It's extraordinary that just a week after Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum agreed to strip away rights and privileges that Australians have enjoyed for generations to protect us from a terrorist threat their policies have helped to create, they have now agreed they want 4 year Federal parliamentary terms.
This push to extend the time, by which they can legally hold office while ignoring the calls for the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the Australian Constitution, is symptomatic of the intellectual, moral and ethical vacuum in political life in this country.
Every 3 years Australians on the electoral roll are forced by law to give a signed blank cheque to a bunch of politicians who can promise them one thing while campaigning and do exactly the opposite while in office.
It's bad enough that electors can't do anything about it till the next Federal election when they have the opportunity of going through the electoral charade once again putting their faith in another bunch of politicians hoping that the next group will honour their electoral promises.
What is worse is that the Australian people are hamstrung by a Constitution where change can only be initiated by their parliamentary representatives. No wonder we see politicians from the major political parties calling for Australians to vote on referendums that increase the powers they can exercise, but ignore calls to hold referendums that protect and extend the rights that ordinary citizens can exercise.
Disillusionment with representative democracy is not just an Australian phenomenon. Around the world, fewer and fewer people are putting their faith in a system that in many people's eyes is democratic in name only. The situation is becoming more critical in those societies like Australia that do not have processes that allow people to directly pursue political reform through citizen initiated referendums and that allow them to recall representatives who do not fulfill their promises.
Political elites that stymie and ignore calls for reform and allow their people to impotently flail about in the political, ethical and moral quagmire they have created, do so (as the miners involved in the Eureka rebellion in 1854 demonstrated) at their own peril because ultimate political authority in a democratic society rests in the hands of the people, not their rulers or their parliamentary representatives.
Terror is an everyday feature of our lives. The terror of losing your livelihood because of the government's new Industrial Relations laws far outweighs the terror that is created by the indiscriminate murder of people in Bali.
The daily terror experienced by the people of Iraq as a direct consequence of the invasion by the 'coalition of the willing' (an invasion that had the second largest reserve of oil on the planet for Western interests than the creation of a democratic State) is something that Australian's are now beginning to understand.
The terror of having to live with laws, that allow the State and its security agencies to detain and interrogate people without charge because they may inadvertently have information that may assist the authorities in their investigations. The terror of finding out that if you don't cooperate, you can be jailed for up to 5 years, are terrors that Australians who protest against their government's policies are beginning to experience. The terror of being an asylum seeker in this country, of being legally held in detention indefinitely because nobody believes you or wants you, is a terror that's experienced daily by the refugees on the Tampa who are still being held on Nauru.
The terror of having to live on an old age pension, after a lifetime of work, knowing that your contribution to society has not been acknowledged let alone valued, knowing that you will have to sell your home to get access to a nursing home bed, is a terror experienced by many elderly Australians every day of their retirement. The terror of knowing that you have to wait for a public hospital bed in an understaffed and under-funded public hospital sector is a terror experienced by many Australians who don't have the disposable income to buy private health insurance.
The terror of being a Muslim in Howard's Australia, knowing that you will be personally blamed every time a bomb goes off in the world, by a population that's conveniently forgotten that the presence of Australian troops in invading armies in Afghanistan and Iraq may have something to do with the current spate of suicide murders. The terror of being an indigenous Australian living as an outcast on the margins of a land your people have continuously occupied for over 40,000 years, waiting for Australians to start the reconciliation process by entering into a meaningful treaty with this land's original owners, is a terror indigenous Australians have experienced for 217 years.
These are just a few of the terrors we face as individuals and as a community in Australia today. Terror is directly linked to the level of insecurity people experience and feel in their day to day life, it is not just caused by indiscriminate explosions.
By Joe Toscano posted 6 October 05
PEOPLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS
* AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY Victorian Branch *
360 King Street, West Melbourne
11.30 am - WEDNESDAY 12th OCTOBER 2005
Same old, same old
By Emma Goldman Wednesday October 05, 2005 at 11:15 PM
Same old left-wing propaganda drive. The only people buying that shit are the 10% who vote for the Greens and other fringe parties. As far as the vast majority of Australians are concerned, it's just a load of irrelevant, untrue whingeing crap.
don't forget the ilk
By Bill Posters Thursday October 06, 2005 at 12:08 AM
You forgot to say "and your ilk", Emma. Oh well, save it for another cliche retort.
They hate democracy
By Little Johnny Hitler Thursday October 06, 2005 at 12:40 AM
No surprise that Chris Parsons, MIM's perennial right wing troll, should turn up to cheerlead for the destruction of democratic institutions. I thought you were a fan of democracy Chris, why are you so keen to make sure that political puppets of corporate hegemony undermine what is left of our democratic institutions? Please tell us how democracy will be helped and strengthened by:
* electronic voting (used by Bush to steal the last US election through vote rigging)
* voluntary voting
* flexible four-year terms
* removing the seven-day grace period for new enrolments after an election is called
* limiting the amount of time electors have to notify authorities of a change of address to three days
* banning prisoners from voting
* threshold for disclosure of political donations to increase from $1,000 to $10,000 or even be completely removed (yet at the same time the HoWARd Government plans to force unions and other interest groups to reveal their campaign spending outside election periods)
All these measures have been proposed by the coalition. If we want to talk about "strengthening" and "improving" democratic processes let's get fair dinkum about it:
* Develop a foolproof electronic voting system then introduce electronic referenda for every bill before the parliament. To weed out party hacks and morons we could test for understanding and comprehension of the implications of the proposed bill before allowing voters to participate. Such a system would prevent us from getting involved in criminally stupid enterprises like the illegal invasion of Iraq - for instance.
* Introduce proportional representation (MMP) to break the stranglehold of the two party charade
But they're not going to be doing anything of the sort are they? They hate our freedoms. They hate democracy. We should deal with them the way they dealt with Saddam.
Abetz moots wide-ranging electoral reforms
Electoral changes concern young voters
The vast Majority of Australians
By Zag Thursday October 06, 2005 at 10:01 AM
The "vast majority of Australians" are sheep lead by wolves.
By Naomi Klein Thursday October 06, 2005 at 10:54 AM
The vast majority of Australians are ignoring you, because you're a bunch of conspiracy-theory-mongering lunatics.
No News (Ltd) is good news?
By Arselicker Parsons Friday October 07, 2005 at 10:42 AM
We could assume that many Australians are stupid, apathetic, greedy, self-absorbed, uninterested, uneducated, ignoring us etc. etc. but is there more to it that that? I would suggest there is more to the story. What role does the media have in informing the public of issues and leading us to better understanding through in-depth analysis? As opposed to exploitative sensationalism designed to move "units". Can we blame the public if media owners use their interests to pursue their own agenda? Here's a little example. The ABC and The Age have both rightly dedicated prominent space to exposing the incompetence and corruption of Amanda Vanstone.
"A DEFIANT Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has absolved herself of responsibility after her department's handling of the Vivian Alvarez Solon case was branded "catastrophic" in a damning independent report."
"Senator Vanstone and Immigration Department secretary Andrew Metcalfe yesterday publicly apologised to Ms Alvarez Solon. But when asked about her ministerial responsibility, Senator Vanstone said: "The Prime Minister has made his views clear on this ... he doesn't believe ministers should be held responsible for things they clearly have no knowledge of.""
'It is a shameful episode'
Obviously ministerial accountability is a figment of the publics imagination. If you wish to avoid accountability for your departments mistakes you simply say "I didn't know" just as Bart Simpson would say "I didn't do it" and the world is your oyster. So what does a so-called democracy really represent when there is no accountability by ministers to the people they are supposed to represent?
Getting back to my main point, where was Australia's largest media organisation (News Ltd) when it came to reporting this incompetence/corruption/gross dereliction of duty? Well they didn't even consider it newsworthy. And why should they when their CEO Rupert Murdoch is trying to wrangle even greater domination of media ownership opportunities in this country? Is he going to bite the hand that feeds him? Is that how he became the most powerful media owner on the planet? Did someone mention conflict of interest? Given this is but one example of many is it any wonder the Australian public behave like mushrooms. What would you expect when you are kept in the dark and fed bullshit? If we had half decent reporting on politics in this country there is a fair chance Howard would never have been elected. Lets hear no more of this bullshit about democracy and the opinions of "the majority" from the minority of arselicking morons like Chris Parsons.
By Bill Posters Friday October 07, 2005 at 11:59 AM
Very nicely put, Arselicker, the mainscream media certainly have a lot to answer for when you look at it that way. I'd even go as far as to ask who are the real terrorists, or at least have "links to Al-Quaeda" or something worse. It's not one Journo or particular show, but the whole corporate news experiment - its not working, or it is working depending on what kind of world you want. Anyhow, what's on page three?
Stop the war on civil liberties!
Prime Minister John Howard is using the "war on terror" to promote widespread fear about "terrorists" and "terrorism" in Australia. This is despite the fact that the biggest act of terror being committed today is being carried out by foreign troops, including Australia's, in occupied Iraq.
Embrace nuclear weapons: The Un-Australian?
The Un-Australian newspaper and its political leader john hoWARd have outlined terrorist justification for [false flag] terror attacks in Bali, London and New York and urged neo-liberals and the other 80 per cent of Australians to embrace the 'fear' of nuclear weapons in an article today headed :Embrace nuclear weapons: Bashir.
Australia: Caught in a poverty trap
ONE of the delights of watching a superhero movie, be it of the bat or spider variety, is when the grotesque machinery developed and demonstrated by the hero's foes is turned back on them with typically devastating results.
It's not the terrorists' it's us
While we watch the latest round of appalling violence and mayhem spilling across our screens it is worth considering its cause.
Govt, police 'let off the hook' Haneef inquiry
8 years ago