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Democracy: A work in progress

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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  1. Ken

    Great photo of three monkeys.

  2. Henry Rodrigues

    More like three disgusting ratbags. Monkeys are far more likeable, intelligent, endearing and true to their natures.

  3. Phil Pryor

    That horrible snap of the triple cloacal manifestation, Dishonesty, Degradation, Disaster, puffed up egofanatically for eternity. Saturated with lies, alternative lies, substitute lies, these gross turds apply this to dogma,practice, “policy” deception, propaganda, the creation of and inhabitation of a world of fantasising filth, all for self, for donors, patrons, blind supporters, greedy wannabees, ambitious arrivee arseholes, networking sneaky co-achievers, team players, sucker serfs for seduction, assorted bumboys and joygirls for troops. Conservative politics is there, a creation of crooked corporate overconsuming control, profiteering, more overbearing than ever was Attila, Napoleon, Adolf, Josef. It’s all backed by electronic surveillance, infiltration, spying, recording, calculating, manipulating, extracting, enforcing. We citizens have a new low form of staring at the ceiling, biting the pillow, looking away, gritting the teeth, swallowing.., you want me to swallow WHAT?? (she said to the perpetrator) You just know you could not talk sense to these types, extract an honest answer, get a plan, result, commitment. Filth…and the criminally obsessive and (I think) mentally twisted and saturated with sickness Merde Dog has produced this, step by evil, filthy, marginally legal, marginally solvent steps, all to be seen as indestructively magnificent and above challenge.

  4. B Sullivan

    “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.”

    Isn’t socialism a social philosophical common good? Isn’t socialism the answer to eliminating growing inequality and poverty caused by depending on a private sector which thrives on inequality? Socialism is, after all, just public financing for the public good which is surely the correct thing to do with public money contributed on the basis of how much each individual’s income is favoured by the functioning of the society to which the individual is expected to contribute.

    Private capitalists prefer to call public money taxpayers’ money as if taxpayers owned it rather than owed it as their due for receiving income (which they call their earnings whether they made the slightest effort to earn them or not.) They levy a private taxation known as profits for which the payer receives absolutely nothing in return other than greater expense, and they will then use profitpayers’ money to finance more profit making investments without acknowledgement nor a share of the rewards with those who are actually providing the money that was invested.

    With socialism as an alternative to private enterprise the Labor Party could quite reasonably finance the salvation of farmers stricken with drought and the tyranny of distance from markets into growers of world competitive hydrogen gas with solar installations that would provide the cheapest electricity available for splitting hydrogen and oxygen from water so that instead of coal, Australia could offer China and India the alternative of cheaper clean green hydrogen gas to fuel their gas power plants so they can keep the lights on without Greenhouse emissions even when the sun isn’t shining and thus socialism could save the world from Climate Change whilst offering Australia all sorts of benefits, socially, economically and environmentally. Socialism can enrich us and address Climate Change. And win Labor the votes it needs to free Australia from the incompetence of the incumbent government.

    The private sector is only just cottoning on to this opportunity in spite of all the prompting visionaries have been giving it for decades. Besides, private capitalism isn’t very good at nation building enterprises, and instead of providing Australians with a renewable energy infrastructure that would permit extremely low energy bills as well as providing all sorts of opportunities for endeavour, would still feel obliged to contrive a way of extracting eighty per cent of the takings for a privileged twenty per cent of the members of society whilst the other eighty per cent would have to take what they could from the left over twenty per cent. At least under socialism everyone is an equal shareholder. It’s commonly good for everyone. It is capable of solving so many problems but is treated as if it is a problem.

    Labor should be beating the drum loudly to rally everyone to the support of a socialist solutions to social problems. Especially since the Liberals under Morrison are advocating that government should do nothing so that the rich and powerful can grow richer and more powerful as a consequence of maintaining these problems.

  5. leefe

    “The National Party cannot decide if it represents farmers or miners.”

    They have made it quite plain – by actions, if not in words – that they care exactly SFA about farmers and that their only true allegiance is to the mining industry.

  6. wam

    jesus, lord, cut and paste today. You often talk about truth and the dishonesty of omission. How many times can you ignore the fallacy of giving the loonies a total of votes from 150 sources, (gleaning cash from candidates and extremists) and then comparing the nats with only a fraction of the possible 150 seats? Do you not consider it dishonest to ignore, arguably, the 3 most influential decisions by a party with the balance of power, price on carbob, unlimited borrowing and ‘I’ll cause an election if you don’t do what I say, over the last 10 years? Then you bemoan the electoral system that allows such imbalance? Do you advocate a proportional representative system like the senate? ps deja vu with the blackmailing bandit charging straight in with a repeat of boobbies’ words from 2009. Will we read your words on his opinion?
    pps ‘taxpayers’ is perhaps the worst of slogans used by the lnp because it refers to workers and belies the fact that the poor are the spenders and pay GST at the top rate when packer admitted he had never paid full price for anything in his life.

  7. New England Cocky

    The Three Stooges of Australia: Scummo, Spuddo & Drunko. It is bad enough that we have to see these unift for public office fiends on television, but inserting them here in a credible publication is likely to tunr the readers stomachs. Send them all to Manus for the terms of their natural lives …

  8. New England Cocky

    @leefe: Naturally the Nazional$ Party supports miners because with all the government financial largess to foreign owned corporations there is more money available for the unelected political hacks who control pre-selections & leadership challenges.

    Farmers have the great disadvantages of long pockets and seasonal expenses, recently huge drought costs that tend to place farming money elsewhere than politics. Oops!! Except when dealing with MDB water in NW NSW & SW Queensland in the Cayman Islands.

    Foreign owned multinational mining corporations have the advantage of generous COALition financial largess and may even be able to write off the political donations into a blind trust where executive anonymity is protected from charges of treason.

    The trend began with Mark Vaile, once leader of the Nazional$, abandoning politics to become the Chairman of Whitehaven Coal, the corporation desirous of digging up the wonderful farming lands of the LIverpool Plains NSW.

  9. GL


    The Three Stooges were funny and came up with one of my all time favourite lines, albeit paraphrased for the anything but funny Los Vomitous Trio: “Every time they think they weaken the nation.”

  10. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, John.

    I did have a couple of quibbles, but I’m having a ‘positivity’ day, so I won’t bore everyone with them.

    I do want to say, though, what a wonderful photo that is by Alex Ellighausen. Love his work. We’re so lucky to have him.

  11. Geoff Andrews

    The profundity of your sentence, “How many times ………………… possible 150 seats?”, is somewhat diminished by its obscurity.
    How annoying for you that when the Greens hold the balance of power that they don’t fall into line with Labor’s flexible philosophies and insist on their philosophy, particularly when they are aware that there is a rump in Labor that holds them in such contempt as your constant reference to them as “loonies” demonstrates. Naughty Greens! Worse; they “glean” money from other more worthy candidates. Greedy Greens – first they pocket the money then 80% of them give their second preference to Labor. Stupid Greens.

  12. wam

    Thanks, geoff, A good read, especially the admittance of your failure to understand how 150 times the extremist votes is unfairly equated with the nats candidates.
    “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.”
    ps Perhaps you could look up the bandit and tanner, joyce, mccormack etc and see those numbers. Grayndler shows how the 9 seats of the bandit could work. My points over the last 8/9 years has been good on the bandit for his ability to blackmail gillard and for the loonies here to support him. Good luck to boobie sticking to his pique at not being involved in rudd/howard carbon scheme and what did christine get for giving the rabbott unlimited cash is that obscure enough? Anyway it doesn’t matter if the modern green leaders want a nats position in the lower house it would be nice to have someone here acknowledge their ambition or the consequences of their votes. It is late and I haven’t taken my medicine. So sorry for the rave.

  13. Fred

    Democracy is broken. NSW has just had local govt elections. The bad news is that local elections have become party political centric simply by the “group” and “vote above the line” layout of the voting slip as per federal style. It enables stupid/lazy voters. As a litmus test of voter sentiment/laziness my LGA recorded “Liberal” for Mayor and each of the three wards – a totally “Liberal” Council. Bye-bye independents. Clearly we are getting the government we deserve (where are the razor blades). It’s not looking good for federal elections next year. Voters should know who they are voting for, but both of the majors are happy to endorse a system that promotes laziness and limits the number of independents (they need 1,500 registered supporters). The vote above the line should go with a minimum of 5 to be selected.

  14. Geoff Andrews

    Wam I didn’t make any “admittance” of failure to understand your coded contribution; I only pointed out it’s obscurity (as well as its profundity). What I fail to understand is why you want to equate 150 times the number of votes that PHON and Bob Katter get with (those of?) the nats candidates. I believe that is a legitimate translation of the code?

    And yes, your obscurity knows no bounds and, as a non-member of the Greens, I acknowledge their desire to unseat a sitting National member. Someone’s got to do it.

    Perhaps tomorrow, when the effects of the medicine have dissipated, you may like to unmask bandit, boogie, rabbott et al?

  15. Harry Lime

    That’s an astounding but disturbing much could be read into it.Are they just leaving a car dealers convention? Have they just confessed all their sins?(between them they would have to do it in weekly instalments) Whatever,they definitely appear to be on the cusp of another denial.Maybe they have just had their horoscopes read and they are still in disbelief.Im sure going to miss them…or not.

  16. ajogrady

    Democracy is being gamed by big media and played to benefit big business. If businesses pay large amounts of money to “influencers” to gain advantage over their competition then how much is the influence of the media outlets of Murdoch, 7 and 9 worth to the L/NP? The Main Stream Media have been a life support system and cheer squad for a side of politics that has decimated Democracy. The MSM is the problem not the solution. Advertising with these media outlets should be counted as political donations to the L/NP.

  17. GL

    That photo, from right to left:


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