Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our polity is failing

Knowledge of our polity is pretty atrocious - plus we don't have much of an idea about "the constitution" or the roles of "the house of representatives and the senate" and the role that "the states" play in our federation.  Don't even ask about a "half senate" or "double dissolution" election or how you get to be a senator.

These things are just not well known or understood by our people.  Nowhere near as well known as the latest AFL Premiership team - or who bagged the most gold medals at the London Olympics - or the price of a McMansion in any capital city - or the name of the latest 4wd of the year.  All of which have been etched onto a Bogan brain cell.

Call me a cynic but I am pretty sure that things have been designed this way.  Our political system is broken and unrepresentative and as a result our *polity is failing* - simply because so few of us are informed enough to ensure that we get "good outcomes" when we vote.  Mostly we don't know what a good democratic outcome would even look like - all we care about is that "our team" wins the confected race called "an election".

I think our politicians actually like it this way.  For example, despite all the available evidence the Opposition Leader can insist that "climate change is crap" - and his teams' vote goes up.  What is that if not evidence of a "poor outcome"?

If our politicians actually viewed any of this as a problem then they would have done more, much more years ago - to ensure that the people who were being asked to vote were properly informed.

My sense of it is that this is one of main reasons why they won't change "compulsory voting".  Because by focussing on the *compulsory* nature of voting there is less opportunity to question the *quality* nature of that voting.  And that is clearly the problem.

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