Chapter 10: DIRECT DEMOCRACY BY MEANS OF CITIZEN INITIATED REFERENDA.
MOTION: That the Rudd Government immediately initiate a referendum seeking to change the Federal Constitution during the current term of government, such that representative public petitions (Citizen Initiated Referenda) that request referenda on (a) major controversial issues and (b) uncertain mandates, may be conducted to ensure that actual democratic outcomes prevail in government.
Citizen Initiated Referenda (CIR) was once a major plank of the Australian Democrats, but has not featured prominently in their Senate debating or in their electioneering. The establishment political status quo seems to have nobbled them.
The Greens occasionally call for a referendum, but they don’t have the numbers to succeed. All that they can do is to try to prick the conscience of Pollies in the major parties or the editors of OZ Media, who invariably ignore such calls.
Maybe the Democrats as a whole have succumbed to the realisation that CIR would mean that the general public would demand a referendum on reform of politicians’ remuneration packages. If so, then such is the power of undemocratic government.
If the Rudd Government really wants to stack up as the government for “New Leadership”, then actual democratic change would have an urgent and high priority. Alternatively, “New Leadership” might mean “More of the same undemocratic government” that plagued the people during the Howard Government’s era in power.
In NSW for example, the people need a specific vote on controversial government proposals such as (a) the $2Bn hippopotamus hide of a desalination plant that would require a dedicated coal fired power station to run and (b) the flog off of the State owned electricity system. In that way, the adverse influences of minority vested interests could be salved. If the NSW Iemma Government were to put up their arguments, to canvass public support accordingly and to actually apply a “One vote, one value” referendum in each case, then actual democracy would stand a better chance of prevailing and the Iemma Government would stand a better chance of surviving the next State Election!