Thursday 18th of April 2024

The Journey to

25/06/04 Book Launch for Not Happy John at Gleebooks in Glebe Sydney. Margo talks about the website and how it will be a forum to comment on , add to and correct Margo’s analysis of where Australian Democracy is heading. She hopes the site will eventually morph into an Australian version of Margo signs my copy of NHJ :)

09/10/04 The Federal Election. Blaaaaaaah! One bright spot: A local “Not Happy John

Is there a true participatory democracy to be had?

Thanks all of you who have made this website possible. With your permission I am going to repost comments I made on Webdiary because they address the "bee in my bonnet". I welcome all feedback. As an ancillary comment, I have posted my comments in various forms on many forums and in letters to newspapers. I have not had a single response. Perhaps I am mistaken in what I would like to see done but I hope not:

"The politicking, spin-meistering and other verbal accoutrements of our elected public servants (yes, remember they have been elected to serve US) have become unbearable.

For some time now I have been ruminating on what it is that makes the average Australian believe that they are part of a stable, functioning democracy. Is it the seemingly genuine personal freedoms? They are real enough. Is it the absence of a police or military state? We enjoy a well-disciplined army and police force. Is it the free elections every three years? And here I get to the root of my own problems with what I see.

Our elections reflect the adversarial nature of the political system that we accept unquestioningly. It is acceptable to lie, spin or whatever wins you the prize. Now I'm not talking about holding pollies to a higher standard. Instead, I wonder why we accept the sheer bastardry of this type of electioneering with such equanimity. Who told us that this is the only way to run a nation? Why is it that we accept the fiction that only this Tony Costello is smart enough to run the economy or that Alexander Downer, foreign affairs? We deliberately tie ourselves to the current bunch of stars and nongs like we have no other choices. They won therefore they rule for better or worse and in three years we can replace them with a different set.

Now I doubt that you would hear an opinion from any political party within Australia that suggested that they are actually irrelevant and a big stumbling block to our success as a nation. Political parties are fiefdoms that prey on the unsuspecting voter and whose main function it is to work out how to dispense pork. We assume that they are first and foremost patriotic institutions but who has ever tested that assumption? Is the factionalism and power jockeying a constructive use of mental energy and social capital? Who ever asks that question? Do we believe that the first question that gets asked during political party discussions is "Is this good for Australia?"

When I go to vote in my seat of McPherson, I have to accept another fiction. Namely, that Margaret May is my independent representative. It is not so. She is first and foremost accountable to the Prime Minister, then the party, then the electors. Margaret May, a very nice lady, is a political hack. Why in heaven's name would any voter want the Margaret May's of the world to represent them? I don't know what she actually believes in or stands for herself because what I get in the mail is Liberal manifesto and back-slapping. A Labor representative would do the same.

However, the thing that I see as being the most wrong is the fact that we blithely allow our elected representatives to meet in secret (faction meetings and Cabinet meetings in particular) as if that is the most normal thing to do in a democracy. We would not have had a Tampa election stunt if Cabinet meetings were open and recorded. We make those discussions available after 30 years when they have become irrelevant. Why? In a mature democracy, the people should not elect a group of "super citizens" whose role is to meet in a conclave from which they emerge to tell the ordinary citizens what they will have to endure. None of that smacks of real democracy to me."

better late than never

It is fustrating to post and post and write and talk and see no response. It is easy to just give up and settle back into our own little lives and hope some day someone will wake up and smell the coffee. I know, I have been blogging on my own little blog for what, 4 years now with a total of just over 10,000 hits in that time. But we keep on plodding along because once in a while someone responds saying thanks, saying they learned something.


Never give up, my friend. Our voices may seem to be lost in the winderness, but in truth we help to maintain some bit of sanity in an insane world. Or is it our insanty in a sane world?


JR and I had a chat about that very thing last night and decided that our own insanity was reality, as we are in the minority. In that case, long live those of us who are insane! It is only the insane who believe that TRUE Democracy is still possible and are willing to fight for it with the most mighty of weapons, the truth. 


You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation. ~~ Marian Wright Edelman

true democracy?

of course not. in modern language, such a society would set major policy by referendum initiated by citizens, and run the society by management teams selected by referendum to carry out their published program.

there is no such society.

australian political ethos is that of a conquest society- much evolved in who sits in the seats of power, but not at all changed in the fundamental fact of power in a few hands ruling all.

apologists will point to elections, but choosing which gang rules us is not democracy. since we cant even know which policies will be effectuated by the winner, our only choice is a guess which will harm our income least.

start referring to australia as an oligarchy, to it's people as civilians, to it's 'leaders' as our masters, and events will make a great deal more sense. after clearing out the lies and delusions, progress becomes possible.