Thursday, 26 June 2014

There is something wrong with

democracy in this country. In this state we have, for the third time, a government which was not elected by a majority of people. It was not even the second choice of a majority. It is also being propped up by (a) an independent who went against the wishes of those who elected him and (b) a local member who switched sides and secured himself a ministerial position. It is wrong on all counts but there is nothing that can be done about it because even riots in the streets would be put down with the ruling "this is what the law says".
At federal level the government is the one which was elected by the people but it cannot implement the major policies it went to the electorate with because the Senate, which is supposed to represent the states but does not, is intent on blocking everything it can.
And yes, we should be concerned by all of that. It is not democracy. Politicians are playing power games.
The curious thing then is that our politicians have anything at all to say about the supposed lack of democracy anywhere else in the world. They have had much to say about the jailing of Peter Greste. Christine Milne, who leads the Greens in Australia, has been demanding diplomatic and trade sanctions against the Egyptian government "whatever it takes". 
That sort of talk is dangerous. Milne believes she can say as she pleases. It is populist talk. It is unlikely that anything like that will be implemented. It would do both sides more harm than good.
The Australian media has made a great fuss about "one of our own" being incarcerated in a foreign gaol "for doing his job". The reality however is that he is one of many journalists incarcerated in prisons around the world - incarcerated for doing their job as they see it.
Perhaps that is the problem. Journalists don't merely report "facts", they interpret the "facts" as they see them. They have the potential to be a very powerful force in the world. Some of them are very well known. People will listen to them. If, like the late Alistair Cooke, they comment on current affairs they can influence millions of people. His "Letter from America", was broadcast for 58 years by BBC and BBC World Service. It was largely uncontroversial but very informative and influential.
Here Downunder we have a highly controversial columnist by name of Andrew Bolt. He is despised by many but he is still highly influential. People who loathe him still listen to him and they are, in all probability, influenced by him. There have been efforts to silence him and I have no doubt that more than one politician wishes Mr Bolt was incarcerated - perhaps along with other journalists.
It seems then that a "failure of democracy" in any other part of the world is something to be condemned. If it occurs here then it is a different story. Journalists have had little to say about the failure of democracy here. Those who have had the temerity to say anything have been roundly condemned by their fellow journalists and they find their access to politicians blocked. We do not normally gaol them, although they have been taken to court and fined for speaking out. Life canbe made difficult for them in many ways.
Are we really so very different - or is it just a matter of degree?


Anonymous said...

Sadly, I think it is a matter of degree.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that we are getting less news reporting, and what we do get is hidden in the opinion pages, and more opinions which feature on the front page. Don't think there are meany 'news reporters' around anymore.

catdownunder said...

I think you may be right