REGENERATING THE DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM By Eric D.Butler

On Target, 24th April 1998

Democracy is one of those omnibus terms, which mean different things to different people. There is, for example Abraham Lincoln's famous statement about democracy being government of the people, by the people and for the people. Like the definition "Majority rule", this definition is far from satisfactory. All government is restrictive and, as pointed out by James Guthrie in his little booklet, Our Sham Democracy, with the subtitle "The Majority Vote Racket", every nation consists of different minorities and governments claim that, as they penalise minorities, they are doing this "on behalf of the majority", which means the progressive destruction of all minorities.

The bigger the organisation, the less effect the individual has over the policy of the organisation. The world of today provides a growing number of examples of how minorities are being penalised under various slogans, such as "the common good" or "world opinion". As Australians move towards yet another election, the major political parties, using all the techniques of totalitarian propaganda, will attempt to convince electors that they "should not waste their votes" by voting for independent or minor parties".

With public opinion polls indicating that perhaps nearly 50 percent of the electors have yet to decide how to vote, it is a most appropriate time for electors to examine some basic issues concerning government. As Lord Bryce observed in his great classic, Modern Democracies, there are some absolutes, which should be observed. The first is that all governments, irrespective of label, tend to increase their own powers. And there is the absolute mentioned by Lord Acton, that all power tends to corrupt and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Over the centuries man has struggled with the problem of how to have government of some kind without government becoming an oppressive monster. The lessons of history are clear: the bigger and more centralised a government of any kind becomes, the more difficult it becomes for the individual to control it.

In his essay on how to rebuild post-communist Russia, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn observes that the more centralised a nation becomes, the greater the corruption at the top, and that it is a waste of time attempting to regenerate from the top; such regeneration must start from the "grassroots". Australians can make a start to solve their problems by insisting that they want to have a direct say in their own future.

It is helpful to recall that the term "democracy" is derived from the Greeks. The Greeks in their efforts to create a democratic form of government, one in which the people were genuinely represented, demonstrated that the basic requirement for a government was that it was decentralised, that the people were basically the same type of people sharing the same philosophical views.

If a genuine democracy is one in which the will of the people prevails, it is obvious that there is little genuine democracy in Australia today. Consider how the major parties select their candidates. There was a time when the old Country Party, forerunner of the National Party, supported genuine democracy, believed that new States should be created and that social harmony required a harmonious nation. They even believed that Country Party members should have a direct say in who should represent them in Parliament. There were occasions when multiple Country Party Members stood, generally finding that they actually increased the total Country Party vote.

But only recently there was controversy in the National Party in New England concerning whether the current Speaker of the Parliament, Ian Sinclair, should remain as the official National Party candidate because John Howard wanted him to stay in Parliament. Currently there is a rumour that the coming Federal Elections, instead of resigning as originally announced, Sinclair might be moved to another "safe" National Party electorate.

The Labor Party treats its supporters like a flock of sheep who are expected to "baa" in favour of any Labor Party candidate chosen by any of the different "factions" in the Party. Former ABC news presenter Mary Delahunty is having a battle to be accepted by one of the Victorian Labor Party "factions". The Age, Melbourne has been providing selections from a book, which purports to tell the story of how former Democrat leader Kernot was successfully persuaded to join the Labor Party. There is no reference to either Labor Party or Democrat Party supporters being consulted.

Press reports claim that Liberal and National Party bosses are planning a campaign to remove Independent Russell Savage from the Victorian Parliament. Savage has been a thorn in the side of the power men and has provided an example of the type of representation required in Australian parliaments. He dared to stand up and vote, as a minority of one, against the absurd gun controls introduced by the Kennett Coalition Government.

"Convention" demands that in Federal electorates like Murray, Victoria, the National Party, which previously held the electorate for many years going back to the days of Sir John McEwan, cannot stand a National Party candidate against the present Liberal Party Member.

Regeneration of genuine democracy requires that the electors start to reject the concept that they are merely political fodder for the parties. C.H. Douglas said that genuine democracy required electors to have the opportunity to vote on one issue at a time. Changes to the Australian Federal Constitution provide electors with such an opportunity. What is required is an extension of this principle, enabling electors to demand such a vote on major issues.

The concept of the Electors "Veto and Citizens Referendum" should be made an issue at the next Federal Elections. Every effort must be made to persuade electors to refuse to vote for any candidate who will not give a written pledge to work and vote for the introduction of this concept into the Federal Constitution. Here is a starting point for the regeneration of the Australian political system, a regeneration that will restore Australian national pride, making it a leader in the struggle to preserve what is left of Western Civilisation.

 

 

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