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The Forum > Article Comments > The price of democracy > Comments

The price of democracy : Comments

By Norm Kelly, published 3/4/2006

The proposed electoral reforms will result in all politicians being tainted with the perception of dirty money.

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Normís article highlights what is an important problem with our political system. The major political parties pay too much attention to what their big campaign donors want and not what is in the best interests of the people.

The other point to note is that the Howard government has no interest or ability to step back from its own position and look at what may make democracy work better through informed debate but concentrates on changing the system to increase its own chances of winning.

Our political forefathers, who introduced preferential voting and other checks and balances must be turning in their graves seeing our political systems sliding down hill.
Posted by Steve X Greenie, Monday, 3 April 2006 10:12:25 AM
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This is what can be expected from the traditional Howard Haters. In fact much of the contributions part of the legislation has been brought upon as the result of the media always trying to paint those that donate to political parties as somehow trying to corrupt the system. In fact it is important for both major sides of the political spectrum to be well resourced as that only strengthens their ability to develop good policies to take into government should the people vote that way. In this way democracy is actually strengthened not weakened.

One needs to rememeber that it is the electors who vote, not the doners. Policies developed are there to entice electors.

I have never been convinced that doners are only interested in favours. I think that the media has had a negative impact on the making of donations. This legislation might assist more to donate a reasonable amount without being pressured as to their motives by the media. In my view most can see the value of sound policy development and the need for well resourced parties for that to happen.
Posted by Sniggid, Monday, 3 April 2006 11:27:43 AM
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What is democracy and are there any practical examples of it on Earth?
Posted by aspro, Monday, 3 April 2006 12:30:17 PM
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Aspro, when 49.9% of the people live under a Dictatorship , we call that Democracy,
Posted by mangotreeone1, Monday, 3 April 2006 6:01:04 PM
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Norm:
Thanks for a clear and well reasoned article.

Sniggid:
The bulk of donations does not go into a partyís policy formulation. It feeds expenditure on advertising and promotion in their many forms, on campaign staff and facilities, and so on. No matter how brilliant the policies, the electors generally wonít know and understand them unless the party can communicate and explain them to the population en masse. Candidates can not introduce themselves to each elector individually, and so this too must occur en masse. It takes big bucks. And of course the advertising can just as easily disguise or conceal policies, and create a misleading or dishonest image of a candidate. Electors should be allowed to know about donors who enable these processes if they are to make sound assessments before voting.
Posted by Crabby, Monday, 3 April 2006 8:05:40 PM
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Norm,
I agree with you that we should not deny prisoners the vote. Some laws have a political flavour to them such that not only do we incarcerate some who think (and act) differently to us but we also limit their opportunities to redress what they believe are just grievances.
But, that saidÖ

Why do we have to know at election time who supports whom?

If you believe in the secret ballot, then should it not follow that we are allowed to keep private not only who we vote for but who we financially support? Not only for fear of intimidation but for reasons of keeping some things personal. Entertainers and sporting stars amongst others in the public eye probably truly donít want to unnecessarily alienate half the population. Donations should be recorded with the AEC or some judicial office so that if in the future there is a suspicion of preferential treatment by the government, authorities (or even the press in special circumstances) can check to see if there may be any evidence of a quid pro quo arrangement.

More stringent proof of identity requirements.

Why not? Corruption happens with EVERY election everywhere, so why not finally ask for voter ID. Voting is a privilege offered to only a minority of the people who have lived on this earth. If someone is too slack to go to the trouble of arranging identification then stuff them!

Closing the roll early.

Hardly violating the spirit of democracy. The AEC have a job to do and if the young people never thought about enrolling until someone at Maccas asked them who they were voting for at the upcoming election, then I donít think the country will miss out too much by having to wait until the following election for their vote.
Posted by Edward Carson, Monday, 10 April 2006 2:23:06 PM
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