There are so many fundamental flaws in the system that won’t be changed as long as we continue to bumble along enjoying our unearned relative prosperity.
Thomas Jefferson wrote “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” There is no will in this “I’m alright, Jack” society of ours as long as we still have our meat pies, kangaroos and Korean cars with Holden badges.
- The Westminster system that created in turn the bi-partisan structure. The concept of Government & Opposition is so contrary to good management but I can see its value to a reigning monarch in keeping them fighting each other and leaving me alone.
- As a consequence, party loyalty and party interests trump the interests of the electorate.
- The federal system with the sovereignty of the states prevailing. It’s a pretty shaky nation when any of the sovereign constituents can pull the rug out from under it.
- Parliamentarians deciding their own remuneration, with real incentives for the (a) those of lesser worth going for the big pay & retirement benefits, and (b) the independently-wealthy seeking to protect their own interests and massage their own egos.
- Heavily skewed campaign funding propping up the party system through sponsorship, from both sides – business & unions.
- Massive replication of public services through redundant three-tiered government.
- By plebiscite the states cede sovereignty to the Commonwealth.
- The Commonwealth becomes a Constitutional Republic with an inherent Bill of Rights.
- The present three levels of government to be structurally similar with responsibilities largely unchanged in the early days so as to avoid frightening the horses, but with some major differences:
- local government representation be based on one elected member and one selected member for each ward; with higher levels of administration elected from this pool, always with one elected and one selected so that elected & selected are equal in number at each level. At the highest level (“Cabinet”) this committee will be responsible for policy development, aided by salaried permanent heads of departments, whose tenure is determined by parliament on a three-year rollover of government.
- in nomination for an elected position, the nominee must resign from and forswear allegiance to any political party; on selection the selectee must do likewise.
- remuneration of representatives be set by an independent judicial tribunal and be directly proportional to the national minimum wage.
- term of service of both elected and selected representatives be one year, with a limit of two successive terms and thereafter no further participation.
- elections will be held annually on the same day of the same month, with selections taking place during the year for commencement of service at the same time as the elected representatives. Selection to be (as with jury service) from the electoral rolls at random, with exemptions permitted on any reasonable grounds, and with compensation payable for loss of earnings over and above the common remuneration.
Of course, this is just me dreaming – unless and until conditions for the majority of Australians deteriorate to the point of open rebellion, there’s no collective intelligence to contemplate any change. This is just so damned easy to implement with online voting already in place (my wife and I voted online in the last election) and a whole lot better security than just turning up to have your name struck off the roll.
Of course it’s an over-simplification, and I’m sure many faults can be found, but unless we effect fundamental change we’ll keep getting the same outcomes (who said that first?) – at least this comes closer to the true meaning of “demos” and “kratia”.
Perhaps my dream may be achieved in my lifetime. Perhaps not the way I envisaged, but capable of meeting my aspirations. Check it out here.