I’ve not posted here for quite some time, primarily because politics in Australia has been in limbo, awaiting the calling of a fresh federal election.
The Extreme Religiously-driven Right Wing Abbott experiment is ended. Australia is forever grateful to Malcolm Turnbull for his avarice towards the top job. Let’s be in no way misled by Turnbull’s aims. The rolling of Abbott was inevitable, the man a totally inept political leader and State figurehead. Turnbull at least presents as what the position requires. A political leader. But the question needs to be asked, a leader of what, for whom, and to what end?
Turnbull, for all his pretense, is a conservative through and through. He values money over substance, he plays a highly political game, the end of which is power-driven. To hold power is the ONLY aim of both major parties in this election, indeed, in what passes for democracy in Australia today. Turnbull once attempted to enter politics via the ALP, yet now leads the party which purports to hold as ideological anchor points the complete antithesis in political views for the future of this country. What does that tell you about the man himself?
Let’s leave personality aside because real democracy – rule by the people from the 5th century BC Greek cultural definition which included slavery as a norm and divisive class systems as socially acceptable – doesn’t exist. We don’t elect individuals as political collective leaders, those collectives do that internally. Those collectives rarely, if ever, represent the masses. Those collectives are small, tight, elitist groupings of ideologues bent on shaping the world they inhabit to fit their own particular views. The Institute of Public Affairs overt and overwhelming influence on the current conservative government evidences this very well. Equally, some sectors of the Union movement in this country exercise unbalanced influence over supposedly progressive thought processes with the Australian Labor Party, the current political opposition to government. To lesser degrees, the voices of those who choose not to conform to either of the hard line ideological beliefs of the two major political movements can be heard through the Australian Greens, Australia First, Australian Progressives and various so-called independent movements. Only genuine independent individuals can be said to be representing the views of those who choose to allow them to do so by electing those independents to our governmental melting pot. So it can be seen that true democracy is quite rare.
Sadly and ironically, thanks to information technology, we who hold genuine power through the ballot box no longer understand the power we hold, or how it is manipulated by those who would wrest it from us. Voting in Australia is NOT compulsory. Having one’s name marked off the polling register as having rolled up at the ballot box on or prior to the appointed day IS compulsory. The premise being that a true democracy cannot function unless the entire population exercise their right to vote. The premise is flawed. Further, in my view, the structure of Australia’s preferential voting system is also flawed as it allows for each individual voter to cast a vote for more than one candidate. If your first choice doesn’t make it, your second choice gets your vote. If that candidate doesn’t make it, your third gets your vote, and so on. Ultimately, someone you revile has every opportunity of using your vote to secure a position you never intended them to have. This is in direct contrast to the original democratic system of electing a representative, where Greek voters would place either a black tor or a white tor into a container, depending on their candidate choice. One vote, one value. This system too is subject to corruption of the masses by influential candidates promising favour for their vote. It can be clearly seen that democracy – “the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”, as stated by Winston Churchill in the House of Commons, November 11, 1947 – is a fatally flawed socio-political system.
I personally despise politics and the people it creates. Those we ‘elect’ rarely, if ever, represent what we elect them to represent. Politics attracts narcissists, sociopaths and wanna-be demagogues. We have seen some of the worst possible examples over the past decade in Australian politics. None of the current crop of so-called elected representatives currently vying for re-election are fit, in my view, to lead anything other than an army of lemmings who think just as they do over the cliff of moral and ethical oblivion. Australia has devolved over the past decade into two sharply divided mindsets. Those who would close off this once great nation-state from the world at large, spurn any association on moral and ethical grounds with the greater human society on this planet; and those who would gleefully allow the rest of humanity open slather to anything and everything this country has to offer without fear or favour, simply on the grounds that their opposites want otherwise. Very few voters think about their choices. Very few voters actually engage in the process of analytically assessing what promises are made, the ability of candidates to meet those promises, the integrity, honesty and moral standing of those candidates, or whether those candidates are truly aligned with what they say they are aligned with.
This current election will be no different. The incumbent government has, within 24 hours of the polling date being called, launched into a tirade of negativity and an exercise in reiteration of tired rhetoric, meaningless sound bites and baseless promises. Their opposition in terms of party politics are making offerings which have no basis in fact – other than historically being found to statistically better economic managers (whatever that means) – and no real evidence of being able to carry out their proposals.
I have great fears for this country. I feel that we, the voters, are being presented with a toilet cistern filled with stinking, fetid waste accumulated over the past 10 years. We have our fingers poised on the flushing mechanism which is polling day, and when we press that button there will be a loud noise, a cleansing flush leaving behind pristine, still water at a low level and a lingering odour we’ll hide with some grandiose waving of arms and wry smiles 24 hours later. Oh, and yes, there will still be some skid marks left in the cistern, which sadly happens everytime we vote anyway. An apt analogy of democracy in Australia, even if a jaundiced one.
My entreaty to the Australian voter is simple. Think about your vote. Think about what it might mean for your country. Do you want more of the same ad infinitum? Do you really want to leave skidmarks behind when you leave the polling booth? The bad smell will hang around, nothing can help that, but if you open a window & allow a fresh breeze in, it won’t last as long. So, think…..before you flush.