Democracy down-under is not democracyPosted by freespeech on Saturday, 1 June 2013
This weekend we have the AGM of a local community organisation. Like many organisations I am involved in, there will be a democratic process of decision making, board election and a low-budget social activity afterwards.
We take it for granted that democracy is a good thing. In my own country, Australia, people are supposedly happier than they've ever been, no doubt people will suggest that our democracy is part of the recipe for success. While this example is from Australia, it could well happen anywhere.
While everybody was slapping themselves on the back about our officially confirmed contentment, the politicians tried to slip something under the radar. With elections expected in September, the press exposed a secret deal between the two biggest political parties, raiding the public piggy bank for $60 million to prop up their campaign accounts. There is even a leaked copy of a letter confirming the deal. It was to be voted through parliament in a stitch-up within 48 hours after the `happiness' announcement.
Why would these two big political parties engage in a such a gross conspiracy? Weren't they already content with their whopping big pay increases that put our Prime Minister on a bigger salary than the US president or the UK Prime Minister?
Well, you don't have to look hard to find out what this special funding was all about:
Not long ago, the post office at the University of Melbourne where Wikileaks operates a post-office box was mysteriously shut down. While that may seem like it could just be a co-incidence on it's own, it's worth considering in the wider context: the Wikileaks party is one of the most widely recognised names in Australian politics right now. The party's leader, like the new pope, is seen as somebody who puts his principles ahead of his own comfort, living a humble life in exile while our politicians romp around with prostitutes paid for with stolen money.
Whatever you think of Wikileaks or Mr Assange's private life, they are not the only example here. There are other democratic movements in our country that are equally frightening for those who are currently drunk on power.
One of the independent MPs holding the balance of power is a former Lieutenant Colonel in Australia's spy agency who was ridiculed by a prior Government and forced out of his job when he exposed the sham of the Iraq war. Neither of the major political parties wants to continue being held accountable by someone who has shown such strong principles against their campaign of death and deception. That $60 million welfare payment to big political parties was intended to be something akin to a weapon of mass destruction, obliterating independent representatives out of the parliament. More recently, the same independent MP has been equally vigorous in his campagin to break the scourge of our mafia-style gambling industry with it's cosy links to Australian politicians.
Now it is starting to become obvious just how scary democracy can be. Motivated by the spectacle of a few independents holding our incumbent politicians to account, other Australians have also volunteered to get in on the act and try their hand at running the country.
One of Australia's richest men, Clive Palmer has found that even with his enormous wealth (and having started planning more than a year before the election), his plans to form a political party are dampened by the fact that it can't be registered with a proper name to be listed on the ballot paper and all the candidates have to be listed under his name, Palmer, or their own names, barely distinguishable from the independent candidates. This discriminatory approach to the creation of political parties clearly favours the two big incumbent groups.
Now it is a lot clearer why existing politicians needed an extra $60 million war chest: like Lance Armstrong's illegal doping program, it was intended to keep themselves ahead of the pack.
It all goes to show that people should not take democracy for granted: constant vigilence and involvement is needed to hold leaders to account or replace them when they deviate.