Flat White

Politicians are chipping away at our democracy. What will be left for the next generation?

24 September 2020

6:01 PM

24 September 2020

6:01 PM

It is reasonable to say that young people, in this country, are entitled to feel apprehensive over how Australia is today and how Australia ought to be. 

When you see the destructive behaviour of politicians, especially through their recently collective coronavirus responses, it is hard not to feel melancholy. 

Mind you, the same politicians have been slowly chipping away at our faith in democracy for a while now. 

Seek no further truth than the observations last week of the former economist with the Victorian Department of Finance and Treasury, Sanjeev Sabhlok, who said, on submitting his resignation in relation to governments’ response to coronavirus:

The pandemic policies being pursued in Australia – particularly in Victoria – are the most heavy-handed possible, a sledgehammer to kill a swarm of flies. These policies are having hugely adverse economic, social and health effects, with the poorer sections of the community that don’t have the ability to work from home, suffering the most…

Australia is signalling to the world that it is closed for business and doesn’t care for human freedoms.

And that is where we are. 

When does all this end?  

We still have not been given a criterion as to what would warrant an end to restrictions; nor have we been provided with any justification as to why they have gone down this soul-crushing route. All they tell us is that this is the “medical advice”. Australians are entitled to be shown this “medical advice”, especially the “scholarly” studies which say that a table of 10 people at a restaurant is allowed but not a table of 11! 

These rules and figures give every indication of being little more than an invention. 

Ten at a table? If you are a football follower, you will see 26 players going after one another, no social distancing, sweat and saliva by the bucket load but that is, apparently, okay. 

Mind you, I believe it should be okay; all this other stuff is made up, without any evidence to justify it. 

And here we have the Federal government set to unveil the biggest deficit since World War II, something which will not be paid off for generations, all in the name of a “global pandemic”, when there are, as I write, 89 Australians in hospital and 11 in intensive care but apart from Victoria, 14 Australians in hospital and three in intensive care. 

By what prostitution of the language is that a pandemic? 

And when the magic pudding of JobKeeper ends next March, who knows what will happen, even with the government’s new “Section 11” proposals? Will we still see countless insolvencies and personal bankruptcies? Mum and dad businesses, where often the family home is collateral for the loan, may still lose everything. 

Make no mistake, governments are complicit when it comes to bringing on these recessionary regulations which have caused unemployment to spike and a tax burden so large you can see it from space. 

So, how are young Australians meant to respond to the thirty-fourth verse of the sixth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew where it is said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The answer is, we must worry, otherwise this dysphoria will continue. 

Politicians are meant to represent us yet we have had, so far, no say in any of this. Parliaments have not met. We have simply been supposed to surrender to the dictates of professional politicians who cannot provide the evidence which justifies what they are doing. 

Instead, all over the country, these same politicians hitch our wagon to abandoned philosophical principles, if they had any to begin with. It is indeed hard not to lose faith in our democracy. 

In Canberra, we are being governed by a Liberal Party which purports to represent the strugglers and strivers, but instead crushes them along with freedom and enterprise. 

And as for those who beat the federation drum, they should know that the Prime Minister could, at least, apply economic pressure to rogue states and reinforce his government’s viewpoint with strong rhetoric or, at best, challenge this power grab in defiance of the Constitution in the High Court. 

But this does not occur. 

When will those in Canberra stand for something? If not on this, then what? 

It is now September and Australians are still being strangled by illogical restrictions to our way of life and we are divided by border closures. 

Our faith is hit even further when we see that, on a federal and state level, every opposition party is on a virtual unity ticket with the government. 

These oppositions are offering no alternative viewpoint or course of action. They are simply kowtowing to whatever the government in their State is propagating to its people. 

How is our democracy meant to be effective if both major political parties are on a unity ticket on everything? 

The bloke in the pub often quips that there is no difference between Liberal and Labor. You would be forgiven for having such an opinion. 

We see this in almost every recent election in Australia where the final result is never known until days after because it is always knife-edge, meaning neither side has any cut through with the public. In the last five years, there has never been a convincing win by either side of politics. 

And how corrosive for the principles of governance in Australia when young people see an increase in decision-making being outsourced to unelected bureaucrats and consulting firms and poor mugs like us are ignored. 

We now see advisors becoming leaders and decision-makers, under the guise of Chief Medical Officers, while the elected leaders and alleged decision-makers merely follow. 

Politicians have forgotten that we elect them to decide.  

Certainly, advice should be sought where necessary and recommendations will necessarily follow. But this automatic offloading of responsibility to the bureaucracy is another blow to our democracy where the people we elect to govern sub-contract the governing to unelected and often uninformed bureaucrats. 

The members of the National Cabinet should hand in their gun and badge if they are seriously incapable of representing our interests and demonstrating knowledge and sound judgement. 

I suspect the real problem is that many politicians come to the job with poor skill sets. They simply do not know and ignorance often makes the individual yield to opinions they do not fully understand. 

What we too often see as the motivating factor is simple self-interest. 

To use the language of horse racing, self-interest is the red hot favourite to govern the decisions of politicians, which brings me back to my first observation. 

Politicians are chipping away at our democracy. What will be left for the next generation?  

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