Sunday, August 22, 2010

An opportunity for a new form of government

The 2010 Australian Federal election results are not yet finalised, but it appears that no party has enough seats (76) to form government on its own.  This situation has not occurred in Australia since 1940.

The Greens have won their first ever lower house seat at a general election (Adam Bandt in Melbourne).

The three previous (incumbent) independents have been returned to office.  These are:
  • Tony Windsor, New England (rural NSW)
  • Bob Katter, Kennedy (rural QLD)
  • Rob Oakeshott, Lyne (rural NSW)
In addition, it is quite likely that Andrew Wilkie may win the seat of Denison in Tasmania as an independent.

Negotiations are in progress between the three confirmed independents and both the Labor party and the Coalition as to how a minority government might be formed.

I think this is a good outcome for democracy.  All those elected (all parties and independents) have been selected via the current electoral process by the people of Australia.  It is incumbent on them to form a stable and effective government.

These three confirmed independents have stated that a new form of government will be required to provide the stability required, and that traditional party politics should be shelved to make this happen.  I agree.

If either major party forms government in their own right they tend to run their own agenda along their party line rather than respecting the best interests and wishes of the Australian people.  They are basically accountable to nobody until the next election.

We saw this with the Rudd Labor government ignoring the recommendations of the extensive Garnaut Review of Climate Change and concocting a fatally compromised Emissions Trading Scheme (the CPRS), that was initially supported by the Coalition opposition, then opposed.  It failed because it was no good.

The Henry Tax Review finished early in 2010 was eventually released by the Rudd Labor government, who then chose to implement only 2 of the 137 recommendations (the mining tax being one of them) in the midst of an election campaign for political reasons.

Rob Oakeshott made the point on the 7:30 Report (special election edition 22/8) that a lot of time, money and effort has gone into these and other similar reports, which could be considered by the next government with more care and attention than the previous one.   In short, the next government should use this type of information to formulate policies for the future covering energy, carbon pollution, taxation and water utilisation and conservation, rather than just playing short term political games about these important issues.

It seems that the old political parties have become part of the problem contributing to lack of action on climate change and inadequate planning and investment in infrastructure for the 21st century.  They are stuck in old paradigms of winning, losing, being "in government" or "in opposition".

Why should 51% of our elected representatives be given the right to "govern" in an autocratic manner with the other 49% consigned to "opposition" where they spend most of their efforts whining, criticising, attacking and just opposing for the sake of it?

If Malcolm Turnbull would be a better treasurer than Wayne Swan, why shouldn't he get the job?   Our current political system totally precludes this (for this example with a Labor Government in office).

The Labor, Liberal and National parties are out of touch and out of date.  The Greens need to be very careful they don't end up in the same state.

Tony Abbott seems to think he has won the election and Labor has lost, apparently oblivious to the reality that the Australian people have given him no mandate to govern.

Julia Gillard seems to be adopting a better negotiation approach to possibly forming a minority government with the support of the independents and the single Greens lower house member.

I think we need a form of government where all 150 lower house MPs are accountable for delivering stability, innovation, good management of the executive arm of government and planning for a prosperous and sustainable future.  Bring it on please.

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