Important role for Independents with integrity
In Australia the two party system has meant Members of Parliament argue and vote along party lines. This ideological stance stifles genuine debate. Clearly parties with policies are needed, but also clearly there are limitations to the two party system, seen particularly in the disregard for the function of the upper house of Parliament, the Senate.
Almost by definition, the Senate as the House of Review should have representatives of independent thought and allegiance. The people need the assurance of knowing:
• that legislation is being reviewed by persons of integrity whose only obligation is to support the best laws for the people of Australia;
• that their views can be considered honestly by an elected member of Parliament who who is free to think and act without party censorship;
• that such members are prepared to stand publicly by what they think and say privately.
The concept of a Movement of Independents for the Upper Houses of Parliament is entirely consistent with this. Our aim is to stand candidates for the Australian Federal and State elections.
Members of Parliament have a wider leadership role in advocating long-term concerns taking priority over the short term, and sacrifice for the national good taking priority over personal gain.
There are issues however that can only be accurately discerned through relationships of trust that have been built with people in the community over time. Common sense can otherwise be over-ridden by the conflicting demands of pressure groups. There is often the need for honest brokers, not so much to help strike a compromise, but to develop the spirit of trust in which a win-win plan can emerge. This uniting role in practice may well be easier for broad-based independents than for members of parties with set policies or those with a single-issue agenda.
There is then a vital role for Independents to play outside Parliament. Instead of engaging in party politics over issues, they are free to establish the truth behind an issue, and then to formulate policies appropriate to that truth.
Whilst independents do not have the weight of party numbers behind them, this force of truth and integrity remains their main source of impact.