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The Forum > Article Comments > Government 2.0 - it’s the community, stupid > Comments

Government 2.0 - it’s the community, stupid : Comments

By Tim Watts, published 14/9/2009

If the government wants to listen to the public via Web 2.0 it needs to create an environment that encourages communities.

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The supposed purpose of members of parliament is to ‘represent’ the people. Parliament is actually a primitive form of information-processing technology, from the days when the only way for the people to have input into a proposed law was for them to elect someone, who then got on his horse and physically rode to some central place to deliberate on law-making.

The difficulties in using the Web towards better government that the author mentions, are because he thinks of the people’s input as being limited to supplying information on their wishes to the Minister, who then “represents” them by passing laws.

But the Web has removed the need for this middle-man, and with it the excuse for the Minister’s continued existence, at least in his legislative capacity. (And in his executive capacity, his role could be merged with that of the head of the department.)

Assuming the purpose of the legislature is to represent the people’s will, it might work like this:
1. Each elector has secure web access to an online legislature comprising all electors;
2. Each elector can propose, amend and vote on any proposed law
3. If and when a proposed law gets 51 percent of the total possible votes, it becomes law.

Simple as that. But radical consequences:
Parliament would become redundant; legislative sovereignty would return to its origin in the people.
There would probably be a radical drop in the amount of law-making and governmental activity, for the precise reason that it is an utter fiction that politicians “represent” most people when enacting new laws.

It might be said that there would be nothing in such a direct democracy to limit the oppression of minorities, and people voting themselves a benefit with money taken from someone else. However the far greater problem is that there is nothing to stop that now! At least under a direct democracy, a proposed law would require a real instead of a fictional majority.
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Monday, 14 September 2009 12:22:45 PM
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In my experience, politicians and bureaucrats are extremely anti community, because it's easier to keep the sheeple under control, if you divide and conquer. Look no further than loony, left, femanazism, and its pro child abuse, anti family, encourage hatred and mistrust between men and women, focus.
Posted by Formersnag, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 11:49:05 AM
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The Westminster system is rotten to the core - just listen to parliamentary question time. It's all posturing, point scoring and nothing to do with seeking solutions to some of the most daunting problems facing humankind. Now look at the incredible perks of MPs and the exhorbitant costs of delivering dumb and dumber public policy like internet filters.

Does this make any sence in the information age?

We have shock jocks on the air waves with opportunist pollies who are prepared to lock 'em up and do whatever it takes to get back in. We are rapidly becoming a penal colony again, happy to mimmic the US failures.

Most of our MPs just don't care about the $100,000+ impost on taxpayers for each incarcerated youth and the high associated recidavism on release compared with lower cost judicial diversion programs that have a great track record helping vulnerable youth become well adjusted members of society. Prisons get the dollars and diversionary programs are wound up. It's outragous but symptomatic of the failure of our current system of government.

Fast forward two decades into the era of superfast broadband and well established networked communities that may be mandated to evaluate public policy before informed decisions are made by secure on-line voters, voluntarily exercising their right to vote.

Government by the people can be efficient and fair. Politics based on community engagement can be stimulating and involve anyone who is interested.

The days when 'representatives' came from an exclusive club called the ALP or Liberal Party, with an entry ticket granted on the basis of who you know, who you slept with or how well you played the numbers game, will be distant bad dream - akin to the era of rule by royal decree.
Posted by Quick response, Friday, 18 September 2009 2:02:59 PM
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