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Day to Day Politics: Our politics is badly flawed.

Wednesday 6 2016

1 As the following days bleed one into another what sort of government we will have for the next three years will slowly be revealed to us. We may even go back to the polls.

What has come into question following this election is the inappropriateness of our traditional two-party system in a rapidly changing world. As the demarcation, or the ideological differences of our two major parties has over time become blurred, the influence of both has declined. Often they are both selling the same thing.

Although to be fair Labor this time did provide a distinct and clear ideological difference.

People have become tired of both parties inability to adapt to new thinking, new ideas and positive reform. If you speak to the young you are left with the impression that political philosophy is an outdated expression. They see a world that if it is to survive needs policies developed, be they social or economic, that have the common good at their heart. Policies that are free of religious dogma, political self-interest and outdated ”isms” of a bygone era.

From time to time the Australian people play around with another voice, an alternative that isn’t the answer but at least it’s an alternative. It’s usually a protest against the governance of the two major parties.

In recent times we have had the Greens who seemed to never be able to get beyond the 20% mark, and the Democrats who tried to keep the bastards honest and ran out of puff. More recently we have had populists like Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer.

Respected author George Megalogenis writing for the Monthly said:

“Australians have not lost their faith in the idea of government. We loathe politicians, and are quick to write off the prime minister. But we never mean our protest vote as a literal act of revolt. Pauline Hanson flamed out after just one term; ditto Clive Palmer. Interestingly, the minor parties at this election are fronted by reasonable men in suits: Richard Di Natale and Nick Xenophon. They present as deal-makers rather than demagogues, another sign that Australia stands apart from its democratic peers in the US and Europe. We don’t want to smash the state, just the smugness of our two-party system.”

If ever our two-party system needed to rid itself of its smugness it is now. The right have always been smug with a born to rule mentality believing that just being in government resolved all the nation’s problems. Policies were not needed. The people just had to, in blind trust, accept that the conservatives knew without question what was best for everyone.

An observation

The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of scientific fact, truth and reason, never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.”

In a similar fashion the Labor Party believes that by promoting, without always enacting its traditional values, people will vote for them.

Both parties believe that repetitive lying is an acceptable part of the political discourse. Both have failed to realise that the major reason for their decline can be identified in their own actions. The three major ones being individual self-interest, policies based on politics rather than the public interest, and bad leadership.

If they can’t recognise these things and correct them then the primary votes of both parties will continue to fall away.

Not many of us have the gift of self-analysis. We cannot stand back and see ourselves as others see us let alone readily accept criticism in good faith. Not all of us see that one who understands others has knowledge, but who understands himself has wisdom. We all want to see the world through the prism of our own version of our self-righteousness.

In addition Australia needs a leader who can put thoughts and actions into a ‘future’ perspective. One who can stand above politics and say “we are doing this for the common good. You may not like it but it’s in the best interests of the country”.

We truly have some incredible problems facing us in the near and not so distant future.

An observation

The ideas of today need to be honed with critical reason, factual evidence and scientific methods of enquiry so that they clearly articulate the currency of tomorrow.”

As I said at the beginning. The next few weeks will determine who takes us forward. Whatever party or concoction thereof they will have a huge responsibility.

The public has displayed its anger. Our pollies had better take notice.

For the record I have always been a two-party democracy sort of person but I have come to the conclusion that unless the two in question can adapt to a future of new economics and a youthful thinking acknowledgement that we are all in it together then they are doomed to die.

2 An example of what I have written is that the left and right of the Liberal Party are now pulling each other apart. The right want to tell him what he can and cannot do if negotiations with other entities are required.

Amanda Vanstone is pleading with the party not to go to the right. How can you possible offer stable governance when your own party is pulling itself apart? Many want them to go back to Abbott who was comprehensively rejected by the electorate.

3 The blame game continues with the human trait of blaming everyone but oneself on everyone’s lips.

The Prime Minister blamed Labor for everything as did Abbott-backer Andrew Nikolic who blamed GetUp! for a 10% swing that cost him the seat of Bass. Nikolic is probably right about GetUp but last I heard we were still a democracy.

My thought for the day.

“Science has made in my lifetime the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society. The only areas that I can think of where science is questioned is in the religious fever of climate change doubters, conservative politics and unconventional religious belief.”

28 comments

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  1. 1petermcc

    Outstanding John. The damage is very much self inflicted.

  2. June M Bullivant OAM

    Oh so someone has analysed what is happening, well, well, it took a long time to do that, all some one would have done is to look at social media or sit in a local coffee shop, for the first time people were discussing politics. Watching Ley put in the latest cuts to health and wonder how they were going to have that test. Every where but the North Shore and the Eastern suburbs they were hurting and not one advisor picked up on it. So on their merry way they continued until every person was fed up. I don’t think another election will fix this. The trust is gone.

  3. Jaquix

    Bill Shorten fits your description of the kind of leader Australia needs. His heroic effort to knock the backward thinking, elitist Coalition, just fell short this time, despite the odds and constant barrage of bias from newspaper articles and media. Labor took big risks with policies like curbing negative gearing. The Coalition’s only idea was to transfer a sizable chunk of the national income to businesses. Paid for of course by ordinary people. How lazy and arrogant. Rural people badly need Labor’s fibre NBN but voted against it. I notice too a tendency for writers (even you John) to make complaints about one party but then to include the other one too. You rightly point out the smugness of “the right”, yet infer that Labor has to get rid of it too. Just something I notice too often. Peter Hartcher in SMH has indulged himself with lots of it this morning – ostensibly having a go at the poor leadership/performance of Turnbull and Coalition, yet actually spraying his venom and negativity all over the Labor leader instead.

  4. Ken McGrath

    Hello John.
    I cannot understand why you and nearly everyone else is going on about the ‘disaster’ of a hung parliament. Has everyone forgotten we live in a democracy? The people exercised their right to vote how they choose and the result is the will of the people. No political party has the ‘right’ to govern in their own right. The right to govern comes from the people. Politicians are elected, and paid very well, to administer to our countries affairs for the benefit of society as a whole and not just certain vested interests. The politicians that have been elected have that one job to do, administer to our affairs, and if they cannot do the job for which they are so handsomely paid then they should quit parliament. They should stop the squabbling and arguing and get on with it. Work out a solution and then get to work on what is their day job on behalf of the people who elected them.
    The positive of a hung parliament is that every piece of legislation or bill put before both houses will have to be openly debated on its merits. Argument and counter argument will have to be made based on sound advice and clear evidence. How much better that is going to be for democracy when everything is on the table and the best can be achieved in an open forum and by which the public will be informed. An informed public can then lobby their candidates for or against what is proposed. Politics is changing and the old model of duopoly is dead. People are now more informed, more aware and have seen through the revolving door of being ruled by twiddle dumb or twiddle dee in turn. We have been told for years that change is good and that we, the people, have to adapt to change or we will be left behind. Well now it is time for politicians to walk the talk and adapt to the changing world of politics. It is almost a sort of poetic justice seeing those who so favour change failing to be able to adapt to change when it effects them personally.
    So to all politicians, get off your collective behinds, work it out and get on with your job. If you can’t do the job then get out of the way and let those who can take over.
    Cheers, Ken McGrath.

  5. Möbius Ecko

    You can’t leave out the MSM role in the decline of the two major parties, and not because they prop up the two party system but because they unreservedly favour one party whilst denigrating the other. The media lie and distort as much as the two parties, and in this election the MSM and individual journalists across the board failed.

    Just as the two major parties have declined in public standing so has the MSM. This was illustrated in a piece I saw the other day that showed where the Murdoch media in NSW had gone hard against Labor/Shorten, mostly in Western Sydney, the supposed Ltd News heartland, Labor increased their percentages.

    But have any of them learnt?

    Not the Liberal party, who despite having been given a clear message are still mostly advocating the same old and will still be controlled by big business through their lobbyists like the IPA.

    Maybe the Nationals, but probably not. Because they did well in the election they are now making a lot of noise about being more assertive in pushing policy agendas if the Coalition wins government. What those agendas are will be the test if they have learnt.

    Not Turnbull, who despite saying he took full responsibility actually has taken none. This is an old Howard trick, where he would state he took full responsibility for many failures, but not in anyway punish himself or change the way he did things.

    Maybe Labor. It’s making a lot of the right noises, but at the moment they are only noises and I suspect that’s all they will ever be.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Meant to add.

    Not the MSM, who from what I’ve seen, heard and read over the last few days are still peddling the crap and distortions with only one journalist acknowledging their failures in reporting politics.

  7. Freethinker

    Last night, on ABC 7 30,I was looking the interview with Bishop.
    I cannot understand how she still not get it, why she cannot recognise what was the failure in her party policies.
    Are they arrogant and treat all the electorate as ignorant or their ideology do not allow them to see clear?
    I just wonder if we have hope with these politicians.
    I also not impressed with the ALP attitude of not working with other parties if they are not prepared to implementing all the ALP in full.
    If we are going to have disaster it not will be because a hang parliament but for lack of political maturity.

  8. James O'Neill

    We get the politicians and the outcomes we deserve because that is how the voting system is stacked. If we were serious about improving the quality we would change the system. Look at we’ll run countries like New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Scandanavians. They all have something in common, a proportional representation system of voting that gives parties representation in accordance with their popular support. A threshold of say, 5 percent, eliminates the crazies.
    One of the important consequences is that no one party gets control and has to rely on persuading at least some others of the merits of their policies. Among other benefits that encourages a more consensual approach and avoids the kind of ideological stupidities we have so many examples of.

  9. Phil

    I like reading your posts John Lord and tend to nod my head in agreement most of the time.

    I sense that people are beginning to see, perhaps in a vague fuzzy outline, that there are two quite different political realities operating in parallel but only one reality appears in full view via the parliamentary process, and the news and TV outlets. The other reality operates by stealth – it is the mostly hidden world of vested and moneyed interests that occasionally we see exposed to daylight only to be rapidly pulled back behind a curtain into obscurity again. Despite all efforts by the citizenry and a few well intentioned politicians, the current lobbying and political donations regime is out of control and is being jealously nurtured by the majority political class.

    Until the corrupting influence of lobbying by vested interest and political donations is seriously addressed and ended, we should not be surprised to see our two party system continue its downward spiral.

    That both Labor and Liberal refuse to establish a federal corruption commission, tells me that they like thier cosy arrangements and that we, the citizenry can like it or lump it. Hence the current election imbroglio and the rise of the Independents?

  10. Marilyn Riedy

    You have eloquently outlined the problem. The failure lies within the parties and their failure to adapt. The party system does not encourage new and innovative ideas. The old method of systematic lying no longer works. One reason for Pauline Hanson’s rise is a perception that she tells it as it is. MPs toe the party line as they must and the result is a bunch of parrots repeating endless three word slogans. The party stifles the younger innovative and talented in favour of “experience”.

    People want honest open government. We are sick of lies and slogans. Greed and corruption and an arrogant sense of entitlement prevails so the people feel voiceless and are looking elsewhere.

    The party system can still work but it needs a new broom to sweep it clean. End the blame game, the secret deals and hidden agenda and start to act for the good of the people not the party. Be open to new ideas and fresh talent but above all listen to and respect the people you are elected to represent.

  11. helvityni

    Freethinker, you took the wind out of my sails; I don’t understand why Labor is so hostile towards the Greens, if all need friends and allies.

    Ms Bishop has not learnt anything from the party’s mistakes. Another one who sees herself as born-to-rule.

  12. Freethinker

    Looking at what Morrison have said today, this mob have not learned the lesson. He insists in his policies including tax cuts and the Medicare.
    Dark times ahead……

  13. michael lacey

    “The next few weeks will determine who takes us forward. Whatever party or concoction thereof they will have a huge responsibility.” That sums it up and the economic sh**t storm that is coming will have to be addressed without the spin doctors!

  14. Jaquix

    Came across this excellent article this morning, about the role of the media in this election campaign. Written yesterday 5th July 2016 by Russell Marks in The Monthly. Hope the link works.
    http://mnth.ly/397zeYv.

  15. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Great article John, and totally agree. The problem with the leaders of both Labor and the LNP is that they are unable to look forward as they are too busy constantly looking over their shoulder. The problem is the political parties that “support” them, and behind that the donors that finance them.

    How can we expect leaders to look to the future when they are constantly having to ensure that they pay their dues? We need unshackled leadership, and that won’t come from a political party. Turnbull COULD have been that person – he has many of the attributes – but even he couldn’t shake off the manacles that got him to that position.

  16. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    And Jaquix – great article. I read it too this morning. So many people are thinking the same thing – just how the hell do they get away with it?

  17. townsvilleblog

    Ordinary working people increased the ALP from 55 seats to at least 68 and probably 70 which is a colossal gain, but just short of government it seems. Why any working person would vote for the conservative corruption that occurs under every LNP govt, I do not understand?

  18. lawrencewinder

    I think it is interesting that the IPA agenda which is never enunciated but thoroughly implemented (disastrously as it has turned out) by the ruling rabble has come closer being exposed than ever before. At a time when the ruling rabble have been proven to be the “outrageous liars” they accuse everyone else of being and when their credibility is probably at an all time low is the time to attack them on this issue.
    Which IPA policy is being implemented next and let’s see them defend this and not a meaningless three word slogan.

  19. MR Walsh

    I’m more of the thinking that two party mentality is the actual problem with our current political system because it encourages each of those parties to take inherently oppositional stances when not in the majority, just waiting for there turn.

    Enforcing strong party line voting also works against the fundamental concept of representatives representing the best interests of their electorate, they instead more truly represent their respective parties.

    Single electorate representatives presume a high degree of homogeneity within an electorate that may have been largely effective last century but is increasingly straining as the diversity of our society increases.

    Both these issues work against, what I understand to be the fundamentally idea of a parliament, the free thinking individuals coming together to debate the issues and cooperatively find the best resolution.

    I, also, don’t think the two major parties getting 75% of the primary vote but ending up with 95% of the representative can possibly provide an appropriately diverse range of opinions.

  20. John Lord

    Thank you all for your comments. It is a complex problem that has many opinions. It is one that requires thought and attention so I thank you all for your contributions.

  21. Freethinker

    Thank you John for your daily contribution, it is one of my favorites.

    Is this narcissism or just plain pig headed attitude?

    Scott Morrison has conceded that the Coalition has tough lessons to learn from the election about its perceived lack of commitment to Medicare.
    But the freeze on Medicare rebates is still government policy and remains in the budget, he says, because the system must become sustainable.
    He says the Coalition is still on track to win majority government, and if it does then it will work with the new Senate to pursue its $48bn company tax cut plan.

  22. king1394

    Liberals do not ever recognise they are defeated – in 1974, after being defeated by Gough Whitlam at the Double Dissolution election that led to the joint sitting that established the original Medibank, the Opposition Leader, Billy Sneddon commented ‘We were not beaten. We didn’t win enough seats to form a government, but I do not believe what has occurred was in any sense a defeat’

    That Double Dissolution election, held on 18 May, 1974, was triggered by the Senate’s rejection of six pieces of legislation including the Medibank Bill. The campaign strongly emphasised the obstructionism of the opposition. Following the 1974 election, the Labor majority had been reduced to five.

    http://electionspeeches.moadoph.gov.au/speeches/1974-billy-snedden?highlight=billy+sneddon+1974

  23. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    MR Walsh – I totally agree with you. Totally. If you get a chance, I’d really appreciate your thoughts/feedback on some of those ideas that I’ve been writing about, as well as working on ways to navigate from the current “bipolar disorder” to something that functions closer to what it was originally intended to do. http://www.makeourvoiceheard.com

  24. Mim

    None of the three parties have actually listened to the people. They had better take note and actually talk to us plebs because we do not agree with their policies and their sense of entitlement. When MSM is completely biased towards the elitists look at social media because the internet means that ordinary people have the means to dispute the lies and three word slogans. The people are restive and politicians had better take note. Their job is to govern for the people (both sides of the divide) and the people are saying we want better than the rich becoming wealthier and the poor suffering cuts and loss of services.

  25. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    I agree Mim, but you’ll never hear the LNP stating that their mission is to make the rich wealthier at the expense of the poor, they just repeat the mantra of trickle-down/rising tides etc, and the MSM don’t challenge it, and enough ordinary people believe it to put them back into power.

    Unfortunately for all the ordinary people saying they want change, they don’t seem to care enough to do anything about it other than complain to each other and on social media. And somehow we need to change that into meaningful action.

  26. Jaquix

    Steve Laing, I checked out your site this morning and attempted to send you a message – but it Failed (3 times). How else can I reach you?

  27. Rob Holmes

    I could not agree that the lines between the major parties have been blurred. On the one hand we have a party that has championed the Gonski education reform, the disability support scheme and rescued Australia from the GFC. The other party only agreed to the first two out of shame and has now backed off and fought tooth and nail in opposition against measures for the third. Ministers of the second party are all ministers “against”, not “for”. The Minister for the Environment is against the environment, the Minister for Education is against public education, the Minister for Social Services is against social services and so on.

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