We are aware that conflict is the primary cause of the massive problems in many, but especially developing countries. We are told that politics is the art of settling disputes without war, and we know that the best solution is democracy. But the principle of mutual respect, an essential characteristic of democracy, is discarded in favour of aggressive, often
With a voter turnout of around fifty percent, and no resolution of the antiquated voting sytem's choice of president, the world's most powerful democracy churns on through the ocean at full speed with no hand on the wheel. (And the red button unattended.) Three factors bear on this far from tolerable outcome.
1. Voluntary Voting.
We know that there is interest in America in the so-called 'compulsory vote', which we, apart from such troglodytes as Senator Nick Minchin, enjoy in Australia.
Compulsory attendance at the poll requires every citizen to exercise that minimum democratic responsibility, the aim of which is the enhancement of national unity among all citizens, equal before the law.
2. First Passed the Post.
This antique voting system usually means winning with well under 50% of the votes cast. The Australian preferential voting system means that the winning candidate always has over 50% of the votes cast, by counting preferences for other candidates as well as the first choice.
In the present impasse in the USA, the votes of the minor candidates, particularly those of Nader, (whose second preference votes under a preferential system would have settled the election days ago, with complete certainty) are lost, and the uncertainty lingers on, to the chagrin of America, and the bemusement of the world.
3. Winner takes All.
The winning candidate in each American state is, in most cases, granted the total number of 'electors' allocated to that state. These all then, appointed by the winning candidate, exercise those votes at the 'electors college'. One wonders if they do, in fact, ever actually go there. A truly quaint system - a provision now two centuries old.
The impeaching of President Clinton by the US Congress and the reaction of the public points up the acute dilemma of lovers of democracy.
On the one hand there is the stand on 'principle' of the Republican Party, that Clinton should pay the full price for his conduct. The attack on Clinton is therefore sustainable in the face of 72% opposition by the public, because the party system of 'representative' democracy concedes full power to the parliament's majority party to ignore public opinion, albeit at their risk in the longer term.
Alternative systems canvassed on this page would curtail parliamentary power to do just this. Citizen Initiated Referenda would strongly hinder any dominant political power going far from public opinion on any issue. No wonder it's hard to achieve this reform.
Similarly, secret ballots in parliament would prevent the growth of a power base in parliament able to ignore public opinion. When will the public wake up and demand democracy!
The problem comes down to this - when is the minority right; when the majority? In the long run is America better off to strongly uphold 'moral' values (for its own people, and for its world standing as defender of democracy), or is it more right to be more subject to public opinion; quite a dilemma!
In like manner is there some greater long term community benefit from the Kennett government's stomping on local governments' planning authority, to implement its grand schemes? Would a return to feudalism be a good idea???!!!
A genuine democracy would give parliamentary government scope to do much more good by heeding, and leading, public opinion. Both aspects are equally important. But that means freeing the channels of communication between elected government and the public. Something that party governments have no interest in doing. They pre fer the minority power the party system gives.
The point is, where people do not have significant power (to address perceived wrongs) community responsibility lapses, with a corresponding decline in community morale and goodwill. Our system develops a self-centred community with increased political apathy and cynicism
With 2/3rds of Bangladesh underwater, millions are homeless, at best.
(Source: returned Baptist missionary.) Do we as a nation care? I would suggest that Australia send an urgent, composite team with substantial resources to assist, as the least we can do, as a nation with relative plen
In the light of their sufferings, the funds presently devoted to political campaigning, at government expense, among other things, could be more usefully employed.
In so many cases countries have failed to get wise to the dangers of de-afforestation, with IMF and other financial pressures forcing mountain logging; with disastrous long-term effects.
If our own politics is so strife-torn and shortsighted we can hardly blame developing countries for messing it up.
In the case of Bangladesh, the longer term troubles have led to silting up of the lower reaches of the Ganges and, currently, high tides have combined with heavy rains to exacerbate their already horrendous problems.
In his recent TV Postcard from Rio, Clive James commented on the political scene, with the rich living high behind high walls with their dobermans, and the poor, attracted to Rio by the 'bright lights', living in shanties on a hillside of mud. Those in government don't know what to do, so they do nothing. The intelligentsia know what should be done, but can't figure out how to get the government to do it. A typical picture of a failed democracy.
Much is talked about the disaster of Tianenmen Square. But the roots of the disaster lay in the fact that the protesters were against the status quo, but had no 'reasonable' plan for reform. At one time the leaders were actually talking to the hunger strikers in hospital! But what was their demand? "Resign"! Sorry, but there's no way that kind of protest can succeed that easily.
In Rumania there was a similar lack. The (young) revolutionaries, once they were successful, were in a dilemma, with no clear plan for the way forward. Older powers then resumed control.
Revolutions, when replacing one authority with another, can only minimise the trauma of change if the contrast between the moral character of the old and new authorities is stark. The Philippines is an example.
A mere strong exercise of leadership, of itself, does not make an urgent need. With regard to Singapore, perhaps there has been a degree of moral character in the leadership which has sustained its success. To them, their course is 'right'.
Sometimes some suggest a benevolent dictatorship. Dictators are common but benevolence is rare. We see strong leadership here too, but by all means let's study the character! Is there benevolence to match the power?
Fiji. Another blow to Democracy!
The violent grab for power by thirty armed men in Fiji damages further our hopes for advance of democracy in the fragile politics of the Pacific.
The failure of the Grand Council of Chiefs to protect the elected government - and the Constitution - dashes worldwide hopes for an orderly outcome.
The dismal future of the minority Indian population is underlined by the spate of arson which has already occurred. It is clear that this failure of the Council to defend the Constitution in the face of the threat to murder the Prime Minister and members of the government spells a new era of hopelessness for unity of the population.
When democracy is so casually swept aside there can only be injustice and pain, accompanied by unresolved economic problems. The world is once more nonplussed by this setback to the wellbeing of yet another country.
Douglas Henry comments on Fiji .
It is true that Fiji, like many another country, can show us a thing or two in culture and way of life. Democracy, imperfect though it be, has been imparted from the West to many countries. Why? Because it is the very best means of government at minimising conflict.
Fijian loyalty and respect for tribal authority is beyond criticism. We should note the strenuous efforts of the Council of Chiefs, and the President, to protect the democratic Constitution and government. So what is wrong?
In every country there is conflict between the strong and the weak, the 'haves' and the 'havenots', with varying degrees of severity. To accept George Speight's answer to Fijian concerns is to approve the conduct of the Third Reich.
But the clumsy 'democracy' of faction and party power, common in parliaments, often fosters conflicts which are only resolvable in struggling countries, by dictatorial power. Such is Fiji's dilemma. Whenever such power has to be relied upon, one hopes and prays that the 'dictator' will be benevolent. We now look, in faith, to Rabuka.
Democracy, as Churchill said, is the worst kind of government, except for all the others. Democracy promotes equality and mutual respect, that is its essential virtue. But it is often perverted by the insincerity of its participants to its principles; the domination of government by powerful interests - parties.
There is one cure for that, and only one; when parliaments become committed, by public demand, to vote secretly on every issue.
More than a month has passed, but George Speight still toys with his country's future - with his vacillating demands and his unrelinquished personal ambition.
Are they still singing hymns? Perhaps someione should nention to him and his gun-toting henchmen that violence threats, threats and murder have no place in the Christian tradition.
And acquiring the sugar plantations created by others, by force and political manouvering, is robbery, pure and simple. The real answer to envy is economic application.
We trust that the patience of the military commander will be respected and rewarded with a successful outcome yet.
In the TV series 'The Last Governor', it is understood that a view of the Hong Kong Legislative Council prior to 30th June, showed the members voting by electronic buttons with a simple screen indicating the total of Yes and No votes.
If this system is devoid of a record of votes then it is typical of the system long advocated by this page (and the book 'A Chariot of Fire'). The notion of a parliament operating by secret ballot has been described as 'pure democracy'. Although no human system can be infallibly pure, the operation of the secret electronic ballot in a parliament can purify voting of members from the taint of intimidation or corruptibility.
Whatever the status of Council decisions under China's two systems will be, it is to be devoutly hoped that this Chamber may continuee to be able to operate in this fashion even if the viewpoint of the Council is advisory only. At least in that case genuine Hong Kong residents' viewpoint can be known. Confusion of developing countries' ideas of the nature of democracy has been caused by the practise of demonstrations and confrontation which has been observable in 'Western' societies. It should be realised that the 'heat' seen in these situstions is caused by the strangled nature of Western political systems because of the unrepresentative nature of our systems. Corrupted by parties and other power groups, our parliaments have failed in the duty of demonstrating export-quality democracy.
In the view of this page, a parliament having this kind of facility for directly reflecting the views of the populace through the free representation of Representives in Parliament, will obviate the need for people to 'let off steam' in public demonstrations, as each representative would then be independent of othewr pressures and responsible to be a conduit for community concerns to the governing body.
Hungary - TV Power !
An interesting report surfaced in Time magazine some time ago with regard to Hungary. In the grip of Communism at the time, the report was the more startling.5
In a TV programme, called '66', it was reported, the compere had invited an audience of 66 people, selected from correspondents to the channel; it may have been the only one!. A Member of the Government was also invited to speak to the people.
It was brought out in the article that this was no ordinary meeting where the 'peasants' were told what was good for them. The members of the audience themselves were essentially in control of the meeting; so much so that the visiting government representative could be given a hard time - by the audience!
This was plainly illustrated by the case of a woman in the audience, a farm labourer, who refused to be silenced until the government representative promised action on her complaint; the promise being subsequently fulfilled.
The secret of the power of the audience was said to be the presence on each seat of an electronic secret voting device. This enabled the audience as a whole to express their opinions about the government (and, no doubt, the Representative), quite freely, and so shatter any attempt by officials on the platform to override the audience.
It is puzzling that our television interviewers don't want to follow it up. For some inexplicable reason our television people apparently prefer the present weak methods; relying on their own personalities, and often failing to bring recalcitrant politicians to book during an interview. In addition, the views of the audience cannot be sufficiently presented; and the members are deprived of a very interesting and powerful supporting role for the interviewer. Consequently the treatment of controversial matters and personalities is often weak and inconclusive.
The leaders of both sides agree that blame for the violence can be traced to a campaign two years ago by rival politicians, one Muslim, the other Christian, for the position of town mayor, or bupati. The politicians bankrolled groups of supporters who ended up attacking each other. The terrible things that have happened in the past few weeks have been acts of revenge.
"The problem was political, at first," a conservative Muslim leader, Yahya al - Amri, said. "But it developed into a religious conflict. People with money and power are responsible."
The recent successes of the Irish economy were highlighted in the address of Mr. O'Kennedy, visiting Minister of the Irish Parliament, to the National Press Club in Canberra. The virtual partnership between government, business and unions is surely an important message for Australia.
The indecisiveness of multi-party politics, based on a single country-wide electorate with voting by proportional representation, is crippling Israel's ability to come to grips with problems which cannot be avoided. Only the implementation of the secret ballot in parliament can enable sensible, majority decisions to emerge freely on the severe problems she is facing.
As noted earlier, Mr. Sarkis, when President of Lebanon, commented that their problem was the problem of minorities; injustice and the fear of it being the cause. And fear, as well as past injustice, leads to hatred.
Only trust can generate an environment of cooperation; and trust can only develop where there is a valid basis for it. The trust of the governed requires a manifestly fair politi- cal system giving equal opportunity to be heard and an evident care for all by those who have been given the privilege and responsibility of government. How often we hear the cry for a political solution! Is it so impossible to see?
Al Gore's succinct comment on the Malaysian economic/political situation was pretty much on the ball.
In saying that economic reform was insufficient without political reform towards a real democracy he said no more than the truth. To class his comments as 'not nice' - 'bad manners', as the Malaysia Minister did, could not, in any way refute the truth he so clearly stated.
Real progress, in any country, is impossible without the real cooperation of the people. To the extent that there are under currents of distress, tension, and any sense of injustice, the public life of the country is depressed and the real potential of the people is depleted.
The real difficulty for Asian peoples, struggling towards a real democracy, is that Western democracies are so faulty that they provide no simple way forward. With rigid systems of flawed election processes and fixed government, reliance is routinely placed on demonstrations, of escalating violence, to attempt resolution of problems which governments want to ignore.
Is it any wonder then that the very serious problems which are faced in this region are causing such political and social havoc?
Genuine democracy is a refined process of reaching the best solutions for the people with calm. How little effort has been put into cleansing our own system.
Prime Minister Howard's sympathy for Malaysia's leadership in its 'difficult political situation' rings a little odd. What about the pain of the people?
Above all we, who pretend to democracy need to think about our responsibility to give a real example of how Asian peoples could proceed peacefully and successfully to the change they need.
We, in the West, have failed them.
Rising quickly from a primitive culture, New Guinea has different problems. Without the dominance of ideologies, the Members of the New Guinea Parliament are absorbed by the preeminence of local interests, and alive to the available gains from power. They are therefore apt to extend their sup port to the party able to win government by coalition, and thereby be granted favours for their districts. With the constant threat of Members changing their support from Gov ernment to Opposition, the possibility of censure motions poses a continual threat to stability.
It has been suggested that the stability of a two party system (with ideological loyalties) would be better for New Guinea - like trading in a car on a 'lemon'!
Whether we look at the 'wheeling and dealing' of individual Members in New Guinea, or at the more permanent deals of politicians with their parties in Australia , we are looking at the sale of votes for advantage.
Votes have power, and the open vote is a commodity which can be used for bargaining. The secret vote is not. The open vote is 'saleable' because it can permit an accumulation of power.
Clearly the secret ballot removes the 'saleability' of the vote, and the opportunity for the excessive power of the shift ing votes of the Members.
As to stability, with the secret ballot in vogue in any parliament, all decisions will be made by the majority votes of the whole parliament on each issue, and Ministers will be subservient to the Parliament. It follows that there is then no party or coalition government to unseat, and the only useful function of the vote is to support that which is sane and sensible, and with which the Member's electorate will be happy.
On the other hand, any Member can raise a matter of electorate concern, and can expect, with the secret ballot, that the other Members will permit its passage if it is fair and reasonable. There is thus a rational way for legitimate concerns to be met, but no way to manipulate the system to gain illegitimate demands.
It is considered that a secret ballot procedure in their Parliament would materially assist New Guinea to progress to a calmer political process and a more stable and successful economy.
Britain has been failing the people of Northern Ireland in not providing a democratic solution, and lacking the moral authority to rule out political confrontation.
A blackout of the feeble light of democracy is now threatening the existence of the NI Assembly. The IRA, being a law unto itself, has no intention of permanently disposing of its armaments. The assembly has no power to enforce and a breakdown may well see its suspension. Should this likely result occur, one might well ask: “Where now?”
Some years ago, a suggestion was put forward to the British (then Thatcher) government that a truly democratic parliament alone could resolve the Northern Ireland question. The proposal was for a progressive transfer of power from Westminster to a Stormont Assembly on a ‘prove you can do it ‘ basis.
A new kind of parliament in Stormont was proposed, based on a change from the normal open voting (in parliament) to electronic secret ballots for all decisions, (including the election of Ministers by the Members of the parliament).
Clearly this would usher in a new kind of democracy altogether, clearing the way for sound and fair, strong government.
It is obvious that the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland want peace, which is only possible with good, and therefore strong, government. But this can only be provided by a parliament that can have the confidence of the people that sound decisions will be reached on an objective basis. Only the ongoing controlling influence of the ballot can promote that climate. And as that climate of confidence in its objective decision-making progresses so could the Assembly advance towards the assumption of full power.
A further important factor is the fear in the North of a Protestant minority situation which would occur under any move to unification, which is the understandable desire of the South.
Could it be? Well, consider.
If the North could establish sound (objective non-sectarian) government on the above basis, could not Ireland advance to union on a similar basis; to the mutual advantage of all.
The problem has defeated the standard approach - party/sectarian political - for many years, and a much better style of democracy alone can gain the necessary confidence of the conflicting interests and the people generally.
In the last analysis, only the latter can generate the strength and integrity of government needed to quiet the conflict.
The Prime Minister, Great Britain. 23/7/97.
Some years ago a letter was sent to Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister. It concerned the well recognised need for a political solution to the sectarian problems of Northern Ireland. It is quite plain that a political solution must be based in some way on a new style of parliamentary democracy to overcome the existing sectarian bias and prejudice.
To thus succeed it is apparent that the parliament (i.e. a refreshed Stormont) must be peopled by representatives who have the integrity and freedom to move into the area of objective decision-making which bypasses the sectarian pressures which have so far defeated all efforts to procure peaceful coexistence there.
A way is needed to set community-selected representatives free to operate on a conscience basis. They must be enabled to be true representatives, responsive to the concerns of the community, but not as delegates, subject to community opinion and pressures.
A new way is required. The suggestion to Mrs. Thatcher was that Stormont should be recreated, initially as a body advising the British government, then with limited administrative powers, with the clear purpose and plan of expansion as the new system 'works'.
To be successful such a system would need:
1. A substantial number of single member electorates to give clear representation. (The Australian preferential system seems to have advantages; but optional preference would be better.)
2. All issues would be decided in Stormont by secret ballot - a simple electronic voting system would not be costly - it would have no memory for voting records.
3. Ministers would all be individually elected by ballot and would be actually responsible to the parliament for carrying out the decisions of the parliament.
An extension, far more radical, could be considered. Women could play a major role in the resolution of the problem if given the power. With this in mind, voting papers could be (initially), sex distinctive. Women's' votes could then be given a differential weight. Or, the vote could be confined, in the beginning, to women!
This basis could create a new trust in the political process due to the resulting objectivity and justice of a parliament of this nature.
The outcome of the election (91% in the South, 75% in the North) tells its own story. The weight given to unification is plain. But can the majority Protestants be confident? What will be the trend of feeling after the euphoria? With the clear acceptance of the idea of unification by the British government, the 75% enthusiasm for a settlement of the troubles may well shrink rapidly in the North.
There is to be a new parliament in Stormont. What form will it take? Merely recreating a typical parliament, with the same groups struggling against each other along partisan lines, will give no stimulus to confidence.
Causes for fear can be resolved only by a new style of politics in which conscience can have at least some chance to prevail over partisan attitudes and loyalties. The need is for the secret ballot in the new parliament so that at least some representatives can start a new trend, by deciding objectively issues of concern to groups they would not normally be expected to support. It is quite ridiculous to suppose, as some do, that 'moderates' who supported the peace initiative would not give such objective consideration to the concerns of others.
Without such a new political climate the settlement is basically rotten, and it will take little to tip over the fragile balance of the agreement. It should be noted that the IRA has no intention of decommissioning their arms. One or two incidents could easily demolish the whole thing.
The comments of Tony Blair and Gerry Adams have included a note of caution, but the agreement reached in Belfast is certainly a major milestone in the history of this bedeviled country. Considerable praise is due to all who have taken part.
In previous letters (initially to Margaret Thatcher) it was proposed that the British government should create a new parliament in Stormont, with the freedom of Members to vote secretly on all issues; (including the election of ministers) - to give freedom for all MPs to support any reasonable claims from whatever quarter; and to enable more realistic local representation.
A new frontier in democratic thinking and practice could break the entrenched powers of extreme elements; short circuiting delays in this important process. A bold move could make all the difference at this crucial time.
When it is perceived that conscience voting in Stormont can produce equitable decisions, public confidence can build and replace the concerns, fears, and bitter antagonisms of the past.
The present fruitfulness of the effort for peace in Northern Ireland deserves every chance of success. Congratulations to all concerned!
Update 5/5/98. But the strains are telling. The IRA won't disarm, and some extreme Protestants are afraid to accept the proposals.
It was always apparent that the republicans were intent on unification and the English bent on getting out. The proposals thinly disguise these aims only. Only a non-partisan style of parliament in Stormont (in a genuine, mainfestly democratic format) can make progress to develop over a period the trust and confidence in a political process which can remove the sense of injustice and liquidate the mutual distrust and anger in the divided north. Without parliamentary government of that calibre peace in the north, or unification, must be a long way off. One ex Belfast man thinks 20 - 50 years is needed. We hope not, but a new dimension appears the only alternative.
The same kind of problem exists in Ulster. Here a long history of injustice is felt by the Catholic minority as the result of the British invasion long ago, and the subsequent prosperity of the Protestant majority in their country. It is quite evident that the invasions of history cannot now be reversed.
It is equally evident that the celebrations of victories of long ago are particularly odious to the Catholic minority. One would think that any regime really interested in a 'fair go' for all its citizens would scrap such insensitive actions. Is it a fear of being weak ?
For Ulster to celebrate such things as the Battle of the Boyne must be like waving a red rag to a bull.
In like vein the bicentennial celebrations in Australia were not, understandably, popular with Aboriginal people.
To rejoice over, aggravate, and put down a minority is far from consistent with the principles of democracy. Yet it must be realised that fear of minority groups creates and perpetuates a fortress mentality; and the organising and demonstration of power is in reality a primitive response to a perceived threat. To diminish such fears it is common for groups in power to circumscribe opportunities for others to exercise power.
What is the answer?
British governments have played 'ducks and drakes' with the problem for decades and come no nearer to a viable solution than when they started. Again and again one hears the cry for a political solution.
The only proposal with any likelihood of a successful outcome - an independent Ulster with a secret ballot parliament - has received no comment from the British government. It is true that the Irish Republic has changed in recent years and such change may sufficiently diminish Protestant fears to enable democratic institutions to end recourse to violence.
A serious storm is brewing in Pakistan following the Prime Minister's contempt of court which has landed him in trouble with the country's High Court.
Amendments to the law to enable an appeal have been passed by the parliament but the President has refused to sign the amendment into law. what will happen is hard to guess but emotions are hotting up. It is a serious situation.
How does this affect us?
The matter must interest considerably. We are looking at the possibility of a republic with a president, and the nature of the presidential powers are critical to this decision.
We already have some jostling between the Executive (Prime Minister) and the High Court which is straying from the previous loyalty to the principle of the separation of powers.
Introduction of a president into the equation naturally adds some more uncertainty. But reform is required, and one would hope that we are not afraid to tackle a hard one. After all we beat the world in installing the secret ballot for elections over 120 years ago.
Why not complete the picture? The world can do with a fresh vision of democracy. We need to move on.
Blind trust in privatisation is not faring too well in Russia.We could compare China taking a more pragmatic approach - in progressing to a world class economy - the Gorbachev approach??
What a shambles the principle of separation of powers is in, in a presidential 'democracy', when we see a parliament and president with conflicting powers!
Mr. Yeltsin has the ability to sack a Prime Minister (three times in the year), for failure of the economy, when the real reason is that he needed a supporter PM to quell the drive for his impeachment. The rush to a free market economy, without democracy, (under presidential rule - just like America), is proving once again that economic ideology is the enemy of the people. The Duma wants to see parliamentary government - presidential government is for dictatorships! Bring back Gorbachev!
Perhaps the saddest thing at the moment is the ruinous nature of the Russian mess, and Clinton's support of Yeltsin on the condition of continuing the 'reform' process.
Political turmoil reigns as the confused Soviets seek to find their way to democracy by following the Western pattern!
The dependence of the people on the uncertain abilities and democratic integrity of leaders, shows up the total inade quacy of presidential, or leader style government. With Yeltsin absent, Russia flounders, with him present they are afraid of his dictatorial style.
No sensible and clear-cut example of effective people-involvement in government is visible for them in the world's established 'democracies'. Without a clear democratic goal the problems are growing instead of being resolved. With minorities virtually frantic with worry and consequent demands for independence, it is plain that trust in centralised government is virtually nil.
Only a sound democratic system can engender trust in central government because it can reflect the reasonable wishes of the people, and diminish the powers of leaders to ignore them. Unless majority rule is secured, majority fear of minorities cannot be defused, and minority needs and concerns addressed. Then only can a political entity survive.
In the present time of economic turmoil, the need for trust in the emerging political system is of paramount importance. But, as with the revolution in Rumania, the confusion resulting from the absence of an evidently sane and effective style of democratic government to emulate, can easily result in a slide back to substantially the same situation that existed before.
A further coup is also feared. Where power and clear direction are lacking there is a vacuum which cannot continue. Their need for a new democratic vision to forestall the assumption of powers by non-democrats is urgent.
Meanwhile a new term has been invented - 'Russian Paralysis' - for the terrible stalemate that results from the attempt to resolve critical problems with the kind of ridiculously archaic political systems which we honour, without rhyme or reason, with the name of Western democracy - especially the presidential type.
What a shambles the principle of separation of powers produces in a country when achieved though a parliament and president with conflicting powers!
Mr. Yeltsin has the ability to sack a Prime Minister (three times in the year), for failure of the economy, when the real reason is that he needs a supporter PM to quell the drive for his impeachment.
What a hopeless system. Viva la Parliamentary government !
The damage of past conflict and ethnic tensions can only be undone by providing a tangible basis for the resolution of the basic problems in a manner which gives grounds for trust to be restored.
Once again the balloting parliament is the way with a realistic hope. For all minorities, loss of trust can only lead to disintegration. Only a real democracy can restore trust. Without that, unity can never be regained.
The problem is that for many, the 'democracy' they have seen is thought to be the only way it can be. Only by moving to a real democracy can a revived process of politics resolve the problems, and deal with the distrust which has lead to the fear and hatred, violence and civil war.
A visitor from Sweden spoke, during an election campaign here, of a crisis in government in his country. In his opinion, Australia seems to be going the same way.
The main problems, he claimed, stemmed from the party system. He commented that they are eternally fighting each other, intent on their own advantage, instead of thinking of what is good for the country as a whole. Moreover there is no real stability, as a change of government produces a complete change of policies, and that is the end of continuity and confidence.
A large public company, he agreed, if run in this fashion, would soon be in liquidation!
The world is in a mess. Will we, who have an answer, continue to fiddle?
Within one generation there will be many changes and adjustments facing us, as a more involved and strengthening United Nations intervenes increasingly in the affairs of 'sovereign' nations. The world is shrinking fast, and in the course of time, many questions will no longer be ours to decide. Our future eventually will be in the hands of the world majority.
The world needs to urgently learn a better mode of democracy to solve the political problems in order to survive.
It has been truly said that war is the failure of politics. With civil war everywhere, it is plain that world democracy has an enormous task ahead of it. Old ways must be revised; new must be tackled. Retreat into Fortress Australia will merely stave off the inevitable for a time; and see necessary change, which could be made early by adjustment with less trauma, forced upon us by cataclysm.
In a troubled world we, here, need to urgently find, and show forth, a much healthier and more effective democracy.