The upcoming local government elections in New South Wales is yet another reminder of the inadequacies of a political arrangement whereby the people, following an election, end up being dictated to by governments; where their so-called representatives can implement policies that they were not elected on or which the majority of the people are opposed to.
There is a need for people to have the democratic right to determine the destiny of their own lives, and the direction of their community, rather than being run roughshod over by politicians who are supposed to be protecting their interests, but who have their own agenda.
There are times when governments at all levels, whether local, state or federal, act against the will of the people that they are meant to be representing; this should not be acceptable in a modern democratic society.
At the council level, the wasting of ratepayers’ money is one of the main problematic areas; whether such funds are wasted on extremist “Greenie” policies or irrelevant politically correct policies. Spending local ratepayers’ money on foreign entanglements, whilst council services to the community break down, with the needed maintenance of roads and pavements being neglected, is ridiculous. Local councils should not be wasting ratepayers funds on frivolous foreign “feel good” forays, or on vested interest groups, that detract from local budgets and projects, taking funds away from the needs of local ratepayers.
The fact is that often councils waste thousands of taxpayer dollars, but there is usually little or no opportunity for citizens to remedy the situation, because by the time the next election comes around the situation is over and the damage has been done, or there may be more pressing issues to be resolved. Or sometimes people may be happy enough with 80% of what their representatives are dong, so the troublesome 20% gets pushed aside. But why should people have to put up with undemocratic decisions, or have wait until the next election to solve major problems, when their “representatives” are not listening to the majority of the people?
With the implementation of Citizens Initiated Referendums, concerned citizens could raise issues and, if they can get enough voters to sign a petition, the matter can be put to the people for their vote. CIR works in Switzerland, as well as various states in the USA, so why not here? Why shouldn’t Australians have the same democratic rights as the Swiss? Or do the politicians think Australians aren’t good enough?
Citizens Initiated Referendums gives ordinary people a stronger democracy, makes politicians more responsive, and ensures that governments are more accountable.
It’s something to think about.
[The use of Citizens’ Initiated Referenda is an integral part of the policies of the APP.]