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The Forum > Article Comments > The Summit's 'wild ride' > Comments

The Summit's 'wild ride' : Comments

By George Williams, published 7/5/2008

Despite its flaws, the Summit was a great success. It was an experiment in a new way of doing politics in Australia.

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I fail to see what was particularly new or innovative about this structure. It certainly wasn't representative and was hardly democratic.

It got together 1000 people whose grundnorm is profit to debate ways forward for the profit system. Hey, so some disagree on a republic (which I rejected in 1999 on the basis it retained the reserve powers and was not directly democratic in terms of selection.)

And some disagree about adopting a bill of rights. I fail to see how enshrining a bill actually improves our democracy. But one thing for sure, the delegates all agree on the fundamentals of the profit system.

Where were the dissident voices, the homeless, the disadvantaged, and so on?

Sure some things will come out of the Summit, but let's not pretend this is some new form of seeking the views of the population.

Some dissident views? Cut the working week to 30 hours without loss of pay to redress the increase that has occurred over the last 20 years in capital's share of GDP. Double pensions. tax unearned income (dividends, royalties, business profits and the like) at high levels; make the tax system more progressive (perhaps adopting the Tax value Method as it basis - any gain is income); introduce and inheritance tax; negotiate a treaty with aborigines and recognise their prior ownership; nationalise the health system (including doctors); don't fund private schools of any variety; nationalise the banks and cap home loan interest rates. Anyway, you get the idea.

Nothing from the carefully chosen and orchestrated Summit challenged any of the accepted ideas of how society should run.

It was a debate between those who think the same on the big issues. They disagree on the detail.
Posted by Passy, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 10:43:03 PM
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Kevin 07 Mantra "we have a plan"

Since our education systems now fail to recognise failures the majority of the population who have been taught/encouraged/allowed to think in slogans have voted in a government who navigated their way to an election win by parroting slogans ad nauseoum.

The grand plan? Ask 1000 people who are demonstrably smarter than the Labor Party since they do not have ideas of their own worth immediate implementation. Middle class welfare is nothing new; even flack jacket Johnnie, that uncaring, refugee hater gleefully used it to buy votes.

Apparently, 13 years of opposition 'representing' their electorates wasn't long enough to formulate wide ranging policy. K07 have nothing in the way of ideas and already sound more convoluted and desperate with every news break.

So our modern intellects, celebrities, actors, union reps and guilt mongers think they can do better than the US Constitution? Pure hubris.
Posted by Cowboy Joe, Thursday, 8 May 2008 9:06:58 PM
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Thanks for your insight into the Governance stream George. You said that the group agreed the republic debate should be community driven and should lead to a model having the stamp of popular ownership. However, you noted there was uncertainty about the mechanics of how to achieve this.

Following the summit, the Australian Local Government Association has started a process leading to a Constitutional Summit in the Melbourne Convention Centre in December 2008. That summit could achieve some clear proposals for constitutional reform involving every local government in Australia. See their web site for details.

Whilst their focus is constitutional recognition of local government, there is plenty of scope in the community consultation stage for views on the republic, a charter of human rights and the future structure of government in Australia. On the latter issue, I note that at a Governance Gathering in Shaol Bay I attended this week, the 2030 vision of a two tier system of government proposed by the GM at Dubbo City Council was shared by around 65 local government governance professionals. (Local Governments delivering formerly state public services to the regions under one Commonwealth law maker.)

Is it likely that Australians are in for a wild ride as community leaders make their extraordinarily frank assessments of our current systemic weaknesses? Is root and branch reform required to our out-dated constitution to meet Australia's regional and global challenges in the decades ahead? The answers would appear to be self evident to all but the most closed minds. With structural reform on the scale envisioned, major efficiency gains of tens of billions of dollars each year can be delivered back into communities where the impact on the lives of struggling citizens will be greatest.
Posted by fair go, Saturday, 10 May 2008 5:57:35 PM
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