IN A RUT: Australia’s current system supports major party politics. Rather than voting for a local representative, we vote for a party, with its sales leader and policy rhetoric.MALCOLM Turnbull’s speech to the Australian Republican Movement on December 18, 2016,raised the issue that had been on the back-burner simmering away for more than a generation.
Every politician has skirted the subject tentatively, but occasionally there is a big push for a referendum.
The last referendum was held in 1999 and followed a very exciting grand summit at the old Parliament House that included monarchists and republicans in fairly equal measure.
This was however scuttled by then Prime Minister John Howard who is a staunch monarchist.
I think everyone knew this would be the outcome as the summit came forth with numerous suggestions as to what sort of republic Australia might become.
But Howard put forward the proposal that we have an appointed head of state using the present system of the governor-general – the only difference would be in name.
No wonder the referendum didn’t pass. Had the question been“should Australia become a republic?” I believe it would have passed with a massive success.
It has beensuggestedthat we adopt an ancient Greek method of sortition. This system draws names for a senate by lottery and people serve for a year.
This means the members of the public would be drafted into service at random and thus represent a broad section of the community. Such selection would allow for a genuine representative democracy but would disqualify positions of power.
Some recommended the American system. Howard specifically excluded this in his argument for his preferred option saying we didn’t want the problems that accompany a direct presidential election by the people.
We can recognise the ultimate appropriateness of Howard’s argument with the most recent debacle in the US and the ascendancy of Trump. Money rules US elections and only the most cashed up can ever truly aspire to the position.
We all love to stick with what we know. It takes less effort and our rut can always be described as comfortable regardless of the stones that jar and the mud that clings.
With a genuine republic reformation we can alter our electoral system to promote genuine democracy and local representation.
But with the right wing extremist Liberals holding Mr Turnbull in a tight controlling embrace there is not much chance of such a change.
Our system is in survival mode, desperately clinging to a scrap of authority.
Not even party politics are able to be democratic, so strong is the right wing hold over the caucus.
This is the indicator for our need for change.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net….