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Democracy … So?

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.


10 comments

  1. Wayne Turner

    Australian mediaocracy we are…

    Even worse on:-

    ABC – The Managing Director is a former stooge for Murdoch,and still a friend of that democratic terrorist.

    Rudd – He even gave jobs to ex-COALition pollies.A gutless suck up for what? UN endorsement? Oh wait… Did nothing about the stacking of the ABC by the COALition.Plus,one of the reasons Rudd got in,at the 2007 election was,he cut a deal with the Murdoch media for positive coverage.So much for democracy.. While when Gillard refused too,all of the MSM set out to destroy her.So much for democracy..

  2. Matters Not

    JC re:

    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.

    Rudd (with the approval of Goss) tried that approach back in 1989. It was swift and brutal:

    As the new premier’s right-hand man, Rudd found himself at the vanguard of the Goss revolution – and in the firing line of recalcitrant public servants, as well as ministers and their staff, some of whom almost certainly envied the wunderkind’s close relationship with the premier. But the job at hand was to deliver the Goss agenda, and Rudd set about doing so with single-mindedness.

    Remember Labor was out of power for 32 years. And had lots of scores to settle – both real and imagined. Revenge was on the agenda.

    Some of those removed from top jobs by the government were sent into isolation, where they were left to “sharpen pencils and not much else”, according to one ex-director-general. The repository, named the “research unit” but known as the “gulag”, was an old state-owned building said to have housed lepers a century before. It was a richly symbolic gesture, and by early 1990 at least eight senior public servants had been dispatched there on full pay but with nothing to do, only to find themselves being portrayed in the media as indolent fat cats. The tactic was meant to force resignations and avoid costly redundancies.

    The bureaucrats blamed Rudd for their plight. “The general belief around the place was that it was the baby-faced assassin,” recalls one, who was summarily sent to the gulag two days before Christmas Day 1989. “Kevin Rudd was the mastermind of the gulag.” The former “inmate” still smarts at the humiliation. “It was a really shitty thing. They treated people in the most inhumane way,” he says. “It spread a climate of fear . . . We were fodder for a political message they wanted to send out to the public service.”

    Believe it or not some public servants became invisible – in that they were on the payroll but, those in authority (often new appointments) simply forgot about them. (Not all were sent to the gulag. Others were scattered across Brisbane.)Some didn’t surface for years. Didn’t have a phone. Weren’t mentioned on any organizational chart. No work. No duties. No responsibilities. No Budget. Incredible but true.

    Rudd says now: “No one ever gets it completely right. I certainly didn’t. You try your hardest, do your best.” But as for individual decisions, some things might have been done better. “I think, for example – this is the government generally as opposed to just me personally – the way in which reform of the public service was carried out was rougher than it needed to be.”

    He then became gun shy. As did successive Labor governments in Queensland and elsewhere. The rise of Beattie for example saw virtually no sackings. From one extreme to another.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/federal-election-2007-news/the-making-of-kevin-rudd/2007/11/19/1195321646997.html

  3. Joseph Carli

    You’d have to pick your “target”..with the current state of things, they now stand out like dogs balls!

  4. wam

    The rabbott, his joey, joyce, the pyne nut and shorten were products of jesuit schools the next level were brother educated or converted catholics.. On the question of marriage equality the rabbott is banking on the committed no voters fear peddling will drive them to vote and every church run home will vote no by proxy giving a total larger than the yes.

    The plan may backfire because of the irrational christian fears and the stupid reasons, like the latest given by the rabbott.

    Can we rely on the yes to stay calm, stress the love and refute the simple lies of the rabbott and Andrews?

    Can labor develop the millions wasted by the no on adverts etc check for plagiarism from failed campaigns and continually list the catholic countries already yes and nsw, tas and qld where it is recognised.

    Kevin ended up a lemon but was elected as a learned alternative to a tired howard.

    Can billy do the same to this frail government?

    Will this postal vote become another AEC debacle which may trigger a resurgence of the party?

  5. Matters Not

    JC, things are not always as they seem. Back at the turn of this century, there was the Children Overboard incident. The handling of that ‘scandal’ was largely in the hands of Jane Halton. Halton was plucked from relative obscurity by Max Moore-Wilton and became the brains behind the government’s ‘nonsense’. In Labor circles she was hated.

    The Children Overboard Inquiry exploded into a shouting match, when a Labor senator accused the witness, Jane Halton, of calling a defence witness a liar.

    It was only one of a series of heated exchanges between the senators and Ms Halton, who was the head of the Prime Minister’s People Smuggling Taskforce, when the false accusations about children being thrown overboard were made.

    During her first appearance at the inquiry, Ms Halton repeatedly told the committee that she did not recollect or recall many events surrounding the affair.

    Yep she did not recollect or recall many events surrounding the affair. After that role, Halton advanced to lead a significant Federal Department under a LNP government. With the arrival of Rudd, I expected she would be one of the first out the door. Not so. Not only survived – but thrived. Gillard became a huge fan. Here’s some insights:

    She knew a bit about the trials of top public servants from her childhood – she is the first person to follow a parent all the way to the top. Her father, Charles Halton, is an Englishman recruited by Gough Whitlam from Canada to head a super department of transport.

    As I suggest above – there’s always things below the surface that outsiders no nothing about. You can bet that Labor Shadows have good contacts (leaks) within the Public Service and at very high levels. I suspect there won’t be a ‘night of the long knives’. Sure, some will leave and in some instances that will be of their own choosing. Sackings will not be widespread.

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/06/28/1023864657707.html

    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/stories/s635450.htm

  6. Joseph Carli

    Matters not..instead of going into a defence of my post, I will refer you to a very instructive missive that I have found quite useful and instructive in my research on political machinations..I trust you will find it just as instructive..; “The Discourses of Titus Livius” by Niccolo Machiavelli.

    https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/machiavelli/niccolo/m149d/

  7. Matters Not

    Joseph Carli, I get the impression you think I am critical of your post in some sort of pejorative manner. Not so! Therefore, can’t see how there is any need for a defence. I always proceed on the assumption that posts on this site are there for the purpose of discussion starters. I responded in that vein. If you don’t want further ‘explorations’ then just say so and I won’t bother in the future.

    As for Niccolo Machiavelli, I am quite familiar with his work and have been for some decades. Here’s a link to another Italian ‘theorist’ you may find useful (as a ‘teaser’ only). Note that one of the footnotes is the work of Paulo Freire who is also a powerful ‘thinker’ and whose work you may also find of interest.

    https://www.powercube.net/other-forms-of-power/gramsci-and-hegemony/

    http://www.practicingfreedom.org/pedagogy-of-the-oppressed-what-is-it-and-why-its-still-relevant/

  8. Joseph Carli

    Maters not..Your opening paragraph seemed to imply that I needed “education” on the subtle twists and turns of political intrigue…my apologies if you are offended by my off-hand response..I do admit to having a rather large chip on my working-class shoulders (as I have explained in a past post here : https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/warming-the-seat-keeping-it-warm/ ) certainly there is always much to observe and witness, but myself being a student of history am no longer wide-eyed at the machinations of modern politics…the devious tactics of Julius Caesar and many others of the Julian House as exquisitely recorded in the primary and translated sources of so many historians gives good example of just about every possible combination of intrigue or betrayal known and used by humanity…

    Perhaps I can suggest a less presumptuous style of “informing” and a more aggressive delivery of whatever outrages you…I will be less offended by a “full-frontal” as much as a “come from behind” discussion…as I said..chip on shoulder and all that..

  9. Matters Not

    opening paragraph seemed to imply that I needed “education” on the subtle twists and turns of political intrigue

    While I have said on numerous occasions, the giving of meaning is always problematic – for all concerned. What I was attempting to do was give some detail which is not available to those who were not ‘involved’. I was – albeit from some distance but with some intimate knowledge of those who were active players at that time..

    As for History, definition of – its methodological problems including the crucial roles played by historians, I will leave that discussion for another time.

  10. Harquebus

    Something that I read this morning that appears to be on topic.

    “the financial sector in the last decade has accomplished what official censorship and political repression could not: totalitarian control of social media, and the mobilization of progressives in support of neoliberal fascism.”
    “the fact that privatized mass communication now dominates public opinion to such a degree that all public discussion of vital issues is choreographed by PR firms.”
    “the donor elites that set the civil society agenda benefit from Wall Street’s vertical integration of controlling consciousness, allowing them to fabricate news, as well as to integrate advertising with government propaganda.”
    http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2017/07/28/usual-suspects/

    “Politics: From the latin “poli” meaning “many” and “tics”, meaning “blood sucking creatures.”” — Robyn Williams

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