Australians at times could consider themselves blessed to call this wonderful continent of ours home. To the world we are a bastion of freedom and among the oldest continuous democracies in existence with public institutions among the best and institutions of government free from the perversions of bribery. We as people can live without fear of our government, have no need to resist, we are not the ones having to bleed in the streets out of hope for something better tomorrow than the misery and oppression faced today.
The history of Australia shows that our democracy was a gift in every meaning of the word, we were given free rein to construct the Nation State we would inherit from The Crown. A nation would be forged by ballot and not the bullet, we as people would vote and grant ourselves our freedom without the stain of the blood spilt having to die for it as was the experience of the French Republic and the United States of America.
This beginning has rippled throughout Australia’s history, from January 1st 1901 till today Australians have been able draw on the example of our creation as a nation in times of political crisis as comfort and reassurance. We can say to ourselves “change comes at the ballot box, not at the point of bayonets” and continue on using the process we created to change the course of government and the nation as we so desire, without fear of and malice towards our fellow citizens.
An amazing gift indeed, a gift not simply of a homeland but a gift of understanding, that democracy gives us our unity even in times of division and discontent. An understanding of unity in trust, that our collective decisions are inherently right and just, that the process of popular assent and consent has a moral righteousness beyond question. An understanding that it is the citizen who wields the ultimate power, it is the citizen whose collective decision must be respected even by government, that is the corner-stone of democracy itself, as understood by the Athenians, Americans and French before us.
That is why any attempt to strip the citizen of that power must be resisted and that is why any abuse of the democratic process to unduly remove government from the power held by the citizen must be resisted absolutely.
Democracy itself is an affirmation of the sovereignty of the citizen over government and it is when that sovereignty is reversed democracy fails and the hands of tyranny reach for the power once held by the citizen.
It is at this point that Australia now finds itself, a once resolute and robust democracy now mired in a corrupted party system that has become self-serving to such a degree that the functionality of government in the national interest has become an impossibility. The party system has become an abomination, a cancer that has slowly eroded the democratic process by which they exist, by abusing the trust between the governed and the government they represent a real threat to the unity of the people and their institutions.
Representational Parliamentary Democracy sounds impressive but the system easily fails when any part of the process becomes corrupt, declares or makes itself beyond the reach of the citizen and the institutions in which the power of the citizen is invested. Australians chose the representational model for government because it embodied not only democratic process but the unity of citizens upon which the nation state itself was founded.
Representational Parliamentary Democracy has begun to fail, from popular assent and consent there has been a drift towards “people versus government” and “party first” sentiment that is slowly strangling the democratic spirit of Australia and Australians.
Australia’s democracy is failing in every aspect and it is the duty of every citizen to bring truth to bear and stand for what democracy truly represents and be truly represented in their democracy.
Given that three things make up our Australian form of democratic government I would like to point out how those three things have either failed or have been manipulated to such an extent as to remove the people from their government.
“Representational” implies exactly that, that The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia should represent the broad views and interests of the entirety of the populace, using a broad mandate given by elector consent to govern in accordance with the views, ideals and interests of the electors. This as a rule is meant to make government a mirror of the people being governed, a governing authority bound to the people by the ideals and interests it is intended to commonly hold with the people.
The above could not be said in regards to the current governments of Australia, at no level does any government represent the broad ideals, wishes and interests of the governed. This is most prominent at the pinnacle governing authority in Australia, The Federal Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, a government whose geographical distance from anywhere important is only matched by its philosophical and sentimental distance from the Australian people. A government consisting of two colluding parties who use the seat of government to not only break the metaphorical mirror government is meant to represent but to use government itself to force the people to become the reflection of the ideals of the governing.
A government need not sell any idea to the people, or effectively purchase support for any idea it proposes if that idea is a reflection of the wishes of the electors. Leadership is taking the people to a place they wish to go, tyranny is demanding the people follow you to where you believe the people should be.
In the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia it states categorically and with resounding clarity that, that the powers of government rest with the elector, only we the elector have the right to create a government and only we the elector have the right to alter the founding constitution by which we grant the governments we elect the powers to govern. This is the fundamental premise by which we as a nation exist yet it stands as a hollow ideal when the truth is brought to bear and the reality is exposed. The reality is that for decades now there have been those who have stood between the electors and government, usurping the powers of both to perpetuate their ideologies.
A government can’t be representational if government is forced to exist in conflict, when Australia became a nation the constitution was written devoid of the notion of the “ideas in conflict” rationale because such an idea had never been considered in a parliamentary system before. It was envisaged most rightly that each elected represented to the newly created parliament would be elected with the sole purpose of representing the electorate from which he was elected, to cast each vote on every act of parliament on merit and conscience. The only rationale considered when the constitution was written being “what is good for one electorate shall be good for all”.
The two party system that developed since has become an abrogation of the rights of the elector to be heard as intended. The process of “bloc voting” and the denial of conscience voting is such an abrogation and it has to be not only questionably constitutional but certainly truly undemocratic by design and practice. This has only served the common notion held by a great many that the two party system has simply become self-serving, that government is no longer about representation but about taking turns at the trough, I hold that such a notion be true.
As an example, a parliament of the elected can only represent the elector if they share a common goal or value, government of division, one versus the other is inherently undemocratic but also completely unrepresentative of the governed. The governed do not live in conflict, in a world where ideology matters most, the elector lives in a rather more simplified world of real problems that require real pragmatic solutions. How could a deeply rooted Socialist with links to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and their foreign intelligence service ever truly represent the views, aspirations and visions of Australia that are held by millions of electors who wouldn’t vote if they weren’t forced to? How could the views of such a person ever represent the views of the tens of thousands of former soldiers we as a nation sent abroad to fight, bleed and die in at least three separate wars fighting the very ideals they hold, against enemies who were supported by their “friends” a foreign power?
The above is only a single example of how many of the elected have no connection to the electors and in extreme cases even the historical fundamentals upon which the nation state itself has been built on. The above can also only occur when there is a separation between the elector and the prospective elected which the party system provides.
“Parliamentary” implies exactly that, that we are government by a parliament of the elected and not by executive authority. In-fact the constitution provided for means by which executives could be dismissed if they could not govern in the parliamentary fashion. Not only can the parties remove an executive but under the original constitution so could the Sovereign or the Governor General on behalf of the Sovereign if the parliamentary system failed in its duties. However, it was the parliament who itself decided to remove itself from one of those forms of over-arching authorities by the passage of two acts, the Act of Severs and the Australia Act(s) which together usurped the powers of the Crown by unconstitutionally altering to whom the Crown refers and by the transferring the powers of the Crown without the express consent of the elector.
The constitutionality of the current parliamentary system aside it goes to the idea that the parliament itself has become a bastion, a Bastille of self-serving authority, authority to protect the self-serving elected who congregate within its walls. Parliament itself has become theatre, a place where moral rectitude is drowned in party loyalty and protocols that the layman may never truly understand.
Parliament and Government has also become a protector of the elected, a fortress who’s walls of self-serving laws truly deny democratic foundation. Such as, if a political party notices or obtains evidence that a candidate representing that party uses improper finances in the process of campaigning during the election process it is up to the political party itself to file a complaint, which if the responsible political party in question does not file such a complaint the electoral authority is powerless to act.
The parliament is rapidly becoming the place upon high from which a more-so pontificating governing class wage a war against the very people from whom they usurp their powers. More and more people hold parliament in such low regard that if the place burnt to the ground there could be a great raising of public monies to ensure it is never rebuilt or never reconstituted. It is the actions of those within successive and the current parliament who must shoulder the blame for this, democracy can only function with the engagement of the people being governed and we have seen over the preceding decades an incremental separation of the two, both legally and ideologically.
“Democracy” beloved democracy, to which the citizen clings, for many the only vestige of power they may ever hold. Yet, for some in the governing class it merely implies a simple right to vote when the government demands you do so, nothing more, nothing less. Some in some governing circles have even talked of suspending the democratic process, in such low regard they hold what should be an absolute right of every citizen.
Democracy however can only work if the playing field is fair, there is a measure of reciprocal trust between electors and the prospective elected, there is choice and the system itself supports democracy. We have seen more than once that the playing field is not fair, the two party system has spent a lot of time and money in keeping out new players. The two party system has also spent a long time and a lot of money, mostly other people’s, to indoctrinate successive generations of Australians that it is a case of either the one or the other. An abuse of democracy and an abuse of the trust that should exist between both parties involved, it is government by collusion not democratic representation based on merit. The evaporation of reciprocal trust may never be regained and may take not only doing away with the two parties who’s abuses have striven to deny our democracy its liberty by holding it captive between two long failed ideologies, it may also require doing away with the system itself.
The above represents an earlier piece of writing and may require further editing.