The reason so many of us are feeling disaffected at this, and many other, elections.



Our national parliament suffers a virtual dictatorship under a dominant prime minister; the parliament tends to echo the views either of the prime minister or of the leader of the opposition, in solidarity with the leadership. This behaviour is justified by the aphorism ‘disunity is death’.

Outside the sphere of “Peoples” republics, few other democratic governments in the world are as centralized as that in Australia; nor are their representative assemblies as compliant to the government of the day as the Australian parliament. Consequently, the recommended expansion of the powers of the federal government to manage all issues of national significance may be questioned by a sceptical public, which has every right to be sceptical. The idea of trusting a government, elected under the existing rules, with greater power is likely to be rejected by at least, a significant minority of voters. Until recently, the states were widely regarded as providing desirable “checks and balances” to the potential excesses of federal governments, thus providing a powerful argument for retaining the status quo. In reality, the states’ power to counter the federal government is now very much diminished from its heyday, but the mythology lives on.

Should the proposal for a cooperative government be adopted, it is likely that parliament would attract a more independent, diverse and active membership, willing and able to evaluate the performance of the government objectively and constructively. In addition, a more diverse membership will provide a better basis for the parliament to select a competent executive that can govern the country rather than play politics with it. Now, the predominance of members are drawn from party employees or affiliates whose most prominent accomplishments are running political campaigns, rather than governing. At the same time, the number of politicians meddling in the day-to-day detail of government as ministers, parliamentary secretaries etc. has expanded to record numbers.

If the proposed reforms were adopted, the juvenile antics that comprise so much of parliamentary behaviour would be history, though their passing may be lamented by some in the press gallery.

via Act II.

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