We do not Live in a Democracy

Australia is governed by a small political class, numbering no more than a few thousand.

Australia has political parties with declining membership, now less than 100,000 combined.

Australia regularly holds elections with gross disproportionality between voter intent and outcome.

Australia has multiple layers of Government, creating blame shifting, duplication and overlap of responsibilities.

Australia has multiple voting systems in various houses of parliament at all levels of government.

Australia does not have a national election – instead we have 150 individual elections for the House, and 8 for the Senate.

Australia is an undemocratic nation.

One vote one value.

A statement that most certainly does not apply to Australia’s electoral system. Australia is a country that manages to disenfranchise approximately 1/3 of it’s citizenry by providing no representation to them within the chamber that allows the formation of government – the House of Representatives. Australia’s system rewards parties with concentrated pockets of support – hence why there are many more Nationals MPs than Greens, despite there being significantly more votes for the latter.

Australia’s Political Class

The Liberal Party of NSW does not allow banch members to vote in pre-selections, leaving it to the executive council and a select few branch members. This puts selection of candidates in the hands of a very select few – what you could call the political class. The rank and file members have very little say in policy – it is more of a club to meet others.

The ALP disenfranchises all those that do not attend conference – only a select few get to attend, based on who you know. The party is famously controlled by unions at the conference, having a disproportionate vote to their engagement with the rank and file members. Motions passed by the party can be blindsided and vetoed by unions with little debate.

The Greens are notoriously secretive about their policy determination processes as their conferences are media no-go zones. Pre-selection battles are equally notorious – what has leaked has shown group voting tickets from one faction to sink another faction’s candidate. Bob Brown has publicly attacked Lee Rhiannon for being undemocratic on national TV.

Australia’s Political Parties

Despite protestations over decades, the Liberal Party nationally is riven by the moderate/conservative factions which essentially are two separate parties in one. Something which is trivialized by statements like “we’re a broad church”. Membership: 45-50k

In the ALP, if you don’t join a faction on day one, you are marginalized and have little to no ability to propose, debate, get motions seconded – let alone passed. And if you do get to conference, the members of the unions, whom you have never met or talked to, get to vote on conference motions. Membership: 45-50k

The NSW Greens are largely run by a cadre of ex-socialists that have a lower vote than counterparts in adjacent states. A new force has emerged in the form of “tree tories” from rural areas whom are focused on the environment and farmer’s rights to defend their land against miners and fracking. Membership: 9-10k

Democracy for Australia Blog