Democratic reformation

Well, the election is over. Democracy has done its job, we have a new government, and we have a new prime minister. We have a new prime minister who is a bit of a nerd, really... when his colleagues use words to describe him like "formidable intellect" and "incredibly hard working and disciplined" you know that nerds are taking over the world.    

 

I think there is consensus having the election over is a good thing. I was one of the volunteers at the school barbeque yesterday dispensing sausages in bread for $2 a pop (if we're all going to be forced to vote, the local primary school may as well take advantage of it). There was much muttering around the barbeque about the amount of money spent (wasted!) on advertising during the election campaign... and all the better ways this money could have been spent. I've decided the following rules should be imposed on all political parties:

 

  • Political TV ads should be banned. They're annoying.
  • Radio ads should be banned. Ditto.
  • Parties should be allowed to post us all one letter advertising their policies. Anything extra is a waste of paper.
  • Parties can advertise their policies on websites. We'll check them if we want to.
  • Media organisations should be required by law to give equal time (or space for print media) and impartial coverage to both major parties, and a proportionate amount of time to minor parties.

This would force local members to do far more by way of public meetings / grass roots consultation within their electorates. This would mean politicians would have to argue for their policies, and the electorate would learn to listen to an argument instead of a "sound bite" piece of propaganda.

 

While I'm in mad dictator mode, lobbyists should be banned... wealthy multinational corporations can afford to employ lobbyists; the homeless, the poor, and the mentally ill probably cannot. The vulnerable deserve particular protection: the economic interests of wealthy multinational corporations do not require the same level of protection. While we're at it, political donations from companies should be banned... why should our elected governments owe a debt to such a narrow set of interests? They should govern for the good of all, and not feel obliged to make decisions to protect their political cash flow. Party membership fees will be permitted. Political parties won't need much money anyway because most advertising will be banned.

 

What do you think of my ideas? Do you think I might be going a teensy weensy bit too far?

 

Comments

Janet McKinney said…
Hmmm - it makes you wonder what changes will happen in the next year. being in Canberra, there are MANY happy people. What difference will it make to the public service. You may have complained about all the expense prior to an election. Just wait till the expenses of post election comes about.

I bet the make up of departments will change, and millions and millions of dollars of printing will be thrown out. Has you considered the cost of changing the Work Choices ... let alone the health and education department changes.

Not that I really mind the change, it was time I suspect, and there are some certain changes promised I am very happy about. I trust that at long last, Indigenous people will be consulted and included into decision making for their lives.

Yeah - there goes my soap box

Janet McK
Janet Woodlock said…
Some of this is probably just the necessary costs of a democracy and a public service... and although it's a waste of trees, throwing out old stationery is probably cheaper than employing some person to put sticky labels endlessly over the old logos!

After Vivienne Solon, Cornelia Rau, Dr. Habib, "children overboard" etc. etc. one can only hope the immigration department has some changes.

I'm so thankful we can have a change of government without a drop of blood being shed... and with very dignified speeches being given by both the departing and the incumbent PM. For all we whine about aspects of democracy, it's so much better than the alternatives...
AbiSomeone said…
I'm with your list, Janet...we are gearing up for a presidential election in a very ugly time for our country and the political spin meisters are working overtime!
Janet Woodlock said…
I'll confess I look to the US, and am aware that we tend to follow the trends there... and I don't much like what I see.

The election here became very focused on the personalities of the leaders... such as they are (I'd call it the battle of the nerds personally... I say that with some affection for nerds everywhere of course!)

The TV ads were extremely negative... everyone hates negative ads but all the research indicates they have the biggest impact on "swinging" voters, so the rest of us have to put up with them.

However... if you take advertising and personalities and gloss off campaigns what you are left with is policies and (even better!) vision... what kind of country do we want to be? What kind of values do we uphold? I would love to see more discussion on this level, and less slanging and slander.

But I'm an idealist...

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