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Are our elected representatives really representing us?

The House of Representatives currently consists of 150 members, elected by and who represent single member districts.

How can they possible be representing us when people are asked:

  • Should Australia allow same sex marriage and 67 per cent say ‘yes’ (other polls show this as high as 72 per cent) yet most of our politicians don’t support it.
  • Should the Australian government continue to invest billions of dollars into the development of the National Broadband Network and 60 per cent say ‘yes’ but the government ignores them.
  • Should Australia raise taxes on the rich and 60 per cent say ‘yes’ but the government does the opposite.
  • Should Australia tax the super profits of mining companies and 71 per cent say ‘yes’ but the Abbott Government repeals the mining tax.
  • Should the federal government regulate the internet and 70 per cent say ‘no’ yet look at what the government (supported by the Opposition) has legislated.
  • Should politicians be held financially responsible for promoting false statements and 80 per cent say ‘yes’ … well, that’s a joke.
  • Should the federal government invest in the construction of a high speed rail and 61 per cent say ‘yes’ yet the government hasn’t even floated the idea.
  • Should Australia set a price on carbon emissions and 43 per cent say ‘no’ yet the government listened to them.
  • Should the government allow Coal Seam Gas (CSG) projects in Australia and only 47 per cent say ‘yes’ yet the government supports it.

If the elected representatives are not representing us, then who the hell are they representing?

Please note: the polls, like any poll, are always open to interpretation.


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  1. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    At present the politicians in a position to make the decisions are listening to those who support them by donating to that party. They represent big business and support their wishes while ignoring those not in a position to influence decisions.

  2. Harquebus

    Who do they represent? Party donors that’s who.
    “Whoever has the gold makes the rules.” — Minstrel from the Wizard of Id.

  3. John Kelly

    No, they don’t represent us. They represent the party who put them there to do the will of the party. Representative government is not a democracy. It is a poorly constituted arrangement to give the people the impression they are in control.

  4. diannaart

    We actually could have full representation by our current parliament if multi-partisan voting on issues of conscience became more than a dream.

    Be interesting to do the numbers – are there more progressives than regressives across the entire parliament?

    Save a bucket load of money on referendums and plebiscites.

  5. Jollyjumbuck

    The people who voted for this idiot, I bet are the ones now moaning about the Abbott government not representing them. This government are the biggest liars I have ever seen. There are selling Australia out to other countries, more and more people losing jobs and now there must be close to $1,000,000 out of work because of the policies or should I say non policies of this government. They are killing Australia. I for one will be glad when this bloody same sex crap is finished once and for all. Anyone would think it is the only issue facing Australia today. Unemployment, jobs, keeping Australia safe are far more important than worrying about bloody gays and lesbians getting married. Who f…g care! The sooner this govenment gets ousted from Parliament and someone with an actual brain in it’s head and actually listens to the concerns of it’s people the better we will be! This blubbering idiout has to go!

  6. mmc1949

    For Tony to have got over the line, plenty of people
    – with grand/children at public schools
    – being treated in public hospitals
    – living on a pension
    – etc, etc, etc
    had to vote for him.

    How do you stop idiots like that? It wasn’t as though there were no writing on the wall.

  7. Jollyjumbuck

    Well we can all hope, come election time, people will vote using their brains on all policies and not on what’s in it for them only. At the end of the day all Australians lose.

  8. keerti

    For democracy to work three main things are needed (1) a population which takes an active, informed interest . (2) politicians with integrity (3) no voting blocks (political parties). The above three (mostly) don’t exist in australia therefore there is no democracy or representative government. As long as the great australian apathy continues australia will continue to lurch from left to right, enduring one lot of reactionaries after another. Eventually, if the liberals continue down the same track we will have a dictatorship, or alternatively a return to statehood. Neither is likely to work! Possibly before that happens a broken economy/ecology may have returned us to the stone age.

  9. M-R

    @mmc1949 – a point I can’t get past.
    Worse: most of them are likely to do it again.

  10. Blinkyewok

    Biased Murdoch media campaign against labor but not holding Abbott to account played a big part in last election. In some states there is no alternative print media. Many people just believe what they hear on mainstream radio, tv, and read in papers. eg. comments like “it must be true because i read it in the advertiser”; or even worse: “I don’t like Abbott govt but always vote liberal”.

  11. Timothy Nicholson

    Time to #bringiton and force the #DDElectionNOW for a true reflection of our society in parliament. #auspol

  12. Nasser

    We should do away with ALL political parties and have only independents. Then will have better house of Representatives.

    Every independent will be able to represent what their local people want. Visit local people and business, listen to what they have to say, conduct local community meetings to raise and discuss issues. Get involved with and involve the local community.

    Every elected Politian can raise issues and submit policies, where it gets voted on by all elected.
    The policies are then put to an expert panel on best ways to implement it. Or more than one way and again gets voted on by all elected.

    I really hate the idea that the Party comes up with policies. Which sometimes is not what the people want or need. Also, the people might agree with some policies but not the other, then we are stuck with it because they are the Elected Party!!!

  13. philgorman2014

    Who or what are our politicians serving?

    What ever happened to the leaders of the past; those who actually believed in something and stood up for their beliefs? What happened to the men and women in Public Service who could articulate progressive visions of a better future for all Australians, not just the rich and powerful? Once we thought were building a lively social democracy. Nobody currently in power seems to believe that’s a worthy goal.

    Too many of the people we elect to represent appear to be:
    political careerists on the make;
    corrupted by money politics and crony capitalism;
    self serving, self-satisfied, self important, self-deluding egotists;
    inclined to despise the people who elected them;
    coerced into toeing party lines;
    narrow minded short term thinkers;
    uninterested in the slowly unfolding catastrophe of global climate change;
    insufficiently interested in prioritising the public good;
    serving the vested interests which paid for their election;
    unduly influenced by business barons and corporate lobbyists;
    controlled by over-mighty union factions and their lobbyists;
    second guessing Citizen Murdoch’s requirements;
    dedicated to implementing the IPA wish list;
    unconscionable liars;
    anti-democratic amoral psychopaths;
    populist demagogues who would sell their grandmothers to get and retain power;
    crypto fascist in their extreme right wing beliefs;
    awaiting politico-corporate revolving doors to sweep them into boardrooms;
    working to bring about a global corpocracy, or
    just blowing in the wind.

    No wonder the young are losing their faith in democracy.

    Is it all our own damned fault? Are we merely getting the politicians we deserve? Have we become so greedy, materialistic, ignorant, gullible and uncaring that the political class simply mirrors our own mediocrity?

  14. kizhmet

    Many people I know have been debating these very questions. When you see the list presented in Roswell’s article, you begin to appreciate how systemically dysfunctional this present government really is.

    On a positive note – Abbott seems to be single-handedly waking a significant majority of Australians from their political apathy.

  15. Maureen Walton (@maureen_walton)

    People who vote for Abbott LNP are People who own or use to own Buisness big and small, and those that listen to Bolt, Mitchell and all those others in Media from IPA. And those tricked By Lies who thought Abbott LNP were going to give more Parental Leave etc like Mia Freeman and Friends..

  16. Bronte ALLAN

    Sadly, I think that almost, but not, all politicians are only in parliament to feather their own nests, use all the perks that they are “entitled” (?) to; network “outsiders/business contacts” to ensure when, or if, they ever leave parliament they will have good contacts to ensure they get a career; to (almost always!) tell lies to their constituents & to the parliament–& get away with them! Long gone are the days when aspiring politicians enter parliament to try & make Australia a better place for everyone & to ensure that decent, workable laws are passed!

  17. win jeavons

    If we are NOT a representative democracy, and clearly we are not, then are we a democracy at all? I veer between an oligarchy and a kleptocracy ; maybe both . We seem to mimic the US, where serious majorities want one thing but their ‘ representatives give them the opposite. Time for fresh thinking ! or perhaps just honest thinking, it is so rare!

  18. Vicki

    it is a very simple and short answer. Government fulfills the agenda of big business cartels. The people do not matter. The only thing that matters is lining pockets and getting the cartels what they want. Ultimate control over the people of Australia

  19. Nasser

    Are our elected representatives really representing us?

    The answer seems to be the system is broken, not just who the elected represent. We might have to change from the current selection process before we can have better representation.
    One thing I see with democracy is majority rules! So, 51% win… what about the other 49%, still half, do they get what they want and need? What is a better percentage? Is 60/40 better? 80/20? It would still have 20% of the people want something or someone else representing them. Also, preference voting doesn’t fare better and it doesn’t really reflect who the people really want represent them. My first choice didn’t get it, here is my second choice!!!
    I don’t know a better system but to me, we can surely have a better system in place that gives us the freedom we want and still cater to everyone’s need.

  20. corvus boreus

    Missed one, Roswell.
    In an online poll (SMH) 98% of respondents favored a federal ICAC, and yet…

  21. Roswell

    And yet . . . Bill Shorten won’t support one. Go figure.

  22. eli nes

    spot on maureen and the slogans are still not answered by shorten and labor.
    Even the most obvious is carbon tax ie direct action should have been slammed by gillard but we on the ground were helpless to the jibe juliar when we knew abbutt head of the opposition and his cronies were the liars. but nothing has changed the access to any truth for us to counter the fear brought by slogans is still missing or too esoteric to remember, KISS attack his weak links robb china access NOW, Australia 2019 and 2024 pyne outside professional hitmen for neophyte independents, the rabbutt failed to negotiate with consevatives in 2010 and cannot negotiate now prefering tricky dicky tactics in the party room and an avoidance(gutless) plebiscite which will cost millions, hockey the rich to be targetted in words but the poor paying over the odds.
    The token women’s comments at the door of the UN were weak and the delivery poor.
    torpid tanya hopefully is awake and will drag the other women to the fore by challenging shorten and the catholic boys to use their faith in exposing the rabbutt’s amoral stand against the pope in climate change, women, racism and the poor.

  23. lawrencesroberts

    The depressing thing about The TURC scandal, The same sex marriage debate, the state of the economy and the terror threat; is how pathetic “The Grown-Ups” are at managing them.

  24. DJ

    Jollyjumbuck, keep your homophobic sentiments away from my eyes please.

  25. Jollyjumbuck

    I am sick and tired of reading about it. Just get the law passed and get it over and done with and start concentrating on far more important issues in Australia than this matter. Like unemployment, stopping Free Trade with China, refugees, education, health ETC ETC.
    As far as yourself thinking I am homophobic, that’s your one side opinion. I just happen to think there are far more important thing to worry about! Not everyone in this country or the world are committed to your cause! I have a right to my opinion also!

  26. Harquebus

    The voting public did not vote the Coalition in, they voted Labor out and will continue to vote failing governments out. Labor will fail just like they did the last time and suffer the same result.
    I predict that, we will have one term governments until one party has the courage to abandon the absurd, destructive and ultimately fatal pursuit of infinite compound growth.

    The sixth mass extinction is already under way and there is a good probability that sapiens will be included. That is how badly both sides have and continue to fail.

    Search criteria: sixth mass extinction

  27. John Armour

    “I predict that, we will have one term governments until one party has the courage to abandon the absurd, destructive and ultimately fatal pursuit of infinite compound growth”

    Don’t hold your breath waiting, Harquebus.

    It’s called systemic failure and there’s bugger all an individual can do about it, or even a majority of individuals, as Roswell’s article clearly illustrates.

    Almost by definition, political parties do not have “courage”, they have “interests”, so don’t look for help from that quarter. And their interests aren’t ours, even if we’re confused ourselves about what they may be.

    Your motto should be “the worse things get, the better” because only something close to catastrophe is going to force the change you seek.

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