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The Forum > Article Comments > Political ethics: political or ethical? > Comments

Political ethics: political or ethical? : Comments

By Noel Preston, published 26/3/2007

Too often personal or factional interests and the sheer desire to win undermine good and clean government.

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I agree - there should be an independent office to oversee the ethical standards of politics and politicians. However I do not agree that the government should be the ones to select such an office, such as happens currently. Too often this would simply devolve into yet another job-for-the-boys with foreseeable outcomes. It should be comprised of ordinary people, but more importantly it should be given reasonable powers, and be enforceable.
Posted by arcticdog, Monday, 26 March 2007 10:12:10 AM
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We have wall to wall retired judges lets use em up. The article I almost heartily agree with. One question.

How would registry of lobbyists assist deflecting a crooked polly? save an honest broker?
fluff
Posted by fluff4, Monday, 26 March 2007 1:33:12 PM
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I agree that something ought to be done but, like Noel, I donít think prescriptions such as a parliamentary integrity commissioner will be nearly enough. Moral entreaties and support for individuals to act ethically wonít address how these objectionable practices and outlooks have come (and continue) to be normalised and even encouraged in executive government and political parties. I think we need to identify and tackle these issues comprehensively if we are going to make a real shift in the way politics and government is conducted.

I reckon a good start would be to systematically dismantle the presumptive elitism (in relation to citizens) that is rife throughout the practices of executive government, even if the justifications have changed over time. Another would be to tackle the dysfunctional effects of party competition for votes that tries all at once to accomplish democratic and rational competition of multiple policy ideas, leadership/management competency and style, and government performance evaluation and accountability - in the end doing none of it well
Posted by KFisher, Monday, 26 March 2007 8:32:36 PM
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another cat-belling discussion. before you get too deeply into "what should be done", have a look at what power ordinary people have to control their masters. zip, covers it.

in a democracy, these problems don't arise. law and policy are set by the citizens through referendum and direct election. the clerks who carry out law and policy operate in public under the collective scrutiny of the electorate.

oz is not a democracy. ozzians are not citizens. they are subjects, ignorant, submissive, brain-washed just as surely as the proles of '1984'. that is why this discussion does not rise above the level of wistful verbal hand-wringing.
Posted by DEMOS, Tuesday, 27 March 2007 7:42:46 AM
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I doubt that imposition of yet another 'regulator', independent or otherwise would make any real difference. As Noel said: "... Its impact will be conditional on the culture and ethos of political parties, parliaments and bureaucracies." The fact is that our politicians reflect who *we* are. As long as people support the cult of celebrity, worship winners - no matter how they win - and selfishly ignore those who go without, we will have morally deficit politicians. John Howard and co. didn't invent the narrow-minded, intolerant, exclusive and calamitously nationalistic approach to use of power - Hitler used exactly the same approach to capitalise on the feelings of the German people after WW I. What is needed is for individuals to have the moral courage to stand up and be counted - to say 'NO' to such arrogant manifestations of corrupt and immoral conduct as the locking up of refugees, the denial of habeas corpus, and the continued neglect of the original Australians. Practically, there is much that could be done - introduction of citizen initiated referenda; curtailing of 'executive' prime-ministership; elimination of benefits, bonuses and perks; revised and more rational voting system; fixed terms; renewed insistence on the separation of powers ...etc.etc. - but none of this will come to anything unless individuals take responsibility and themselves model appropriate behaviour and standards and refuse to tolerate anything else from their elected representatives.
Posted by mikisdad, Monday, 19 November 2007 2:01:09 PM
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