The dereliction of democracy in Australia

Darrin Hodges talks about the (lack of) opposition response to the Rudd government and how the Liberal Party no longer represents a viable opposition – thus denying true democracy to the people.

Kevin Rudd’s “Sorry Day” speech and the way he successfully co-opted the so-called Opposition and subsequent “Opposition” back downs over the Pacific Solution and Work Choices, etc., has shown the sham that democracy is in Australia.

Brendan Nelson’s popularity has plummeted (or is that risen?) to 9% as preferred opposition leader [1], but he is not alone as “sexy legs” Downer [2] only polled 9% as well. It’s not hard to see why – Nelson simply isn’t leading, he is not doing his duty as opposition leader for the Liberal party nor the Australian public. Malcolm Turnbull came in on 24% on that same poll. One would suspect that Nelson was given the job because he is expendable, not because of his leadership ability. The Liberal party simply needed a warm body in the seat to be cannon fodder for Rudd’s new government and Brendan was their man.

The Nelson “led” opposition has failed to oppose Rudd’s “Sorry Day”, they have failed to oppose the dismantling of Work Choices, in fact they support the Rudd government’s changes and they are supporting the dismantling of the so-called “pacific-solution”. Their lack of opposition to Rudd’s indigenous agenda will likely end in an assault on Australia sovereignty, being that Rudd may be included to sign the U.N. declaration on indigenous rights [3], which allows among other things, the formalization of parallel legal systems.

In relation to the dismantling of work choices, Labor is now considering changes to make it more difficult, particularly for small business, to sack under-performing staff so as to “create an administrative nightmare for employers”[4] which will probably come to pass, due to lack of opposition.

Finally on the “Pacific Solution”, an issue on which the new Opposition supported the Rudd government’s desire to end that disincentive for illegal immigrants [5], there is now a strong risk that the Rudd government may also reverse the immigration arrangements put in place by the Howard government to reduce the abuse of Australia’s legal system by illegal immigrants.

The problem of no opposition is not confined to the federal Liberal party, the NSW Liberal party also suffers from the same lack of talent that their federal counter-parts suffer from and has allowed the Iemma ALP government to run NSW into the ground in every sector of government service you would care to name. As the Financial Review said:

That NSW mess? Blame it on the Liberals. The way Morris Iemma, Reba Meagher, Joe Tripodi and half the city of Wollongong have screwed things up would be a gift to any opposing party in a normal democracy.
…the Liberals are so anemic and devoid of any talent that they haven’t been able to mount any credible opposition.

That we do not have an effective parliamentary opposition means that we do not have an effective democracy in this country. The reason there is no opposition is because both parties are so alike. When Jesus was accused of being a demon because he could drive out demons, he responded by saying “If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself”, the establishment parties cannot oppose each other, because they have the same agenda, they are divided against themselves.

Jesus also once said, about paying taxes, “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”. We don’t have that luxury of choice because both parties are “Caesar”.

I have always said that Liberal-Labor are two sides of the same coin and this has been proven by the spinelessness of the so-called “Opposition” we inherited in the wake of the 2007 federal election. To be fair to coins though, at least they have a different picture on each side.

1. “Nelson blown apart”, The Age, 24 Feb 2008
2. “Downer’s Mark”, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Dec 2004, 1102787274498.html
3. “Beware Rudd’s next move on indigenous rights”, 26 Feb 2008
4. “New rules for unfair dismissals”, Financial Rev., p1, 26 Feb 2008
5. “Aid boost in store for Nauru”, Melbourne Age, 24 Feb 2008
6. “Welcome to NSW, state of disbelief”, Australian Financial Review, p72, 26 Feb 2008

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