Our political system is a mess. Politicians are by the nature of party politics, adversarial. In order to defray the legitimacy of each other, politicians are constantly looking to find some small crack in the veneer of the opposition parties or members and pick away until a festering sore appears, and often for no more than something that they might be guilty of themselves.
Looking at the Australian scene, much was said when some of the politicians failed to meet the requirements of Section 44 requiring them to be singularly Australians, a fairly appropriate requirement, in order to serve in the parliament. As it started, there was much lamenting by the coalition about the failure of some Greens, until it came time for their number to fall foul of the rules.
Earlier than that was the Choppergate affair, where Bronwyn Bishop in an elitist fashion, employed an expensive helicopter to fly a matter less than one hundred kilometers to what turned out to be a private political party. Or Sam Dastiari who came undone when it was revealed he had accepted donations from a Chinese business man with an association to the Chinese government. A matter that was soon replicated again by the coalition.
Our system has no recourse other than to vote out one party to be replaced by another every three to four years. In the meantime, the country suffers.
We invest in politicians in the hope that they will best represent us yet all too often, find that they serve another interest before us. We lose interest and resign to whatever outcome that will occur. Oh, we might go to a protest meeting or write a letter to the member but our ability to affect change is limited. If they are compelled to fall in line with a party platform, then our wishes will never be heard if it is contrary to their own.
In the past I have felt strongly about certain matters and for the want of doing something have written to my local member only to be fobbed off with platitudes and generalities that hardly addressed my concerns. I challenged them to resign if the legislation they were in favor of failed at some cost to the people of Australia.
Politicians use us to gain power in order that they can stay in power even if their interest is not about us. They will lie about their policies as Tony Abbott did or completely misrepresent the opposition policies even when they know them to be the best course of action. GST was a case in point. Hewson was in favor yet lost the election to Keating who had while he was Treasurer in the Hawke government, been in favor of it.
As it stands, politicians have become the representatives of business factions. Their missions are to advance the place of industry, often at a cost to the public. Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba, the Chinese marketing platform recently highlighted the state of US trade concerns. Governments over the years had facilitated the transfer of goods supply and service offshore to the extent that these industries could no longer survive in the US. The same could be said for Australian governments, particularly the current government who in a quest to prop up the budget are hell bent on maintaining industries that are now in their death throws such as coal mining to the detriment of the environment.
Direct Democracy could and would do away with politicians and their excesses. In its place, advocates, either volunteers or paid for by the supporters of the positions taken on any issue would take their place yet everyone could be engaged in deciding the form of legislation that is developed. Legislation based upon data that is compiled and presented by respective government departments that are obligated to present an impartial report citing all sides of the arguments.
Within our society, we are faced with a multitude of opinions and while we may not agree with them, as mistakenly subscribed to Voltaire, we should defend their right to voice it. It was the platform the ancient Greeks developed that enable all citizens to address the legislature.
In this day and age, we also need to move on from the pen and paper means of recording votes and manually collating them towards a system that utilizes digital voting. There are any number of platforms that can do this. The government just needs to accept it as the best option. The recent plebiscite at a cost of $100 million dollars proved initially that direct democracy works yet the means to bring it about, postal voting was prohibitive and prone to multiple layers of corruption and delay.
Online Direct Democracy as a party seeks to bring about the changes in government that eliminates party politics and the level of unilateral authority that politicians exercise to the eventual position that they might operate outside of the political forum but are not being supported by it. Their position would be in the realms of advocacy, where they can speak for or against anything they like but at the end of the day, the people would decide in an online referendum.