That the people of Australia have lost faith in our system of Government is unsurprising. To say that we are ambivalent about our politicians is an understatement, and we are now ashamed.
To say that our democracy has taken a beating from the hard-Right of Australian politics over the past decade is no exaggeration.
A consequence of the decline of our democracy has been the rise of extremism and far-right conservatism. Liberalism no longer exists, and the National Party exists because of a voting system favouring them disproportionally.
A sort of neo-conservative fascism has replaced the Liberal Party, and old-style Liberalism no longer has a voice. The National Party cannot decide if it represents farmers or miners.
The Labor Party, in part, needs to invest in a social philosophical common good instead of beating the same old drum of socialism. It should embrace the elimination of growing inequality and poverty and see both as a worthy pursuit.
Labor, some might argue, has lost a portion of its supporters to the Greens, whilst rich populist Clive Palmer spends millions confusing people.
In the upcoming election, the door might well and truly be open for independents of character to control the balance of power.
Leading the two major parties on the Right, we have two lying, unscrupulous politicians of dubious character, and on the left, a long-serving lilly white, of which nothing corrupt can be hung. Within LNP ranks, we have a collection of MPs who have studied at some of the country’s most prestigious universities. Sprinkled among them is a fair splattering of individuals who could only be described as borderline nut cases. Women are both underrated, underrepresented and underestimated.
Both parties have pre-selection processes rooted in factional power struggles that often see the best candidates miss out. Both need to select people with broader life experience.
Our democracy lacks objectivity because the current Prime Minister and his followers have debased the democracy to the point that there is no compelling reason to be a politician. Well, at least for people with decency, integrity and compassion.
The pursuit of power for power’s sake and its retention has engulfed political thinking. The people have become secondary. The common good dwells somewhere in the recesses of small minds lacking the capacity for sound public policy that achieves social equity.
There are no stand out leaders. In recent times we have had potential, but it was lost in power struggles, undignified self-interest and narcissistic personality.
It is now nothing but an excuse for mediocre minds who cannot win an argument with factual intellect, charm or debating skills to act deplorably toward each other.
Frivolity and wit have been replaced with smut and sarcasm. Members debase the Parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals.
Our voting system is badly in need of an overhaul. When one party, the Greens, attracts near enough to the same primary votes as the Nationals but can only win one seat in the House of Representatives, as opposed to nine, there is something wrong with the system.
Added to that is the ludicrous Senate situation where people are elected with hardly any primary votes, just preferences.
One cannot begin to discuss the decline of Australian democracy without at the same time aligning it to the collapse in journalistic standards and its conversion from reporting to opinion.
Murdoch and his majority-owned newspapers with blatant support for right-wing politics have done nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society. On the contrary, it has damaged it, perhaps irreparably.
The advent of social media has sent the mainstream media into free fall. Declining newspaper sales have resulted in lost revenue and profits. It is losing its authority, real or imagined, and bloggers reflect grassroots society’s feelings more.
Shock jocks shout the most outrageous lies and vilify people’s character with impunity and, in the process, do nothing to promote proper democratic illumination. They even promote free speech as if they are the sole custodians of it.
Two things, I believe, have contributed to the decline in our democracy.
Firstly, the Abbott and Morrison factor and the death of truth as a principle of democratic necessity. I am convinced Tony Abbott believed that the effect of lying diminished over time and therefore was a legitimate political tool.
And secondly, Morrison sees past his lies and brings into question the very worthiness of the word ‘truth’. Or he has at least devalued it to the point of obsolesce.
There is much more to be said about how and what needs fixing. Next time I shall discuss the real possibility of an Albanese victory and what our priorities should be.
My thought for the day
We’ve had it now for the last dismal decade. This destruction of our Democracy. It’s damaged both sides of politics, it’s damaged our country and our reputation. It has to stop. It must stop.
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