The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area



Syndicate
RSS/XML


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Imagining representative democracy > Comments

Imagining representative democracy : Comments

By Anthony Marinac, published 28/2/2006

Finding the path to true parliamentary democracy - and, staggeringly, the sky didnít fall!

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All
If as we are told, our representatives are in parliament to serve not the themselves not the party so much as we the electors. If members are so sensitive to communication form their electors then presumably there should be more party dissension. Maybe there is and it is not reported. Maybe never enough to sway the Government. But what about Iraq were there not enough members approached or was the opposition not large enough to be influential in enough seats to worry the Government? If the media had informed rather than harangued the users, something investigative reporting could have done even then, would there have been an influential majority?
If your suppositions are correct do we not need an informing media to provide accurate data on which to base opinion. Media uninfluenced by ministerial grouch such as that from former Senator Alston to the ABC.
Posted by untutored mind, Tuesday, 28 February 2006 10:36:11 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
It is highly unlikely that any of the MP's consulted their constituents. We don't hear from them from one election to the next, and then only on behalf of the party they represent - they don't represent us, they represent a party, or themselves in the case of independents.

I don't know about anyone else, but I have NEVER been consulted on any subject by the politicians, state or federal, who want me to vote for them and/or their party
Posted by Leigh, Tuesday, 28 February 2006 11:53:30 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Leigh, I don't think you should be sitting around at home, waiting for the phone to ring with your local member wanted your opinion on a piece of legislation. It works the other way, if enough constitutuents raise issue with their local member, then they generally take it to the next cabinet and try to get some changes done then. If they are in the opposition, then take it to a mate on the other side of the house, to return a previous favour. Most of this is out of sight, but it actually does have effect. One of the myriad examples of this working (for, it being acheived inside "internal democracy" means that it still gives the impression of unity) is the Blackspots legislation, created by the pressure by National party MP's who listened to their electorates about the poor quality of telecommunication.

As a general rule, it's best to clear up any problems before it comes to a vote, because to loose a vote is embarassing. That is the stratergy taken by the grand majority of the elected.

Having a conscience vote on every issue does raise one very simple problem, that it clashes with the idea of a mandate. If a government is elected on a platform with certain core promises, then these should be passed. On issues raised after the election as "non-core promises" like IR reform and VSU, we saw a suitable amount of open debate within coalition ranks, and saw changes to these policies. This debate was barely tolerated, but tolerated nonetheless.

Yes, it was an interesting debate to behold on RU486, but seeing as I did not elect my local member to pass such a bill (not knowing that this was going to come up), it was actually a loss for democracy in many ways. Individuals, voted for because of their party allegiance, were voting as individuals. Whilst we entrust then with this task to deal with important issues, they should not do so too often, lest they see themselves as our masters, rather than our servants.
Posted by DFXK, Tuesday, 28 February 2006 1:07:47 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Hi y'all
Funny thing, the constitution presumes that the members of parliament are elected to represent their electorates in the case of the House of Reps and their States or territories in the case of the senate. The government is appointed by the Governor General for as long as they, the government, retain the confidence of the parliament - i.e. a majority - up to the expiry of the parliament. There is no mention of parties or mandates or safe seats.

We, the people, have bought a system whereby the local member represents a party to us provided that we vote for them as proxy for their party leaders as our least worst government. This is directly opposite to the situation envisaged by the constitution.

But, the current situation, volte face as it may be, places the onus on we the people to exercise ourselves in the recall of our representatives to give an account of their performance. If we don't like their account, we should sack them by voting for someone else at the next available election. The myth of the necessity of "stable government" will be trotted out in defence of the status quo: it is a myth.

odsoc
Posted by odsoc, Tuesday, 28 February 2006 2:19:23 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
No thank you. The last thing I want is my MP voting on his personal values.
I can get a reasonable idea of the response of a party. I have no chance of getting close enough to a number of candidates, before an election, to have the same chance of electing the one closest to my ideal.
The last thing I want is a "loose cannon" independent as my representative, thank you.
Hasbeen.
Posted by Hasbeen, Tuesday, 28 February 2006 4:38:20 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
DFXK,

Tried that, it doesn't work because not enough people do it. It's only in the last year or two that I have stopped writing to politicians, not just my local "representative"; and I started about 40 years ago.

We have a prime ministerial 'democracy' under which Ministers are mere rubber stamps and local members and backbenchers toe the line
Posted by Leigh, Tuesday, 28 February 2006 7:32:33 PM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy