Ironbark Club, June 2011

The Ironbark Club is a friendly monthly get-together (in Sydney) where Conservatives, Nationalists, Constitutionalists, Anthropogenic climate change sceptics and Australians concerned about where this country is headed can discuss issues of concern in a PC free environment. It’s a good way of meeting like-minded people and forming new social networks. We will have guest speakers on various subjects and from time to time be entertained with recitals of Australia poetry and short stories.

This month’s guest speaker is Jon Shapiro. Jon ran as an independent candidate in the last NSW state election for the seat of Balmain. Jon has been working on a project titled ‘Democracy without Politics’ and will speak about his experiences as an electoral candidate and his ideas for government:

“Democracy Without Politics” is my vision for constitutional reform, drawing on ideas in two areas of democratic theory; participatory and (particularly) deliberative democracy. My vision is premised on two ideas; that constitutional law is always and everywhere the most important public issue, because it impacts on every other area of public policy, and, if we get the law-making process right, then good law should follow as a matter of course (and the contrary; if the law-making process is flawed, then talking about other areas of public policies may just be a waste of time, if we can’t do anything about it). So, rather than talking about what the law should be, I talk about how the law should be made.

In my vision I focus on the end product of our system of lawmaking, the laws we make, and the ideas behind them, rather than people, power, and politics, which at best are really only intermediary steps towards that end-product. In so doing, I try to answer two questions: (i) how can we make it as easy as possible for ordinary citizens to have meaningful involvement in the law-making process, and (ii) how can we guarantee that as much as possible laws are only made on their merits, and not for political or other irrelevant reasons. As a result I’ve developed a model which represents a radical departure from the Westminster system, while preserving those aspects of it which are worth keeping, and, specifically, extending the idea of the separation of powers to divide the legislative process itself, rather than it being left entirely to an elite (albeit elected) to conduct that whole process itself.

Jon also runs a Friday afternoon drive radio program at Eastside Radio (89.7 FM). The drive programme hosts a political trivia programme with invited guests on the panel.

This month we’ll be in a new location whilst the usual venue is undergoing renovation. Therefore we are asking people for a $20 entry donation to help pay for the hire and drinks. Pizza will be ordered after the talk. So come along, invite your friends! Contact Darrin (0431 739 260) or Nick (0417 679 972) for more information.


  1. skippymate says

    Innovation Labor style: let members vote for themselves

    Greg Combet has said today on ABC AM that the carbon tax will bring about innovation. I agree. It will be about innovation. Innovation like:

    Now that power is so much dearer, how do I stay warm? Likewise, now that power is so much dearer, and it’s summer, how do I stay cool?

    Now that they are shutting down a major power supply, how do we maintain affordable base rate power?

    Now that our competitors don’t have a carbon tax and we do, what are we going to discount so that we can sell the product? Or do we just shut down the product?

    Now that the government has a tax that they can put up whenever they like, do I trust them to not put it up whenever they like?

    Now that the government is $197.1 billion gross in debt, borrowing an extra $3 billion just last week, do I think that in due course they will just use this revenue stream as a desperate attempt to pay back people overseas?

    This is all innovation and much more that we can expect from Labor’s carbon tax.

    However, the sort of innovation that Australia needs to fix all this is as follows:

    If one Labor lower house member, such as Sharon Bird, Stephen Jones, Kirsten Livermore, Joel Fitzgibbon or Yvette D’Ath crosses the floor the carbon tax will not come in. Now that is truly simple innovation that could really get rid of this tax.

  2. Nick Folkes says

    Come along and listen to Jon's interesting take on his ideas for constitutional reforms. We have limited participation in our democracy, this will not change while Labor, Liberal and Greens govern the people.

    We need a political grassroots revolution.

  3. If we want democracy without politics, we need to reform our political system to a system where politicans are skilled to hold their portfolios, where all politicians are held accountable for deception, corruption and the pursuit of objectives which are not in the best interest of Australia. This is well covered in the book "Aussies wanna KISS" check out the website and sign the petition for political reform. The author is passionate about Australia and its future, as are more and more Australians becoming as they are realising the root of our problems.

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