Friday 21st of November 2014

Margo Kingston's blog

Democracy is not a Spectator Sport

G'day. I wrote this piece for today's Northern Rivers Echo on Tuesday morning, just before news broke that Petro Georgiou and Judi Moylan were gunna go for it on mandatory detention. That night on the 7.30 Report Judi Moylan did a George Galloway and told it straight. She's since received 2000 emails from citizens supporting her stand, a dozen long-stemmed red roses from a citizen to 'a brave lady', and dozens of calls from small l Liberal names across Australia offering congratulations and support. Her case for a House of Representatives debate on the Petro bills is in today's Australian at Judi Moylan: Detention policy fails the test of humanity.

Taking back your democracy

I've been convinced that our democracy is a sham since John Howard sent Australians to invade Iraq on two lies - the lie that he had not promised Bush he'd go to war long before public debate began on the matter, and the lie about why he wanted war. To me, in a democracy, unlike a dictatorship, our soldiers risk their lives for us, not for our leader. Yet the process of voting every three years, the skeleton of democracy, did not punish Howard, but re-elected him.

YOUR DEMOCRACY ETHOS

The ethos of Your Democracy is its essential character, its DNA. It is worth stating at the outset of the project for the same reason that the elements of a pre-nuptial contract are worth discussing at the beginning of a relationship: at the start of every partnership, anything is possible - or so it seems. Just think of falling in love. Our ethos statement is like a pre-nuptial contract, which may help us think through possible eventualities which might arise before we start working together on this project.

What is this Website About?

It's a strange thing, democracy. Different people have different roles in keeping it strong, because the essence of a good democracy is that there are checks and balances in the system to stop unhealthy concentrations of power and encourage ethical behaviour.

Politicians make the laws. No-one can throw you in jail or take away your property without a law to back them up. This is what "the rule of law, not of men" means. The police enforce criminal laws, and a plethora of regulatory authorities enforce laws for competition, consumer rights, companies and the like. The courts decide whether or not you've broken a law and what the penalty should be. That's why they have job security until retirement, so politicians can't pressure them to decide things THEIR way. The media keep the people informed as much as possible of the truth about what is going on, so people are informed when they elect their next government.

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