We are in many ways an incomplete democracy struggling along, so overburdened with the luggage consecutive conservative leaders have packed into bags so small that we never seem to find time for the bigger issues of nationhood.
Think a republic, a bill of rights; an overdue rehash of our Constitution has needed attention for many years. Indeed, a rethink of our democracy and how it functions should be at the very centre of our thinking.
But alas, given the conservative preoccupation with incremental change it would take them an eternity to make any major transformations.
The right to vote in an election is the gift that democracy gives. Therefore, it is incumbent on the voter to at least have a rudimentary understanding of politics and to take an interest in the political landscape.
Other than “climate heating” as the major piece of luggage the government carries into the New Year the erosion of our democracy is next important.
Its demise began with Tony Abbott and is continuing with the emergence of Scott Morrison as a Trumpish sort of warrior for the right.
In my last post for 2019 l alluded to the possibility of love playing a role in the way politics is practiced. By that I meant that a healthy respect for our democracy and a courteous manner toward one’s opponents might bring about better common good results than the hatred shown toward each other now.
In terms of readership it was one of my most least read posts for the year confirming within my thoughts that people are angry, confused and have dropped any semblance of the notion that we still live in a democracy. That logic, truth, trust and reason has the answers. On the contrary their frustration tells them that anger, belligerence, aggression and arrogance does.
It is not however, only in politics that we see it. It is but a reflection of our society.
More the fool me, I thought. Well, at least those people who commented in my favour and agreed gave me some room for reflection.
However, the public might be forgiven for thinking that our politics has descended into a swamp of hate where respect for the other’s view is seen as a weakness. Where light frivolity and wit has been replaced with smut, lies and sarcasm.
And in doing so politicians debase our democracy and themselves.
But let’s move on beyond the wreckers like Abbott, Morrison and Dutton and most of the current Cabinet.
The accumulated mistakes they have made seem to have not troubled them in the slightest. Conscience is never revealed.
1 The Australian National University conducts an annual poll into the state of politics. This year they found that public trust has reached an all time low.
- Australians’ satisfaction with democracy is the lowest it has been since the Dismissal in 1975, a new study suggests
- Public trust in government is also at an all-time low, according to the study.
- Just over a decade ago, contentment with democracy was at an all-time high now it is at an all time low.
- Just 25 per cent believed people in government could be trusted.
“I’ve been studying elections for 40 years, and never have I seen such poor returns for public trust in and satisfaction with democratic institutions,” lead researcher Professor Ian McAllister said.
Since gaining power in 2013 this government has taken umbrage at those who might say or print words critical of it. So much so that over a long period of time the attitude among politicians, public servants, security, officials and legal figures has been to halt the flow of information that one could be assured of from government in a liberal democracy.
It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t.
Openness and transparency should be sacrosanct in any democracy, but it isn’t in Australia.
In a democracy the right to free speech is given by the people through the government. Therefore, it should be incumbent on people to display decorum, moderation, truth, fact, balance, reason, tolerance, civility and respect for the other point of view. Sadly, this seems to have been forgotten both here (and in the United States).
The very least we should expect from our government is an openness that gives the voter an assurance that whistleblower protection is in place. That freedom of information requests are treated with respect and that matters of governance and the national interest are best served with transparency.
Here is a simple example.
The Prime Minister has refused to disclose the content of Barnaby Joyce’s drought envoy reports in the form text messages.
Joyce has no objection, so why the refusal so here we have, yet again, the government shrouded in corruption, secrecy and incompetence.
2 Morrison returns.
After watching Scott Morrison’s, 22 December press conference after his embarrassing return from leave l have these comments. Firstly, his statement that this is a time for bipartisanship was a fib. The opposition has offered him it, many times.
Secondly, when asked about the use of credits to reach our Paris commitments he completely ignored the question and went on to repeat the lie of omission that we will meet our target in a canter.
The point is that 50% of our target can be taken up with the credits meaning that we would be guilty of not pulling our weight.
The world will be entitled to call us cheats, and they would be right.
He has literally refused to reconsider any part of his government’s climate change policy. He is in a very bad place with his attitude.
One thing I did conclude though was that sympathy doesn’t come naturally to the Prime Minister.
My thought for the day
Sometimes love cannot be spoken only shown.
Next post my words will speak of leadership.
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