Federal Elections - What's the Problem?

Anarchist Age Weekly Review - No 896 23rd August – 29th August 2010

Robbie Thotrpe & Dr Jo Toscano Freedom Fighters Anniversary 2009
Dr Jo Toscano speaking
Aboriginal Freedom Fighters
168th Anniversary - 2009

I'm a little surprised by all the hand wringing and we'll all be ruined reaction to the Federal election results.

Australians will be the ultimate winners as a result of a hung parliament irrespective of which major political party is able to rule as a minority government. Parliamentary elections are traditionally a winner takes all proposal.

For the next three years all those Australians who for whatever reason didn't vote for the government are expected to wait until the next election to show their approval or disapproval with the government's legislative agenda.

A minority government has to work very hard to get its legislative agenda through parliament especially if its faced with a hostile Upper House.

This result ensures the House of Representatives will, over the next three years, become a house of discussion, while the Upper House will become a house of review.

No longer will the major political parties and the vested interests that support them be able to rubber stamp legislation through Parliament.

The major issue which will arise in the next three years is the role the fourth estate plays in this debate.

It would be very easy for the corporate owned media and the government gelded ABC to whip up community hysteria about the instability of having a minority government sitting in Parliament.

The community should relish the prospect of seeing Parliament become a house of open discussion and review.

They and they alone will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this arrangement as the vested interests that currently play such a prominent behind the scenes role will be severely hamstrung by the need to negotiate with the minority government, the Opposition and the Independents in Parliament to have legislation that benefits them passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

And the winner is?
There is only one winner in last week's Federal Election and it's neither the Coalition or the Australian Labor Party.

The winners are the puppet masters who pull the parliamentary strings.

Half way through last Saturday night the big three BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata would have been breaking out the champagne.

Not only did they succeed in removing a Prime Minister they may have also helped elect a government that has openly stated it will not introduce any new mining taxes.

It's obvious real power in this country does not lie in Parliament, it lies in the boardrooms of national and transnational corporations. Unfortunately for the likes of you and me, we will continue to remain on the margins of political life in this country while they exercise the influence they do.

The ability of people who challenge capitalism to be taken seriously, let alone have any impact on the political process in this country, is minimal.

Parliamentary democracy continues to dazzle people with the illusion of choice.

Even those who don't participate are so isolated and despondent they don't take their protest outside the ballot box.

We will continue to be irrelevant while people refuse to take direct action to put their demands on the table.

Nothing I have seen about this election fills me with any hope that Australians are willing to do more than make a few futile gestures to address the situation they find themselves in.

The emerging green movement although for the first time holding the balance of power in the Senate is rapidly being integrated within a capitalist context.

I expect things will not change, world wide web or no world wide web, while Australians continue to restrict their political and community activity to the futile act of casting a ballot every three years.

Something's going on
Mark Latham spruiking for people to vote informal on Channel Nine seems to have had the desired effect not just in New South Wales but in the rest of Australia.

The informal vote has increased by about 2% across the board from around 4% to 6% while the informal vote in New South Wales is nudging 7, possibly 8%.

Traditionally the informal vote has been blamed on people’s inability to follow instructions.

This time it will be much more difficult for the authorities to shrug it off as an aberration.

Irrespective of which political party comes out on top it seems an increasing number of Australians have become so disillusioned with the political process they are consciously sabotaging their ballot.

When you add the informal vote to the people on the electoral roll who didn’t vote and those Australians who are eligible to vote who refuse to register.

One in four eligible voters in Australia, despite voting being compulsory in this country, refuses to participate in a process that to a significant degree has been hijacked by that small section of society that owns the means of production, distribution and exchange.

The convergence of parliamentary political choice as a result of the overwhelming influence small powerful interest groups exert on the political process has robbed people of any real choice when they vote.

Faced with the dilemma of casting a ballot which will not lead to meaningful change more and more Australians are refusing to participate in a process that for many people is democratic in name only.

The political parties that dismiss the increasing non-participation of potential electors in elections at both the State and Federal level or due to stupidity, ignorance or laziness do so as the ALP has found out at their own peril.

Dr Joseph Toscano / Libertarian Workers For A Self-Managed Society.

"Anarchy is not about shunning all governance, but adopting a different model in which "the state" was replaced by locally appointed community committees, through which common wealth would be fairly deployed." Dr Joseph Toscano

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