So, we’ve got democracy. OK, I can live with that. “Of, By and For the people” … sounds alright to me. And there’s the Westminster System of Parliament. That’s sweet; everything above board and regulated. And if not, we have that other essential arm of democratic governance, the Fourth Estate to fearlessly report and expose any Machiavellian plots to undermine … oh, hang on, now we’re drifting into a kind of fantasy. Let’s go back a couple of steps and look at this thing more closely.
Firstly, the so-called Fourth Estate – the mainstream media (MSM) – is not reporting on the activities of the LNP government. It is framing the propaganda spin for the government and thereby being a political player in the LNP scheme of politics. With the control and influence of the vast majority of MSM being owned by one mogul who is an avowed supporter (at this moment) of the right-wing of politics, there is little or no room to move for any progressive or left-wing movements to get coverage in the main media suppliers to the public. Indeed, there is so much false and obfuscated reporting that deliberately works against the Labor Party and other minor parties in a most un-democratic way that is being used as a reference point for other media outlets to use … even the national broadcaster. This is a complete loss of any oversight of our democracy by an independent body.
And then we have the LNP members themselves. I had to go back to an old Crikey survey to find some numbers on the LNP front bench:
State schools may have had good reason to worry. A Crikey survey has found that 82% of Tony Abbott’s cabinet went to private schools, with annual fees as high as $32,000 in 2013. This compares with the general public, where 35% of students attended private schools in 2012, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics … The Crikey survey found that 14 out of 17 cabinet ministers were privately educated. Two ministers were excluded from the survey; Nigel Scullion and Mathias Cormann refused to tell us where they were educated (in Cormann’s case, it was in his native Belgium). The majority come from religious schools, some in the Roman Catholic tradition, such as St Ignatius Riverview in Sydney (Abbott and Joyce). Anglican institutions like The Peninsula School, Mount Eliza are represented (Environment Minister Greg Hunt), while others come from non-denominational independent schools, such as Brisbane Grammar (Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane). Some, like Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, went to Sydney’s elite Greater Public Schools group.
If this is the case as it stands in the Turnbull government (and I can’t see it changing much) then how is this representative of the general population? And doubtless that this has been the percentage “norm” in many LNP governments then it would seem our “democracy” and government is an act of ownership of the “Greater Private Schools” system, or in other words, a racket!
In 2016, the share of national student enrollment at the affiliation level showed that the Government share increased from 65.2% in 2015 to 65.4% in 2016. This was balanced by the Catholic share of enrollment dropping to 20.2%, down from 20.4% in 2015. The Independent enrollment share remained steady at 14.4% (abs.gov.au/ausstats … ).
So by that we have governance by and for the interest of a minority percentage of the population. This elite cabal of religious / private school indoctrination of ideals would give direction to the type of political outcomes we have been suffering under for much of the LNP time in governance. This is not a democratic ideal of for the people, but rather, to the people. For how could a minister who had swanned through their younger years with all the privileges of class and paved ways of higher education have feelings for the greater majority who have and will struggle through the hard-rows of school, work, finances. Of course they wouldn’t hold close to their hearts the vague unfulfilling notions of the poor and unemployed. Those of the more wealthy suburbs would naturally seek to even make more easier the paths of their own. How would we expect otherwise?
If the percentage of ministers that draw up legislation and propose policy are consistently from a minority demographic bringing governance with their own or vested interests upon the greater majority for no reason other than to enrich those of the same class as themselves. This is not a democracy, it is an “Authority”.
Then we come to Parliamentary Procedure and rule of law, both civil and constitutional. The latest outrages against Parliamentary Procedure with the “dual citizenship” fiasco and the recent “contempt of court” outrage along with numerous rorts and allowances grabs etc – too many really to list! – YET as far as I can ascertain, there have been no charges laid or investigations done by our policing agents or bodies. Why is this so? Why is there no authority overseeing those “close to the wind illegalities” committed by the LNP members? Could it be because, as written above, there is an unwritten acknowledgement of “confederacy of kind” between those of a certain class and education elite that gives a kind of “automatic Lebensraum” … room to move and to allow leeway for a change of direction? A sort of convenient forgiveness.
In a recent post, I wrote of when Norm Gallagher was goaled for contempt of court with no offer of a contrite apology given. Yet the recent same charge to three members of the LNP government allowed an escape clause with a rather disingenuous apology. Why? Because if the charge was rightfully upheld, it would have brought down the LNP Government. This was seen as an impossibility for that class of society. They were born to rule and it was “not cricket” for it to be brought down by some of their own! So a convenient “out” was given, publicised and promoted by the fourth estate urged by those three minister’s colleagues and accepted by the judiciary. The “balance” was restored.
But this is not democracy in any shape or form. No, this is a corruption of the name and system. We have for many years been deluded into thinking we are living under a democracy, but it is in reality a “confederacy of elite collegial conspiracy” … not so much an oligarchy, nor an authoritarian government, but with a combination of those three ingredients; MSM, Private/Religious Education Groups, and Legal Authority. We have a new order of “Triumvirate”.
I would urge the Australian Labor Party – if or when they gain office – to this time not do a Kevin (OH! Seven) and leave those LNP sleepers in their positions of authority or power, but to go through the entire higher order of governance, bureaucracy and media like a dose of salts to purge the rot that has permeated through the whole of the system, not just to secure their own governance, but to restore respect and honesty to our democracy.