively and happily for ourselves and those around us.
We are not all alike, and will never be. But that doesn't matter as long as we have goodwill towards each other. Then we can be at peace - and proudly Australian.