Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Change and Decay

In a must–read article,, Richard Eckersley claims that: ‘Neither politicians nor citizens fully grasp the size of the gulf between political priorities and social realities’, and that: ‘politicians and the electorates they serve must have the courage to enact sweeping policy changes that (will) shift the course of the deep current, not just stir up the surface eddies.’
‘We cannot meet these challenges with “politics as usual” approaches which seek to offend no one, yield to vested interests and require no “sacrifices” in our way of life’ he says, and ‘we need also to acknowledge the systemic failure of our politics to deal with our problems.’
He further connects the rising ‘cultural emphasis on materialism and individualism’ with the crisis in mental health, which should surely wake us out of our political lethargy.
In his day, British PM Harold Wilson is reported to have said that: ‘Those who reject change are the architects of decay’.
What better description of the current mess in which our much vaunted democracy now is, could there be?
It is vital that we pass from the present impasse with a new determination to mend our ways. Rob Oakeshott has given us a lead, but without dealing with the ruinous incubus of party politics, the role of independents is just as bad as any other aspect of party politics. Without the radical change of the ballot in parliament, his reforms will not be possible and no lasting improvement will be achieved.
We have a lot of very serious work to do to chart a sound and sensible course for the future. May God help us.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Advent of the Three Independents

The ABC 24 interview with the three independents this morning underlined the acute dilemma of a form of democracy long past its use-by date. And the extremely fragile nature of negotiations was further heightened by a remark of Tony Windsor that the two leaders must show goodwill or he will support neither, and that of Rob Oakeshott that he had suggested to both leaders that we have consensus politics but one rejected the idea.
This wish directly echoes the principle contained in the ballots in parliament reform, as does his other comment that while they are struggling with the responsibility of securing stable government, one hundred and forty five other members are on holiday! That is absolutely true. In a balloting parliament equal opportunity and responsibility to influence outcomes by principled debate, and the freedom to vote according to conviction would apply to all members.
The further comment by Jim Katter that two suicide phone calls from farmers this morning emphasised the seriousness of the position our democracy is in. The imputation appeared to be that if government cannot get its act together, discouragement and depression abound, and desperate cases become hopeless. The people NEED good government

Rob Oakeshott has commented that 'party politics is so yeaterday'.
It was further declared, quite truly: 'Conscience votes yield true debates'.

Sent to the heroic independents:
Compromise politics has also been mentioned, but clearly a comprise on
each issue by you three or four and our two cheerless leaders is not
really a feasible solution. As independents there is no doubt that you
and your constituents will not stomach that. As a long term advocate of
no-party politics and genuine consensus I am deeply interested in your
tough fight.

'A NEW DEMOCRACY'- has urged the introduction of ballots in parliament
(electronics obviously) for some years,
If the going gets impossible, may I urge that you consider the following:
With the ballot operating:
1. ALL MPs will be independent and freely voting
2. Genuine debate with genuine outcomes will occur without undue delay
3. Ministers will ALL be appointed (elected) by parliament
4. All MPs will be integrating policy directions in their having local forums,
5. Voters will be confident in, and proud of government, ridding constituents of despair.
6. Genuine consensus will be built on secure PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The ‘Morning After’

This morning the business community are trying to come to terms with the prolonged government caretaker period caused by the election failure to produce a majority party to form a government. The tenor of thought that business is attempting to gulp down is that we have a great democracy and they just have to be patient until perhaps the middle of next week when all seats have been resolved and a government crocheted together.

Meanwhile a flurry of discussions is commencing in Canberra with separate meetings of Greens and Independents to decide their several positions in eventual agreements with either Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott to form a government.

From the time of Kevin Rudd’s expulsion from the Prime Ministership until a government is finally formed constitutes a time of disruption in government, which is loaded with uncertainty for business.

When we consider the fact that, as we have pointed out in an earlier article (17th Aug), national elections to choose a party government are so stupidly unnecessary and harmful to the life, business and social, of the nation.

Another worrying aspect of this party-politics-driven mess is that, with the formation of government involving the strong influences of the Greens and Independents in the balance of power, there will be an ongoing uncertainty about the direction of government policy for some time to come. Then we will have an idea whose issues will predominate—those of the people with Labor, those of business and investment with the Coalition, or those of the Greens.

But what we do know is that minority forces are entering the ‘castle’, pulling up the ‘drawbridge’ and quickly filling the ‘moat’. The ‘peasants’ will be excluded until the charade of the next election. Parliament will be under the authority of a leader, with parliamentary government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people in shreds.

A travesty of democracy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Election Campaigns -- turning into High Farce

That the election is descending into high farce is not something I am that sorry about.

It points up the stupidity of our obsession with party politics and its pathetic squabbles. How can sensible discussion and firm decision occur in this ugly climate of the pursuit of power?

We have already noted that a ballot control of parliament would eliminate the parties, their leaders, and these national elections which defeat democracy, by making individual representatives into part hacks whose motive of service to the nation, if any, is wrecked on the shores of party power and purposes, instead of the wellbeing of the nation.

We have destroyed the soul of the nation, leaving the people confused and without the will to face up to and defeat some of the most challenging problems of our time. The sad part is that with, party politics eliminated, the involvement of the people, their wisdom and good will restored by an orderly breed of democracy which is our right, these problems could easily have been already overcome – water under the bridge – and we could be looking confidently for fresh fields of social need to conquer.

We should all be ashamed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Population and Immigration

Economic growth is favoured by some to enhance material standards of living, but it is said that for the whole world to increase their standards of living to emulate the West would require a couple more planets!

It follows that, in future, the desire for improved living standards will be forced to consider social, political and spiritual aspects of life. But under the party system this is hardly on the edge of the radar.

Industry needs skilled migrants to escalate growth, which makes investment safer than a static population, and helps with the aging of the population However this only shifts the problem ahead as the workforce so advantaged will itself age and the problem re-emerge.

Importing skills robs other countries too, a point that should worry us—as a world we must advance together to reduce (eliminate?) conflict—quite a challenge!

It seems clear that a better answer, which would take longer, would be the assiduous re-skilling of our young who have fallen behind – a truly challenging task Some might well question whether the need for a greater discipline in our young might not be more important than more and better school facilities, though the latter is politically easier, which is, of course, the trouble with our dilapidated democracy.

We are obviously not too good at facing down the really hard problems, without the ready help of the people at large, the need for which seems to be disregarded by our politicians.

An allied concern is the involvement of far too many with drugs and the relationship of mental problems. There again the rate of road accidents among the young especially makes one wonder. It does look like the hopelessness of the political scene is a contributory cause of the wide spread spectrum of problems in our society.

It is said that a cause of the world population explosion is the backward situation of women. They might well be less prolific with a surge in education of women in backward countries—a monumental task! An advance in education of women could enhance their status and reduce fertility.

Furthermore, we need to promote a better democracy worldwide than we have achieved so far. It’s up to Australia as a world leader in democratic reform. The decisions that are needed to solve these difficult world problems are essentially political. In other words, popular democratic government must have the clarity of purpose and the power to decide relevant policies without a roadblock from culture or religion.

These problems are far too little heeded, but will loom increasingly large in the very near future. Nothing must delay our efforts to find the just, fair solutions for all the world’s citizens (man, woman or child). That we do indeed need a New Democracy is abundantly demonstrated by the chaos of the current election and confusion of failing policies. Do these problems have to linger on or will there be a new vision and vigour to solve them? There’s really no option though, is there?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The End of National Elections

In a ballots-in-parliament regime, only independents will be involved in elections— no parties, no leader contest, none of the national elections that we, and the business community, presently endure. They will be scrapped; a thing of the past. Elections will be confined to the local nomination of well-known candidates and the local members will each be ‘directly elected by the people’ (as the constitution says!).
A greater contrast can hardly be imagined than the difference between the present national (or state) elections, to decide who will be Prime Minister (or Premier), and the new, simple, local elections which will apply under the new ballot regime in each parliament.
Some of the major differences:
• The cost of elections will be a mere fraction of present cost.
1. Under the present party government regime all the attention and the money is centred on the leaders of the contesting political parties.
2. Much of the present cost of elections—of national advertising, by mail, letterbox, radio and television will become pointless.
3. Well-performing members of parliament will be uncontested—cost free elections! (These may have been, in some cases, ‘marginal’ seats.)
• The present undue influence of powerful minorities will be demolished.
• The involvement of the national media will be considerably altered, turning its attention from its influence on elections to a continuous analysis of national problems and their solution. Local media will be intimately involved in the local elections.
• Parties, and their ambition for power will be banished from parliament by the election and confirmation of ministers and officials in each ministry by ballot of all the independent members, bringing in genuine parliamentary government. Ministers will then have considerable security of tenure, while retaining the confidence of parliament.
• Ministers will be free from undue interference by vested interests and minorities generally. With that freedom, the needs of minorities will receive calm consideration from parliament, uncomplicated by the fear of their erstwhile power.
• Parliamentary government will be continuous, helping all sectors to get down to business constantly. There will never be a caretaker period due to an election, and never be a change of government—parliament itself being the government.
• A cooperative, objective approach will apply to all problems before parliament, without partisan complications, and no wheeling and dealing, as parties do, if to their advantage. All influence will be confined to objective fact and persuasion.
• The new regime will usher in a period of stability and confidence in government, unknown to the present day. There is no reason why terms of parliament should not be fixed to four or five years, due to the continuing accountability of members of parliament through the continued scrutiny of their performance by their constituents on a continuous basis throughout the parliamentary term, in the public meetings that each member will be keen to maintain in each electorate.
• There might well be more!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Real Representation – Some Way to Go

Education funding like other policies, is decided at the ethereal level of the Prime Minister and cabinet, rather than by real representation and real standards of justice. The capacity of influential interests to govern swags of votes is very influential as an election looms.

Education minister Simon Crean (the Age 5/8), after meeting the chairman of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education the day before the election was called, said that Labor was not favouring private schools at the expense of public education: “I reject that totally”, he said.

However the Education Union president said: “the current (Howard) model delivers one-third of federal funding to government schools which teach two-thirds of the nation’s students.” Is that justice?

But, the question here is not primarily what is just, but what makes justice difficult to achieve, and what difference would there be in the quality of representation and government decisions if parliamentary government (by secret ballot rule) were to replace party governments, which accept (seek?) election assistance by favouring influential groups. In fact, do we have valid democratic representation under the party system? Clearly the answer is NO.

In a balloting parliament, being compulsorily independent, and perforce, holding regular local meetings, members could be, and would be, regularly challenged about such issues as the one quoted above. It is pretty obvious that the Crean assertion would be heartily rejected at that level, with parents of non-government schools too shamed before constituents generally to press for the suspect view supported by the minister.

We are here seeing a stark comparison between a just basis of representation under a ballot parliament, and the effective interference of lobby groups on poll-driven party government. Lobby groups are myriad, dividing and conquering a disunited, troubled, confused public. The hoo ha over the mining tax is just another example.

What a democracy we have! To misquote Abraham Lincoln: “when will public opinion in this country (be) everything”, with a continual grass-roots connection to parliamentary ballot government via genuine, independent representatives.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Collapse of Big Australia

Ross Gittins (The Age 4/3 – ‘Collapse of Big Australia’) debunks the notion that an increasing population is all good, pointing out that federal government, often influenced by big business etc, favours increasing population, as investment is much safer in an expanding market. But state governments bear the burden of added housing, transport and other infrastructure requirements.

This disconnect between federal and state jurisdictions, unresolved at federation, has created a perennial source of inefficient administration, sometimes duplication, and tension. Since WWII taxation is mainly in the power of federal governments, with the states standing in line for the funds to carry on the burden of infrastructure. State parliaments long preceded the federal parliament and some sensitivity aggravates an unsatisfactory relationship, especially among the resource-rich states of the north and west. Additional tension results from the efforts of federal governments to pull rank, wanting to dictate the terms upon which the funds are distributed to the states. There has to be a better way, but it won’t be by returning taxation powers to the states.

In a way which might prove useful for us too, Germany’s state parliaments supply delegates (in proportion to state populations), to the Bunderat, a Federal Council, which is involved in legislation with the Bunderstag, the German parliament—seemingly a very useful connection. See:

Gittins concludes his analysis of ‘sustainable population’ with: ‘‘the message to the elite from the unwashed of the outer suburbs is: “if you want more migrants, first get you act together”’. No doubt very sound advice!

But, added to the federal/states tension is the innate inability of party government to provide the unifying leadership which could incorporate the wisdom and best efforts of the people in a growing vision—a flourishing democracy which can meet the future with confidence, and verve—yes, ‘get our act together’!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Muslim Rant against Democracy

Whether Moreland Council should or should not have given extremist Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir access to the Brunswick town Hall for their ‘rant against democracy is not the most critical point in the Herald Sun’s report today (3/8).

We should take note of this group’s adverse opinion of our democracy—that it is: ‘“bankrupt and irrational”, and all indicators are pointing to the decline and inevitable collapse of Western ideology”.

The point is that we don’t respect it ourselves, what with grandstanding politicians, consistently degraded by the media, its corruption, its secrecy, its inability to decide issues, its chasing the lowest common denominator of compromise to achieve parliamentary solutions, the precious little confidence of the people, without which the hardest problems stay virtually insoluble.

Bitter competition supplants the cooperative effort that democratic government requires to do the good work that we could do if our democracy were real. That simply does not exist, despite the rhetoric of pride of the Western World. ”Pride goes (so often) before a fall”.

We need a reformation of our concept of democratic government to involve the people in a new role to clean out the many-sided mess created by party politics. We need ‘a chariot of fire’ to purify and restore the real, democratic functionality of parliamentary government to oust the parties from their position of control. The ballot in parliament is the key to its restoration. It alone will rescue our democracy from its futility and failure.

Large movements in world society have happened since WWII. Communism caught Roman Catholicism unawares, America’s cold war with Russia brought down Communism, with China eventually following, the Global Financial Crisis has borne down heavily on America and Europe, with questions about their recovery.

And now Islam is a wake-up call for Western democracy. In its present parlous state it deserves criticism. It’s our own fault that we have let it slide downhill so long.

Wake up Australia! You led the world with the ballot for elections. There’s ‘one more river to cross’—to genuine parliamentary ballot government to replace the destruction that party politics wreaks on all the processes of government and society.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Electoral Despair

The Age today (2nd August)prints three letters highlighting the public despair felt by many at the state of our ‘democracy’ (for which read party politics). The odd thing is that the Age, in highlighting such angst, pretends concern but takes no action to call for real answers to the very real dilemma of our political system’s failure. We can put a man on the moon but cannot resolve the simple problems of how to live together in a prosperous land. Why is this so?

People supinely, weakly, cry: ‘It’s human nature’! Of course it is, and we can find the answer if we really want to. It already exists.

Ballots in parliament.
This is clearly the simplest, most effective way to restore the fortunes of our democracy and to even make it attractive as an export product, instead of sending troops overseas to ‘win the hearts and minds’ with tanks and guns – which is really pretty stupid as well as just plain WRONG.
Previous posts have spelt out how it will work, and work perfectly through the involvement of the people, and the resulting independent all the MPs—a really novel idea! All this is set out in earlier posts in—A Common Sense Democracy Parts I, June 9th, II, July 8thand III, July 12th, plus many other explanatory articles, such as Recovering Democracy, Sep 14th 2007, and our website—‘’

The petty nature, and comprehensive failure of party politics to resolve the growing problems that face our country, not to mention our world, condemn it as an antique, outmoded way for the operation of any government, let alone governments which pretend to democracy.

Why then does the Age not call for change? Is it apparent concern mere window dressing, pretending to be objective? They do not, will not, allow any copy to appear on their pages, these many years since the ‘Ballot in Parliament’ was first mooted some thirty years ago.

Meanwhile we, and the world at large wander in the misery of a monumental failure of our ‘democracy’ to fulfil any of the progress in popular well being which Abraham Lincoln set forth so succinctly in his definition of the democratic ideal—government OF the people, BY the people, FOR the people.

The Ballot in parliament will quickly fulfil that promise in its entirety—the involvement of the people quickly securing our politics from the evil shenanigans of the power hungry, who have held us to ransom for so long. It’s time for action—intelligent action— to recover democracy, in our time—e.g NOW.