Election Australia 2010: Government by the People for the People? I Think Not.

Perhaps it’s time for Australia to look seriously at making our democratic process more representative of disparate views and more focussed on governing in the best interests of the country.  Enough of the partisan politics and marginal electioneering, time to make some improvements to governance.

What a joke this whole election process has been.  And now we have the so-called independents playing “who’ll give me the best deal to make me look good” with the electorate.  And the hyperbole from Liberal and Labor continues despite the message from the populace that we were pretty disappointed with both major parties and their manner of treatment of the voter – gullible and stupid comes to mind.

Ross Gittins (Sydney Morning Herald, 3 September) put it pretty succinctly:  “It’s partly because the modern practice of aiming election campaigns almost exclusively at swinging voters in marginal electorates – people known to be uninterested in politics, without ideology, economically illiterate and of a self-centred, what’s-in-it-for-me? disposition – means nothing unpleasant or even faintly serious can be raised.”  So maybe it’s time to do something about this type of campaigning as well as deliver government that is more representative of the diversity of views within Australia.

The distribution (at the moment) of the nationwide vote of Coalition 43.7%, Labor 38%, Green 11.7% and Others at 6% spread across a house of 150 seats would give the Coalition 67 seats, Labor 57, Greens 17 and Others 9 seats approximately.  I’ve been generous and given the Coalition a ‘round-up” to a whole seat.  Sorry Greens.  In this circumstance the Coalition should have the right to attempt to form a government and could do this with Green (84 seats) or with the Others (76 seats).  Should the Coalition not be able to form government then Labor should be given the chance, and could form government with the Greens and some of the Others.  This appears about as messy as the current situation where three yahoo’s (for want of a better word) are holding good governance to ransom, but at least it would represent the overall vote of the Australian population, not the votes of a few marginal seats.  The current situation leads to an inequality in people’s votes and there are surely ways in which true equality of representation can be achieved in the democratic process.

A few other things that need to be addressed:

  • Removal of the compulsory voting requirement.  It would mean that the disinterested wouldn’t bother voting and that the respective political parties would be more likely to treat those with an interest with some REAL policy rather than “Gobbels-esque” propaganda.
  • Truth in Electoral Advertising.  You lie and tell half-truths in your ads and your political party is fined (large sums) for dishonesty and misrepresentation.  And you have to give a retraction equal time/space.  I don’t wish to be treated like a mushroom.
  • All political promises costed by Treasury and publicly announced at least 5 days before polling.  Let’s see some reasonable numbers not garbage.
  • ALL electoral advertising to cease 5 days before the polling date, only “How to Vote Cards” to be handed out on the day.  At least it would give us the opportunity to actually think about who deserves our vote rather than being bombarded with irrelevance.

Would such changes make our Democracy truly representative?  Hard to say over the long term, but it would certainly make it much better than what we currently have.  I’m all for that.


About deknarf

Australian born and bred who has spent most of his working life in R&D and IP management with earlier forays in the newspaper industry and martial arts. Fortunate enough to be living in one of the best countries in the World, even though I might get grumpy with it from time to time.
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