Allan Takes Aim Blog

What kind of city do Canberrans really want?

Posted on: 14 April 2013

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What kind of city do Canberrans really want?

What kind of city do Canberra residents, not to mention the other twenty one and a half million Australians for whom Canberra is the National Capital, want? Indeed do they ever get asked? They don’t, so it isn’t surprising that many Australians think Canberra a city mainly of lookalike buildings and houses occupied by politicians and public servants who would make non Canberrans think Dolly the sheep was not the world’s first successful experiment in cloning.

It’s true that Canberra is home to many politicians and public servants and while various news reports suggest the former spend more time on affairs that are more personal than political it might also be true that some of the latter do the same.

It is true also that Canberra has around 350,000 residents of whom around 200,000 thousand are eligible to vote for the 17 Member Legislative Assembly which has at its disposal around 25,000 public servants (give or take a few thousand) who guide them on the management of Canberra and its institutions.

In common with most politicians, most of Canberra’s MLAs when asked why they entered politics usually say it’s because they wanted to make a difference a statement that ever trusting voters believe. Initially, too, voters also give them the benefit of the doubt about their election promises of making the city boom by creating new industry and business opportunities without disturbing its environment.

Unfortunately, as time goes by, the performance of some MLAs serve to confirm initial doubt. And voters’ doubts grow also as some MLAs seem to be seduced by the financial benefits they enjoy as MLAs thus making shams of their initial assurances to voters about their honesty and integrity. A perception also grows that they have suppressed values and become prisoners of their party in trying to maintain the good life their position as MLAs gives them.

This seems to me a good reason to support the idea that MLAs, indeed all MPs, only be allowed to serve two continuous Parliamentary terms. Such a system would weaken the party system and allow for the election of MLAs whose allegiance is to the community as a whole not to a party with a fixed political philosophy. Such as system would also encourage people who wish to advance the interests of the community not the vested interests of parties, to become parliamentarians

Party apparatchiks will cry: unworkable, the ravings of a lunatic and many other less polite indications of both my intellect and sanity. But let me remind these people that when Socrates first raised the idea of democracy he was shouted down and subjected to slander so vile that it led to him to take his own life.

That said I can also assure readers that being subjected to similar behaviour will neither lead me to take the same action as Socrates nor lessen my efforts to bring about a change to our current system of electing government. And I can also assure you that my life will end only by my body giving up naturally or by accident.

But I cannot end the blog without giving an answer to the question posed by the blog’s caption. Until a better system of democracy evolves and a Parliamentary system introduced where the voice of voters can really be heard, voters will be forced to accept the inadequacies the current system a good example of which in Canberra is the use of Call in Powers where the Government steamrollers ideas it doesn’t like.

As part of that acceptance voters will also be conforming to a system that allows self – serving politicians to employ an ever growing number of sycophants and alleged citizens of influence whose loyalty will demand even greater rewards.

Indeed, as we cast our eyes at the activities of some politicians in various Australian governments, including the Federal Government, it could be said even now that evidence suggesting the system needs to change is piling up and without change, Canberrans will never get the city they want.  And it is also obvious that without change the likelihood of MPs in various governments doing shady deals to benefit friends -and themselves – will increase, as will government incompetence.

Comments welcome.


1 Response to "What kind of city do Canberrans really want?"

Thanks for the comment Robert.

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