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Avoiding the lunatic fringe

By 2353NM

The Australian political system is far from perfect. We have made an art form out of humiliation and ill treatment of refugees that choose to come to Australia. We have sat on our hands for over a decade and chosen to have an argument about emissions reduction while observing that we seem to be having more ‘one off’ climatic events than ever. We have a number of examples of ‘pork barrelling’ when politicians have chosen to ignore the aspirations and rights of the majority while promoting the minority – who will in turn probably vote for the political party that ‘assisted’ them.

It’s all pretty depressing really. It’s still the case that Prime Minister Albanese can’t fix everything overnight – although he seems to be working hard to reverse the absolute contempt other countries and their leaders had for Morrison and by implication Australia. It’s also a sad reflection on the state of the federal government in Australia that Albanese won’t be able to rectify all the problems he inherited in a short timeframe.

Not that the LNP have understood the mood of the Australian voters yet. We have a Liberal Party Senator, delivering a speech that is theoretically discussing why the LNP lost the election claiming

one of the issues … [is] we’ve got an education system that’s basically run by Marxists”.
“When kids are at school and they’re being taught all this absolute leftwing rubbish, that’s where they’re leaving school and that’s where they’re landing,

Given there is a significant number of Australians that earn their salary by teaching, it’s likely that one or two of them do subscribe to a Marxist view of how society should be run. But it is also likely that the majority of teachers are more worried about how to fit the latest edict from head office into the overloaded curriculum while paying attention to the student in the classroom that is failing due to circumstances external to the school, while getting all the marking done, the lesson planning for next term, paying the mortgage or rent and having some form of family and social life, than worrying about how to fit a particular ideology into their teaching time. Name-calling, such as ‘Marxist’ or ‘woke’ is a common ultra-conservative rallying cry with absolutely no definition of what the term means or evidence produced by those who participate.

 

 

If the last election taught us anything, it was that most Australians wanted a more realistic response on transparency and emissions reduction. The ALP, Greens and most independents campaigned on this and between them won around two thirds of the first preference vote. Opposition Leader Dutton decides that doubling down on the former government’s policy is the correct response by throwing the nuclear energy ‘dead cat’ into the discussion to attempt to divert attention from the former government’s decade of inaction. While Dutton seems to be at least considering a ‘federal ICAC’ with teeth, it seems it’s difficult for Dutton and his fellow conservatives to connect the dots between their ideology on a number of issues and their failure at the election.

While it may be depressing, it could be worse. Fortunately in Australia, those that drafted the Constitution put something in the document that has saved us from the lunacy in the USA where the legal protection for abortions has recently been removed, even in the case of rape or incest. Apparently the problem is abortion breaches ‘Thou shalt not kill’, a biblical commandment, at least in the minds of predominately conservative white male Christians. Yet it seems to be perfectly reasonable that someone in the US can have the status symbol of a military grade assault rifle capable of killing a considerable number of people in seconds should the owner use the weapon as intended.

It’s just as crazy on the other side of the Atlantic where a group of politicians can derail the prosperity of an entire nation by using the conservatives ‘small government’ agenda as reported by The Guardian

Sectors from fishing to aviation, farming to science report being bogged down in red tape, struggling to recruit staff and racking up losses for the first time.

“Brexit’ was so unsuccessful that the Scottish Parliament is calling for a second Independence Referendum partly based on the fundamental change in the UK from the last referendum in 2014. The ‘small government’ agenda has been a failure from the days of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – Morrison was heading down the same path with his ‘deskilling’ of the Australian Public Service.

Arguably there are just as many nutcases in Australia that hold lunatic fringe values on certain subjects as anywhere else in the world. The Senator who claims teachers are Marxists (when the Australian school curriculum is actually set by the state and federal governments) could be considered one of them. So could Dutton as it is clearly evident that the Australian population of voting age have told him the agenda being promoted by the Coalition parties is not acceptable. The Australian Constitution is different to the USA or the UK as we have compulsory voting, and the risk of a fine for ‘giving it a miss’ is incentive for to most to at least ‘go through the motions’.

While we go through the motions, we also make our opinions known. In the USA and UK, campaigns are run to bring out the voters – those that feel they can’t affect the result are likely to stay away, which skews the result. Next time around after the election of, say a divisive President or a Prime Minister that doesn’t follow his own laws, the level of distrust and disaffection grows, making it easier for those with agendas to further skew the vote. You can fool some of the people some of the time – but it is far easier to fool a majority of the voters when those that feel disenfranchised choose not to have a say, something that doesn’t happen in Australia.

We might really be at the Polling Booth to get it out of the way on the way to the Democracy Sausage stand or beating the rest of the local population to Mrs Brown’s rather excellent chocolate fudge at the cake stall outside, but at least most of us have a say. If nothing else, it ensures fringe opinions of the lunatics from both the progressive and conservative sides stay on the fringe. Our system is not perfect, but there are certainly advantages in compulsory voting.

What do you think?

 

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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20 comments

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  1. Kerri

    Wasn’t Morrison pushing for optional voting??
    As for Hols, she thinks vaping is just fine because scientists are probably Marxists too.

  2. Richard Laidlaw

    At least it isn’t being run by Hollie Hughes.

  3. Josephus

    The Hollie person should be asked what she means by Marxism, who teaches it where etc.

  4. wam

    The pommie loving states representatives did not create an Australia but preserved themselves as separate states.
    The senate was a poorly constructed theory that, arguably, was doomed to fail and, with voting above the line, the failure became spectacular. Eventually someone will realise that for a country of under 30m to have 9 education ministers, 9 police ministers, 9 health ministers… is %@@^@! ridiculous. Compulsory preferential voting is the best system for such a small far flung population. It caters for major parties, extreme parties and individuals alike. At our voter level, it allows for candidate research(not often done or how did george get elected) we can choose who gets the AEC cash.

  5. New England Cocky

    Senator Hollie Hughes expresses the views of women from the ”borne to rule” class whose behaviour demonstrates contempt for the generally held views of society. Most working class women seem to value ”marrying for love” contrasted against the ”borne to rule” class of women who fraternise and marry for social position, trading their sexual favours for a comfortable life style. Whether this behaviour could be called ”legal prostitution” is a matter for debate, but it is a common feature of institutions where men dominate the power structure and some women are prepared to do whatever it takes to get some of the social benefits of power.

    Look at the recent history of Nazional$ politicians in both the NSW and feral Parliaments where too many male Nazional$ politicians have taken up adulterous relationships claiming a need for sexual relief with willing & able extracurricular partners during the necessary absence of spouses, even passing around female staffers between politicians ….. then claiming their political opponents are guilty of this behaviour despite common knowledge to the contrary.

    In New England ”jumping the blanket” has been a popular sport among the grazing community for decades and the present incumbent has been a prolific practitioner.

  6. J Jacobsen

    Excellent article. Hollie Hugjes is just another LNP halfwit looking for commies under the bed (and attention). We do not need 9 separate states, territorries and national governments, with 9 different policies. Rather we need clear separation of powers with a clear indication of who is responsible for what with the resources available to manage the tasks assigned.

    Do we need 8 states and territories? Probably not if local government is regionalised, and capable, competent systems of administration put in place to protect the public. Most will agree we don’t need 8 different sets of laws with varying requirements for each state. Surely, as Australians, we should all be treated equally under law.

    Perhaps the best suggestion I can make is to start with a government reform commission to make our governments more sensitive, responsive, efficient and progressive.

  7. Terence Mills

    Manly are expected to confirm on Tuesday that up to seven players will miss Thursday’s match with the Sydney Roosters, opting not to play in the new jersey. Not because it promotes gambling but because it includes rainbow stripes that evidently refer to gay pride and non-discrimination.

    manley sea eagles

  8. Frank Smith

    Hollie Hughes deluded comments were “trumped” by the screeching aggressive irrational remarks of former Attorney General Michaelia Cash in an interview on Radio National this morning. What a repulsive person she is! With the likes of Cash, Dutton, Ley and their NP mates failing to learn anything from the election results, the Coalition really are digging their own grave.

    Oh, and where are you Scummo? You are certainly not earning your backbencher salary representing the people of Cook during this opening week of Parliament. Too ashamed to show your face perhaps?

  9. Michael Taylor

    Speaking of Marx and our education system…

    In my 2nd year of uni one of the options for a sociology assignment was something like; “How would Marx describe the attitudes of Sturt and his fellow explorers upon their first encounter with Aborigines?”

    I thought it was a stupid question, so I chose another.

    (At that stage of my university life I was unaware of the influence Marx had on non-Communist societies.)

  10. leefe

    But she’s fine with RRWNJs pushing their agenda in (predominantly religious) private schools?

    Fact is, young voters overwhelmingly rejected the LNP because they’ve learnt the science behind climate change and understand how vital action on that matter is. If actual science and fact are ‘Marxist’, then we need more Marxism, not less.

  11. Lawriejay

    New England Cocky you’ve got ’em down too a tee ! Lived in your neck of the woods back to DH DRUMMOND AND DAVIS HUGHES and all those thereafter, the only good one was Tony Windsor; and what a job ‘they’ did on him?

  12. andy56

    the liberals rely on a whole new generation of dumb fucks to survive. At least a marxist school would teach you how to think.
    I didnt see it when i went to school and i certainly didnt see it when my kids went to school. All i saw were populations of future factory fodder.
    As for how our democracy works, how we vote aint the problem, its who we vote in that causes shit to happen. Every dipstick from the right wants to be in control. Vic libs just added two more IPA people to its list. Its intellectual pigmies like these that have got our society in knickers at the moment. They wont be happy till the ” jungle” is painted blue, red would be banned from the vocabulary

  13. B Sullivan

    Compulsory voting is highly recommended. Compulsory preferential voting is not.

    It’s fine if the voter has a box to tick that says no other preference. In Australia, if do not indicate a preference for a candidate that you might personally think is totally unfit to represent you then your ballot paper is declared null and void. You are disenfranchised for refusing to endorse a candidate who relies on this system to give the illusion that they have a democratic majority.

    Attempts in the past to remedy this compulsory endorsement of a winner that you don’t freely and willingly endorse have met with fierce and unreasonable opposition including threats of imprisonment.

    Had there not been compulsory preferential voting in the last Federal Election, then the Labor Party would not have gained a majority of seats in the parliament with only 30% of the votes. They are using the majority of seats that they won in parliament thanks only to compulsory preferential voting as an excuse to claim a mandate for their policies, when in fact their policies lost them support from voters in a massive swing against them.

    Clearly, compulsory preferential voting is detrimental to democracy. Yet all it needs to fix this problem is that ‘no other preference’ box on the ballot paper.

  14. wam

    WOW, B Sullivan fancy having the burden of choosing who to put last?.
    ps FPP would have seen fryburger winning

  15. pierre wilkinson

    the trouble with compulsory voting is that far too many disinterested people have no clue who they are voting for or why, leaving us with an easily manipulated mass who happily follow faux news or similar ideologies
    I know so many people who have no idea of what electorate they live in or who represents them

  16. New England Cocky

    @ B Sullivan: Australian compulsory voting is the best voting system in the world. Optional Preferential Voting is not.

    The best point about ”First Past the Post” voting is the ”wonderful” candidates who get elected. In England you have Tony Blah, David Cameron, & BlowJob while the USA (United States of Apartheid) has given us Regan, George Shrubya Bush and Trumpery.

    Now throw in voting on a mid-week working day and you can seriously disadvantage, even disenfranchise, all the working classes, especially when polling booths are difficult to find and chronically under-staffed.

    Indeed, you appear to want to return to the halcyon days of the post Napoleonic Wars when landed men were the only persons allowed to vote for policies that suited their own interests. So perhaps you might explain how that outcome is any different to consequences of the recently departed & deeply disgraced Scummo COALition misgovernment.

  17. leefe

    B. Sullivan:

    Without our compulsory preferential system, many people would have voted differently. There was a lot of strategic voting in May, in order to make sure the LNP were out. We don’t know what the exact results would have been had we had an optional preferential system, but I can guarantee the difference would not have favoured the LNP.

  18. Terence Mills

    In the 2019 general election in the UK the Conservatives won 43.6% of the popular vote – the highest percentage for any party since 1979.

    Even so, with the first past the post there were still 56.4% (a majority of the electorate) who didn’t want them.

    I am very much supportive of compulsory voting and a preferential voting system.

  19. 2353NM

    @pierre wilkinson – The problem isn’t the voting process, its the educational process where people are not reminded of the responsibility of the voting process. The AEC and ECQ (I would assume the other state Election Commissions as well) try advertising prior to an election, however they can’t fit a lot in a 30 second TV/Youtube ad. By the time you have said you legally have to vote, where you can do it and the date, there isn’t a lot of time for asking people to think about what they want and reminding people that their choice has consequences. And in a lot of cases, the ‘think about what you really want’ discussion would be claimed as political by some group or other.

  20. Arnd

    2353NM,

    And in a lot of cases, the ‘think about what you really want’ discussion would be claimed as political by some group or other.

    How dare you? HOW DARE YOU?? You … You … You MARXIST, you!

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