Australians voting at each level of government, invariably become disillusioned by the two major parties, Liberal and Labor, promising and not delivering. We supposedly have representative democracy in Australia, in which Members of Parliament are supposed to represent their electorate in the three levels of government. But Parliament is dominated and controlled by Party politics and over 90% of parliamentary members are patsies of political parties, which are beholden to vested interest groups.
Party politics and rules and mandates and vested interests (big business, wealthy individuals, labour unions, property developers and the like) donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to these political parties to shape political outcomes to what they want.
Democracy in Australia is a vested interest democracy, and this has unsavoury similarities to the overtly corrupt political culture of many Asian countries to Australia's north.
What Australians deserve, have fought in wars for and rightly expect is true democracy, not the vested interest democracy that we put up with today.
Since Australian federation, the Libs or Labs (or variants thereof) have taken alternating turns of governing, invariably following voter rejection of each incumbent in the governing cycle. The Lib-Lab pendulum of power for over a hundred years has reinforced voter disillusionment with Australia's political process.
Australia's proportional representation has been corrupted by the Party system. MPs are beholden to Party policy, Party rules and Party discipline. Voter representation has been undemocratically supplanted by Party Representation and this extends to the Greens and to the Nationals.
No more blatantly obvious was entrenched Party control and intimidation of its member patsies was on 20th October 2010, in which during Independent MP Andrew Wilkie gave his famous speech to the Afghanistan debate, and only one or two members of the Liberals or labor even turned up. The Lib, Lab and Nats factions of Laborals all blindly are all the way with Obama and Clinton in the US strategic crusade. They were told not to attend the debate, so the Laboral patsies obeyed.
Australian politics has long been a de facto two-party system. The Australian Labor Party supposedly representing the urban working class, although that class has become middle class and comfortable. The Liberal Party is centre-right leaning broadly represents business, the suburban middle classes and is in coalition with the Nationals, supposedly representing the 'Bush' (outside the capital cities). But demographic changes and urban-centric funding have seen a steady move to bigger and bigger cities. Both Liberal and Labor are both Centre-Right leaning and spend most of their campaigning trying to differentiate themselves from one another. They have effectively become one Party of two dominant factions, the 'Laborals' and increasingly less representative of the interests of ordinary Australians.
The remaining Labor Lefties have defected to the Greens - now a diluted soup of disaffected urbane bohemians; a shadow of the Greens once noble environmentalism platform.
All the while, traditional Australia has been cast aside - rural communities, the unemployed, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, the poor. Australia, once a proud classless nation, has now a growing underclass of poor.
'In Australia we do not lack the ability to solve poverty; we lack the will.
'We have been unable to make the necessary changes to social structures to reduce poverty because of the majority's preoccupation with protecting their own incomes, a preoccupation nurtured every time a political party declares that its priority is more growth.' [Hamilton, Denniss 2005, 'Affluenza']
Once one of the major parties is elected, the ability of the individual to exercise democratic choice ends. The new Government's agenda dictates what happens for the next four years. The Party goes off and serves the vested interests of the powerful elite who have donated large sums to the party. McConnachie (2000) has termed this an 'elected dictatorship'.
Between elections, the government can be unaccountable and typically is. The electorate is powerless. Electoral promises are commonly broken, trust is broken, and power is exploited on a loose legitimacy of having 'electoral mandate.'. The political party, whose turn it is at power, claims that it is authorised by majority vote to do anything - even take the nation to war as history has repeatedly shown.
What to do about it? What is the alternative?
[Source: Alistair McConnachie, Sovereignty, March 2000]
Real democracy is 'Direct Democracy
What is direct democracy?
Check the following links:
Direct Democracy on ABC Radio National's Rear Vision program of 17 Nov 2010. (Link added belatedly on 1 May 2011.)