Does the political process have integrity?

The political process…

the challenge of re-building confidence

Politically there is a deepening crisis of confidence. Or rather we have misplaced our confidence, handing over our hard won democratic authority as citizens to the few at the top who are themselves in parties that are undemocratic.
Our urgent need is for democracy – it is not what we have now. Today we see an unprecedented silencing of dissent and centralisation of power taking place – within politics, corporations, the media – away from the ordinary person. We need to re-engage with the political process to restore:

confidence in Parliament…

  • opening up the party system to allow for dissent. In Australian politics the party has far tighter control over members of Parliament than in the mother-parliament in Britain or in the US. Currently in Australia crossing the floor means expulsion or party censoring.
  • the Senate committee system being fully restored to its intended purpose so the Senate can function as a genuine house of review.
  • the real decisions no longer being made behind closed doors, especially in the case where both houses are controlled by one party.
  • question time being overhauled, as serious debate no longer occurs. As the televised face of politics it sets a poor example of national leadership….

Parliament must be restored to its true function as the place of debate.

confidence in the political process…

  • transparent party-funding arrangements
  • breaking the nexus between lobby group party funding and political parties
  • internal party democracy
  • adequate electoral information and election funding
  • reasonable party registration requirements, not favouring major parties
  • genuine consultation with the electorate
  • use of referenda on major watershed legislation….

Martin Luther King said ‘The ends are pre-eminent in the means’. Transparent, open and accountable process alone produces the best outcomes for all.

confidence in politicians…

our need is not for more left or right polished performers. We need statesmen and women of vision, free from the fear of party censorship, or favour to repaying old debts.

confidence in the ordinary citizen…

we can make a difference. In the words of Vaclev Havel, imprisoned for his stand and later President of Czechoslovakia, ‘…a single seemingly powerless person who dares to cry out the word of truth and to stand behind it with all his person and all his life, has surprisingly greater power, though formerly disenfranchised, than do thousands of anonymous voters.”

confidence in Australia…

we are not destined to be subservient followers of any nation, but setting a world lead by our example.

Test one for all legislation:

does the process have integrity