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The Forum > General Discussion > Mandates and Referenda

Mandates and Referenda

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-10/vote-compass-reveals-uncomfortable-truths-for-both/4947384

The "disconnects" discussed by Vote-Compass analysts show there was no "mandate" on a carbon/price/tax/ETS passed by the electorate, however Abbott may have tried to pass it off as a referendum on such.

Nick Champion (comments at http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/let-abbott-scrap-carbon-tax-labor-mp/story-fni6uo1m-1226716625692 ) doesn't seem to grasp that if there was a referendum about anything, it was about unity and not a carbon "tax".

Frankly, the longer carbon-pricing remains in place the longer it will do its job and the longer government will have to hold off taxing the populace in alternatively planned ways, or withhold expenditure on Direct Action et al.

Regarding climate change and mining taxes, it appears the electorate has cut off its nose despite its face in order to deliver its verdict over unity (60% preferring action over these). Note also that Abbott does not the hold the electorates trust or the high opinion of his competence he believes the election delivered.
Posted by Luciferase, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 4:13:26 PM
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The Opposition is no negative.

But wait a bit, it is Labor in opposition.
Posted by onthebeach, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 6:57:39 PM
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Maybe it's just me, but whenever I hear our new Government talking about mandates, I get a mental image of a nervous, well-scrubbed Christopher Pyne showing up at the Lodge with a bunch of flowers to take Tony out for dinner and a show.

Let us hope that our elected representatives are aware of the dangers of drink spiking, lest it turn into mandate-rape.

Cheers,

Tony
Posted by Tony Lavis, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 8:13:16 PM
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Abbott hasnít got a mandate to do anything policywise! The election wasnít a referendum on anything, other than who was the ever so slightly less unpalatable leader!
Posted by Ludwig, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 8:27:00 PM
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Gillard had to lie to the public, do a number of sleazy deals and ignore democracy to push through the carcon rip off. If anyone has a mandate for anything it is someone who told the truth about repealing it. The left hate democracy when it does not suite them.
Posted by runner, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 9:43:01 PM
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The fact is, the electoral process intrinsically provides no basis for any of the commentary on what it means.

For starters, voting is compulsory. You can't build any theory of consent on that.

Secondly, the law against misleading and deceptive conduct does not apply to political parties, governments or politicians. They can and routinely do make false representations, or promises they fail to perform, and no-one has any legal remedy against them, as you do against private parties.

Thirdly, all the different policy offerings of any politician are offered as a bundle, so there's no way to know, from someone's vote that they prefer this party over that, which of their policies they agreed with and which they didn't.

Fourthly, you don't vote in a government. Everyone only votes for their local member. The formation of a government is a meta-process above the level of the electoral system, and below the level of the Constitution or Parliament. That's why political parties, Prime Minister and Cabinet were not mentioned in the Constitution. The formation of government is just a processual artefact based on whatever party has the confidence of the lower house, which in turn was based on the historical artefact of relations of the King with the Commons, which were neither necessarily executive nor legislative, before universal suffrage was ever dreamt of.

This means that the current configuration of seats signifies precisely nothing in terms of a "mandate" or legitimate expectation that other groups should agree with the proposals of the Cabinet or their obsequious followers in the lower house.

But the same argument applies to all parties. It's typical Labor hypocrisy to be trotting this argument out now that they've lost the election. In the same breath they claim the right to do it to the Liberals, and that the Senate cross-benches are unrepresentative and should be "fixed" for doing it to them.
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 10:00:45 PM
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