The argument that the current federal government has no legitimacy is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. Similarly, any government claim to have received a ‘mandate’ of support for their particular policy position in an election is stretching reality. Seriously, the major parties can barely even claim to have legitimately won government when they have a majority of seats, since the system is so heavily distorted to support them.
Many of those who do chose to give their primary vote to a major party do so on the basis they believe the other option is far worse, the “better of two bad options” paradigm. Most of us however do not actually vote for the major party who wins, but end up supporting them on the basis they are our “least non-preferred candidate”. Our vote is actually for someone else but ends up counting for one of the major candidates.
It’s a sham. We ought to be able to leave people or parties off the list if we don’t want our vote to count toward them, without our votes being wasted or becoming ‘illegitimate’. Our votes shouldn’t end up counting toward someone we don’t actually support.
Even if the electoral system were reformed to produce better representation, no election is a mandate for a whole or part of a parties policy platform. Elections are about choosing which individuals will best represent our local interests at a national and international level. Or at least they are supposed to be.
These days it seems like election campaigns don’t even care about creating an understanding of existing legislation and proposed changes. Or even discussing the role MPs have or will play in parliament itself. Rather it focuses on party catch phrases, preying on fear and prejudice to try win votes. Rarely do we hear about economic policies, aside from the scaremongering about the ‘deficit’ and ‘interest rates’.
The real bones of what the two parties stand for economically is mostly ignored. This is essentially because both parties share the same unpopular economic agenda which increasingly lands more wealth in the hands of the wealthy, while doing little to improve the lot of average Australians. Such policies include excessive deregulation, the privatisation drive and the opening up of Australia’s resource sector to huge multi-national corporations.
Beyond concerns about the role partisanship plays in hiding the true nature of the major parties economic doctrines, another major concern is the virtual irrelevance of the actual local MP during elections. Never is this more evident than when heading in to vote at the local school on election day. Pictures of the candidates are few and far between, if present at all, while poster-sized images of party leaders are hung for blocks in every direction. “Stop the Boats” catchphrases and all.
If we aren’t even given a chance to see what our potential representatives look like, how can we trust them? How can we get a chance to know where they stand as an individual politically, socially and economically? How do we know they actually represent us? All we really do know is that they will vote in line with whatever their party decides is policy, which the party leaders change as often as their underwear.
How can we possibly make a legitimate, informed decision about who represents us and our interests at a national level?
Is any government really ‘legitimate’?
And correct me if I’m wrong, but from my understanding the ‘legitimacy’ of the Australian government comes from it’s ability to survive votes of no confidence in the lower-house and to pass supply bills through parliament in accordance with the constitution. So how can Tony Abbott continually claim the current government is illegitimate?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely convinced that our system of government IS legitimate. Especially because it’s authority comes from claims to be representative of the Australian people; which are questionable at best. However, if the legitimacy of the government comes from the Australian Constitution, then legally the current Federal Government is unquestionably legitimate.
It’s about time our politicians, especially the leader of the opposition, started focusing more on educating and involving the Australian population and producing good policy. We’ve all had enough of your obsessions with illogical, incorrect accusations of ‘illegitimacy’ and claims that elections produce ‘mandates’ for policy positions. There is no mandate for any policy position in this two-party system, unless it comes directly from a referendum.
Stop f**king around with partisan politics and start doing your damned job.