Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

ON OUR dreary fort­nightly 200km round shop­ping trips to Bund­aberg, Mar­got and I do a lot of talk­ing. Re­cent top­ics were of course the elec­tion and the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment bud­get. I recog­nised an el­e­ment in both: “The coun­try/state is in dire cir­cum­stances and some­thing has got to be done about it and I’m the man to do it”! I did that once. I told staff “I am here to run... not to be popular!” Wrong! As I learnt to my dis­may with­out sup­port you can do noth­ing ef­fec­tively. While I am not en­am­oured by Camp­bell New­man or Ab­bott/Hockey I see my­self re­flected in their ap­proach: “I’m the man! I will re­form! Don’t care who likes it!” And they made a bull at the gate mess of it. They didn’t take the op­po­si­tion or the peo­ple with them. As Lyn­dal Curtis so clearly ex­plained in an eru­dite ar­ti­cle re­cently, re­form likely to cause pain is dif­fi­cult. But if it is ex­plained and the ap­pro­pri­ate com­pro­mises are made it is not im­pos­si­ble. The op­po­si­tion is as ar­dent as the gov­ern­ment to do the right thing for the coun­try or state. That it is not there to op­pose for the sake of op­pos­ing is borne out by the fact more than 90% of leg­is­la­tion is usu­ally car­ried. Mar­got and I agreed any gov­ern­ment must dis­cuss, ex­plain and seek ap­pro­pri­ate com­pro­mises, then take it to the peo­ple and ex­plain, dis­cuss, ex­plain again and make a solid case for the re­form be­fore leg­is­la­tion is pre­sented to par­lia­ment. Sur­prises in par­lia­ment de­mean the dig­nity of par­lia­ment. In other words, talk, talk to the op­po­si­tion, talk to the peo­ple, get ev­ery­one on­side and re­form is pos­si­ble. Don’t drop sur­prises on the op­po­si­tion or the peo­ple. Peo­ple jack up when con­fronted with un­pleas­ant sur­prises in pol­icy and leg­is­la­tion. No gov­ern­ment has a uni­ver­sal man­date. If this were so we would not have democ­racy but se­quen­tial dic­ta­tor­ships, caus­ing up­heavals as in Queens­land re­cently. Our con­sti­tu­tion and the drafters of the con­sti­tu­tion en­vis­aged a par­lia­ment of in­di­vid­u­als who gov­erned for the peo­ple they rep­re­sented, al­beit the elite classes, but nonethe­less rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment with­out so called party man­dates. It is time for the Aus­tralian par­lia­ments to re­turn to demo­cratic rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Di­eter Moeckel Won­bah

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