Phillip Turnbull (Tasmania)
I have just read Vox Populi by the Latin scholar Peter Jones and published last year by Atlantic Books. In fact, it was so engaging, I read it twice and the topic on democracy especially caught my attention. What I write below is my attempt to put into an Australian context much of what Jones wrote.
To fix a problem, we must first identify it and understand it.
Why Australia continues to decline into a police state is because most people accept the fallacy that we live in a democratic society with a democratic form of government. But there is no such thing as democracy in Australia, or for that matter, almost anywhere in the West.
Democracy is government by the people, for the people. In other words, the people make the important decisions and policies that affect how their lives are governed. But that is not happening in Australia.
What we have in Australia is an elected oligarchy, where we elect a small group of people to govern us. All we can do is hope for the best — that they will govern us wisely and justly and have our best interests at heart.
And what chance of that?
Who nominates those strangers whose names are printed on the ballot papers for us to rank in our own order of preference? One of those names will win the ballot, enter either our federal or state parliament and help make decisions on our behalf.
Do we, the people, nominate these candidates for election? No, they are chosen by the parties to represent their interests.
Do we, the people, formulate the policies and the laws under which we wish to live and be governed? No, they are prepared by the parties according to their ideologies.
Do we, the people, have any say at all on how our elected representatives are to vote on policies and laws after they are sitting in the parliament? No, the way our local representatives vote is dictated by the parties.
And what is the driving force behind all this? To keep the two-party system operating, so we have just one of two choices.
Is that democracy? No, of course it isn’t.
All the people can do is elect an oligarchy from the candidates chosen by the two major parties. It’s a very limited “democracy” at best — an elected oligarchy dressed up as parliamentary democracy.
Well, if that reality is what we are stuck with, the best we can hope for is to be governed by the party that will deliver fewer governmental regulations and the one that best listens to and acts on the wishes of the people.
But really, what we need are more smaller parties that are not puppets of self-interest groups acting on agendas driven by self-appointed, unelected elites.
A party that exists for the people, not itself.
Australia One for me.
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