By Allan Richardson
The success of the Indie women at the last election, no matter what their political leaning, will give heart to many genuinely progressive apolitical women candidates. This will be an extraordinary time. Don’t be put off by the mountain of parliamentary procedures that would have to be rewritten if we got to the point of having no political parties as such, having anything like a majority. Pity I’ll miss the denouement, but I have a vivid imagination.
Welcome to The New Teal (apologies, FDR)
In a different political universe, the Greens, with 12.25% of the national vote would have about one eighth of the seats. They didn’t.
The New Teals’ 5.29% scored them 10 seats to the Greens’ 4. This is mathematically disproportionate, with less than a half of the Indies’ support generating them two and a half times the number of HoR seats!
But aye, there’s the rub! (Apologies to His Bardship). Most Indie contestants were campaigning on one, or perhaps a few specific issues that attracted sufficient support from their electorates, together with the last nine years of almost indescribable neglect of the succession of incompetent LNP governments, which provided such rich pickings!
So, we are at the crossroads. Do we support the concept of Independent candidates appealing to, and progressing their electorates’ needs? Is this dangerously close to democracy? Or do we continue with the existing model, where a major party struggles for the support of a third of the preferences, essentially disenfranchising twice as many when they fall over the line just because there were enough people who liked them better than the other mob?
Or do we decry and dismiss a parliament of Independents, because ‘It would be a shambles, unlike our two party duopoly’, or ‘Are Australians capable of developing an effective process of proper parliamentary procedures and Bill tabling using democratic voting processes?’
We invented the stump-jump plough, the rotary clothesline and WiFi, so I think we could give it a shot!
Such an Independent, partisan environment would be refreshing, with all representatives promoting the views of their communities. Different Indies would often vote on bills in similar ‘groups’, but uncommitted to that group on other issues. See how dangerously democratic this could become!
And if you’re asking how an Independent Member of Parliament could know what their constituents feel about a bill, let me introduce you to some advanced technology, called the internet, websites and mail. For anyone interested in participating in the right to have a say, it’s up to you. It’s dead easy to contact everyone during their election campaigns and it can often be free.
If you’re looking for reasons a parliament of Independents couldn’t work, vote LNP. Not that any parties would have a bar of it!
It just may become an existential necessity. As the American cops say; “BOLO.”
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