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Message started by freediver on Mar 7th, 2007 at 8:03pm

Title: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Mar 7th, 2007 at 8:03pm
There is nothing in our constitution about political parties or the position of prime minister. The main reason we have them is that people vote for candidates who are part of a party structure and who nominate a 'leader' prior to the election. Why do people do this? Because a party has fairly fixed policies and internal mechanisms for ensuring members vote according to those policies. This goes a long way to ensuring that politicians vote according to what was said before an election. Without parties, people would be taking a far greater risk at each election because they would know far less about what each candidate stands for. Parties remove a lot of the 'personality' aspects of an election and allow people to vote for a set of policies come election time, even though they may not even know each candidate personally.



Direct democracy in Australia

http://ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1175406277

the need for political parties

http://ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1173261822/0

Should preference voting be disabled

http://ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1176974719

Republic discussion vs Monarchy (?)

http://ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1174963616

A different Political System  ?

http://ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1175233421

Liberals trying to gag voters..sneaky deceitful.

http://ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1175730573

Rock Enrol

http://ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1171784399

Politics Online

http://ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1176680937

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by Aussie Nationalist on Mar 7th, 2007 at 8:18pm
The other problem with enviros idea is it will create a monopoly on who can become a politition or indeed, president.
Thats where partys are good, it gives a fairer chance.

Title: more
Post by freediver on Mar 7th, 2007 at 9:43pm
The public faces a fundamental tradeoff in a democracy between knowledge and effort. The more informed voters are, the better the choices they make, but this comes at the expense of lost opportunityies to get other useful things done. This is what has lead most democracies to situations where you vote for people to look into issues and make decisions on your behalf, rather than making those decisions yourself. This is why trust is always an issue.

Members of a political party have a vested interest in keeping each other in line and ensuring that only trustworthy people represent the party, because one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. People trust the institution of each party far more than they trust their own ability to judge the local candidates, given the small amount of direct contact they are likely to have with those candidates. Parties also allow the public to take political revenge on a representative from another electorate.

Another advantage of parties is that they facilitate specialisation. Public institutions only have to answer to one sitting member (the 'minister' respoinsible for their department) rather than trying to gauge the general feeling among a hundred or so members. Ministers can look into specific issues in far greater detail than would happen if every member had a finger in every pie.


Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by enviro on Mar 8th, 2007 at 9:04am

wrote on Mar 7th, 2007 at 8:18pm:
The other problem with enviros idea is it will create a monopoly on who can become a politition or indeed, president.
Thats where partys are good, it gives a fairer chance.


Monopoly?  ;D Anybody in Australia with the skills can run as a candidate. The first time people vote allows us to shortlist the candidates. If their were 2000 people running for Finance Minister, that pass the initial selection criteria, we would take the top 6 to 12 from the initial voting and then hold another vote with final candidates. Yes this means voting twice but the ease of doing it at home, or work, on your computer would make it viable. Beats lining up for 2 hours at a poll booth.

Democracy should carry into parlaiment not just rear it's head at voting time. ;)

Freediver I'll get back to your comments later. Have to go. :)


*Why you started another thread is beyond me Freediver, this one should be under Aus Nat's original thread. :o

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Mar 8th, 2007 at 5:27pm
I thought it was a different issue and big enough to get a thread on it's own.

Title: Re: more
Post by enviro on Mar 9th, 2007 at 9:45am

freediver wrote on Mar 7th, 2007 at 9:43pm:
The public faces a fundamental tradeoff in a democracy between knowledge and effort. The more informed voters are, the better the choices they make, but this comes at the expense of lost opportunityies to get other useful things done. This is what has lead most democracies to situations where you vote for people to look into issues and make decisions on your behalf, rather than making those decisions yourself. This is why trust is always an issue.

Members of a political party have a vested interest in keeping each other in line and ensuring that only trustworthy people represent the party, because one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. People trust the institution of each party far more than they trust their own ability to judge the local candidates, given the small amount of direct contact they are likely to have with those candidates. Parties also allow the public to take political revenge on a representative from another electorate.

Another advantage of parties is that they facilitate specialisation. Public institutions only have to answer to one sitting member (the 'minister' respoinsible for their department) rather than trying to gauge the general feeling among a hundred or so members. Ministers can look into specific issues in far greater detail than would happen if every member had a finger in every pie.


This is an absolute ridiculous notion you have of the workings of party's.

The only people with a finger in the pie are the corrupt politicians that force nepotism within the party based on rigid ideals. A job for your mate or lets get rid of such and such to foriegn minister so he is no longer a threat to the stabilisation of the party's ideals is what happens when you put a party together. Within that party, under the surface of all the pomp and ceremony, it is realy a dictatorship. The bean counters control the party. When you vote for the Prime Minister your not voting for him but for some bean counter in the backroom forming party policy. The Prime Minister is just an educated salesman.

Freediver
Quote:
Members of a political party have a vested interest in keeping each other in line and ensuring that only trustworthy people represent the party, because one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.


No, people in a political party have a vested interest on whether you are going to Kow Tow to there ideals. The bad apple in party's has been there since their foundation. The party's of today were built from the foundation of a rotting apple.

Freediver
Quote:
People trust the institution of each party far more than they trust their own ability to judge the local candidates, given the small amount of direct contact they are likely to have with those candidates.


How do independants ever get elected then?

What I am suggesting would be like having an independant in each seat and they are there to do a certain job.

Freediver
Quote:
Parties also allow the public to take political revenge on a representative from another electorate.


So you promote vindictiveness in our parlaiment?



At the moment we only have 2 directions we can go either Liberal Ideals or Labor Ideals. Do you honestly believe that this is healthy for the country?

Democracy and debate should be constant within our parlaiment but debate only happens when the 2 ideals clash. They could be both wrong but we would have to stick to it.

With 100 ideals (independants) in parlaiment and healthy debate should prove more accurate when it comes to the direction of this country. The debate would also consist of a higher educated level meaning a better understanding through parlaiment benefiting the people. :)





Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Mar 9th, 2007 at 9:58am
Enviro I didn't say the party system is perfect, but it is far better than the alternative.

Also, it's not really possible to ban parties. You cannot stop a group of politicians from discussing policiy among themselves and agreeing to vote for a common policy, and using that common policy at election time to promote their stance.

No, people in a political party have a vested interest on whether you are going to Kow Tow to there ideals.

Of course, and it's those ideals that people vote for. If you don't share the ideals, don't join the party. Just don't blame the party system for you not getting elected. The parties get elected because the public supports those sets of ideals.

How do independants ever get elected then?

Like I said, it's a matter of public choice. When people get sick of the major parties for whatever reason, including those you listed, there is nothing stopping them from voting for minor parties and independents.

What I am suggesting would be like having an independant in each seat and they are there to do a certain job.

No, what you are suggesting is effectively putting restrictions on organisation and teamwork among politicians, and on the flow of information between candidsates and the public.

So you promote vindictiveness in our parlaiment?

No, I promote vindictiveness at the polls.

At the moment we only have 2 directions we can go either Liberal Ideals or Labor Ideals.

Wrong. Just wrong.

Democracy and debate should be constant within our parlaiment but debate only happens when the 2 ideals clash.

The debate in public is far more important than the debate in parliament. The real decisions are made at the polls.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by enviro on Mar 9th, 2007 at 11:17am
Freediver
Quote:
Enviro I didn't say the party system is perfect, but it is far better than the alternative.


You wouldn't even know an alternative if you fell over one. ;D

You are conditioned to believe in Party's, this is obvious. If not, list me three alternatives of running a country with no party's.

Oh, you can't? I wonder why? ::)

Freediver
Quote:
Also, it's not really possible to ban parties.


I just finnished explaining how you can ban parties.

Freediver
Quote:
You cannot stop a group of politicians from discussing policy among themselves and agreeing to vote for a common policy, and using that common policy at election time to promote their stance.


What I suggest makes this impossible until after they are elected but, the President, being impartial,  must also agree. The Presidents job is to work with the facts that are presented to him from each individual member. You won't be voting for a party's common policy (which isn't really common through all members of that party) you will be voting for an individuals beliefs.


Keeping in mind, a parlaiment that is party based actually restrains free speach and healthy debate.


Freediver
Quote:
People trust the institution of each party far more than they trust their own ability to judge the local candidates, given the small amount of direct contact they are likely to have with those candidates.

enviro
Quote:
How do independants ever get elected then?

What I am suggesting would be like having an independant in each seat and they are there to do a certain job.

Freediver
Quote:
Like I said, it's a matter of public choice. When people get sick of the major parties for whatever reason, including those you listed, there is nothing stopping them from voting for minor parties and independents.


What stops them Freediver is the fact that they might be backing a loser. As for trusting the institution of each party an independant would never be elected because they are not party affiliated. They are a true representative of the people. We have many independants that win elections because of their impartiality.

The reason why, what I have suggested would work, is after elections the elected people would form their own labor, liberal, green etc factions within giving healthy debate over each issue. Keeping in mind each one can be elected out of office every 4 years under my alternative.

I believe that people have been conditioned to believe that they need party's. Parlaiment should be represented by people not party's for the people.
:)

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Mar 9th, 2007 at 11:30am
You are conditioned to believe in Party's, this is obvious. If not, list me three alternatives of running a country with no party's.

You don't need 'alternatives'. You just need to vote for independents.

I just finnished explaining how you can ban parties.

As far as I can tell, all your proposal would do is force the party system to become 'unwritten'. That is, it would remove all the transparency. You would keep the problems, but only remove the solutions.

What I suggest makes this impossible until after they are elected

The proposal about not knowing who you are voting for is absurd. You seem to think it would make the public more informed about who they are voting for. It wouldn't.

but, the President, being impartial,  must also agree

What's the point of having the position if he can't disagree?

As for trusting the institution of each party an independant would never be elected because they are not party affiliated.

Hopefully you are not going to make me qualify each statement I make about public choice by saying that inherent in that choice is the option to choose something different. Sometimes they choose aprty candidates, sometimes they choose idnependents. The point is that they choose.

We have many independants that win elections because of their impartiality.

Then why the need to ban parties? It seems to me that your proposal is highly undemocratic. The people choose parties through democratic processes. For some reason you don't like this, so you want to take away people's choice.

I believe that people have been conditioned to believe that they need party's.

No they haven't. You are arguing that you know better than everyone else and that you should therefor be able to impose your views on others by restricting the democratic process. There is no 'conditioning' involved. People view the situation rationally and choose parties (disclaimer: they also choose idnependents occasionally).

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by enviro on Mar 9th, 2007 at 11:51am
So people will know where this discussion above has derived from I have pasted previous mixed text from another thread in what I have written in regards to a Republic.

Critisism can be viewed at;

http://ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1173182998



I think you should think a little bit more out of the square. What we really need to do is have the populace select each individual minister's position based on merit. CV's can be displayed of each candidate with the focus to finding the right people to do the job. Somehow we need to take popularity or charisma out of the contest.

I think we should have a president. The next best time to raise the republican issue is now because people want change. Politics have become stale with them. Too much emphasis is being put on how a politician sells himself rather than his skill to do the job.

I believe there are many different ways you can do this but my favourite is that elections should be run on our computers where candidates, who have to pass a criteria test, can submit there CV. We peruse their CV's over a 6 week period then vote online. Maybe the candidates only provide avatars and who they really are is not revealed until after an election. This also takes vanity out of the equation.

I believe the President should select the Foreign Affairs Minister because this job does entail personality being the salesman for Australia. The President would have to accept full responsibility for all actions provided by the Foreign Affairs Minister.

Only if the focus was on collective thought and not individual thought.

We have many party's in this country being Labour, Liberal, Democrats, One Nation, Greens etc. These party's are made up of like minded people. The problem with this is, because they are party affiliated they have to agree and vote on the party's preferred choice not their preferred choice. This is what happens when you create teams. (Collective Thought)

To be a real republic or even a democracy you need to get rid of party's. The only Party that counts is the one that forms after each election with the CEO, I mean President, at the helm.

The President can still give direction of the nation but he will need to convince each individual within the newly elected party. This will instil democracy within the government.

The individuals CV would have their beliefs illustrated.

Policy change's or addition's would be argued in parlaiment and 51% passes the bill. The president makes the final decision based on whether it is allowed to pass or not. This makes the President the fail safe switch. The president is generally voted in for the direction that he wants to take the country, so when judging these policy changes he will be able to take that direction into account.

You really need to get the concept of not having political party's.


By becoming a republic it allows us to change the structure and the foundations of democracy modernising it for today and the future. This allows us to change the system to suit for example, how we vote.

In our modern society it is possible, with technology, to change how we vote. People will vote based on how much interest they have in voting. If they are interested enough they will read pages and pages about the people they plan to vote for. But if they are disinterested they may just read the candidates beliefs in certain areas. I believe you personally Freediver would read all the pages because it is your interest to do so.

Even today people will go to vote and hardly any of them would know the policies or the beliefs of each party or even the candidate they vote for. John Howard would never have been voted for if he focused on GST, yet we now have GST.

They are not seperate issues Freediver. Anything that is part of the system is the same. Democracy is all about voting and giving the people the choice.

If you were running for environment minister you would display your Green Shift Tax Policy as your belief. Can you tell me what todays environment ministers personal belief is when it comes to GST (as an example). Of course you can't because you can't ask him.



Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by enviro on Mar 9th, 2007 at 11:56am
By the way Freediver, Party's benefit because they can pool rescources to change the ideals and beliefs of the people through media with the high budgets that they have. Dazzle them with patriotism etc. An independant does not have the same clout with the elctorate due to the lack of exposure. This is what your party policy dictates. This must change.
;D

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Mar 9th, 2007 at 12:36pm
What we really need to do is have the populace select each individual minister's position based on merit.

That doesn't involve banning political parties. Furthermore, unles you constitute 'extra' powers for each minister, then the position of each minister will be fairly meaningless, because each member of parliament has an equal say in how each area is run.

Somehow we need to take popularity or charisma out of the contest.  

Popularity is based on more than charisma. It is based on trust. If you plan on doing this by anonymous candidates, you will severely restrict the flow of information to the public about each candidate. That is not good for democracy.

I think we should have a president.

Whether we have a president is irrelevant. What matters is the role of the president. You can call Howard president if you want, but it won't change anything.

BTW, I only started a new thread to discuss the issue of banning parties. There is no need to bring the other issues over. Whether we switch to a republic is a completely separate issue from whether we ban parties.

You really need to get the concept of not having political party's.

I get the concept. I just think it's a really bad idea.

If they are interested enough they will read pages and pages about the people they plan to vote for.

The vast majority are not that interested.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by enviro on Mar 9th, 2007 at 1:29pm
Nothing personal Freediver it is just that the direction of this thread was in response to my alternative that I answered in another thread by Aus Nat. If people came and read what I was debating they would only have half the story. Was this your plan? Did you have another agenda?

I didn't want to have to rewrite everything again so I cut and pasted all rellevant details so other readers are able to join in. This whole thread is just a continuation of Aus Nat's (read it if you don't believe me). If you notice that the first comment you recieved in this thread from Aus Nat referred to where this topic has gone.
:)

I could take every line you have written and give you an argument on it but, I do feel I am wasting my time.

like;

I think this quote of your is contradictory to something else you said.

Freediver
Quote:
The vast majority are not that interested.


You stated the opposite earlier. I'll let you find it.

I have to go but I will return.
:)


Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Mar 9th, 2007 at 1:57pm
No agenda. I just think it is an interesting topic for debate, regadless of how it fits in with your suggestion. I've heard the same criticism of parties from other people. Your suggestion is a combination of several different concepts and I think it makes more sense to consider them in isolation, at least initially.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by Shithouse Rat on Apr 2nd, 2007 at 1:39am
Political Parties are now mentioned in the constitution by way of the 1977 amendments. A small but important change which effectively prioritizes the Party over the State in selecting a new member to fill a Senate vacancy (ie. The relevant State can only select a new member who has been approved by any Party which the vacating member was associated with when they were elected.)

Political Parties are a form of political association, and since freedom of association is a basic right in a democracy, it is difficult to see how they could be eliminated without damaging the democratic process.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Apr 4th, 2007 at 11:23am
That last point is a good one.

The 1977 thing is a 'minor detail,' and was the only way to codify the selection of someone with a similar ideology.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by Shithouse Rat on Apr 7th, 2007 at 10:23pm
It probably is a "minor detail", but remember how the minor detail of the preamble became a major issue for some people. In the hands of fanatics any symbolic change, such as explicitly recognizing political parties, might take on some kind of wider significance.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by Shithouse Rat on Apr 7th, 2007 at 11:13pm
...and yes, I'll also confess to being a fanatic on that point :-[

Despite my belief that political parties have to be tolerated in a democracy. I think political fundraising should be closely regulated to ensure transparency, and I certainly do not think parties should have any special privileges, such as constitutional recognition.

I really dislike the 1977 amendments. I think things worked out OK in 1975 - in the end - ideological succession deserves no protection. This just entrenches the exact problem most folks are identifying in this thread - the overly partisan nature of the parliament. The less effective parties are at protecting and electing their members, the less the members will feel bound to their parties. Less partisanship, not more, would have produced a much better result in 1975.

Political parties in the US are much less partisan, with moderates frequently crossing the floor on important votes. I think this is a result of keeping the Executive branch more clearly distinct from the legislature. There is not so much at stake when a vote fails to carry. The government can't fall, etc. I agree with your earlier point, freediver, that our system is in a sense more accountable, precisely because the executive is more vulnerable in the parliament. The trade-off is a more rigidly partisan parliament, which nullifies that advantage, and effectively stifles meaningful debate in the house. Polarisation has been increasing in the US congress in recent years, a phenomenon which has been of great interest to both major parties there.

I like the US model better overall, and think we should adopt the US constitution, pretty much intact as far as is possible, when we become a republic. That way we can make full use of the precedents and experience the US has accumulated while still retaining the ability to fine tune it to our needs later, if necessary.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Apr 8th, 2007 at 4:18am
I agree with your earlier point, freediver, that our system is in a sense more accountable, precisely because the executive is more vulnerable in the parliament. The trade-off is a more rigidly partisan parliament, which nullifies that advantage, and effectively stifles meaningful debate in the house.

I was referring more the power of minor parties under our system. I suspect that the different levels of obediance to the parties in the US and Australia is a reation to the power of minor parties, which is a direct result of preferential voting. The American people are sick of being stuck with only two parties and so don't punish people who cross the floor because the parties mean far less. Australian parties are on much more tenuous ground, but the greater choice means that the people who vote for parties expect members to vote along party lines.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by Shithouse Rat on Apr 13th, 2007 at 9:42pm
I'm not sure that it is the voters who are so quick to punish floor-crossers in Australia, rather it is the party machines themselves. I think voters actually respect mavericks who are able to craft a reputation for independent thinking. Moderates in the US play on this as a strength. Even in Australia, politicians like Barnaby Joyce like to talk up the image, but are unable to walk the walk when it counts. Perhaps in Australia politicians are just too dependent on party support if they are to have a chance of getting elected. My impression is that in the US it is usually the parties which chase the candidates, whereas in Australia it is usually the candidates which chase the parties.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Apr 14th, 2007 at 2:01am
With so many more parties in Australia it is hard to come up with a coherent set of policies that doesn't match a party, and if you do you will soon find a party forming behind you. In the US you are either a member of the two major parties or you don't get elected, so party membership is far less an indication of ideology.

Title: Re: the need for political parties
Post by freediver on Aug 3rd, 2007 at 6:28pm
Political parties create an extra level of accountability that independents cannot achieve. There are a lot more people who will suffer if an individual MP goes a bit looney. Thus party endorsement typically involves a more detailed check of a person's ability than most members of the public could engage in for independent candidates. The party system creates a mechanism for removing people from positions of power (ie ministers) if it becomes necessary, without the need for another election, complex constitutional proceedures or blame shifting.

All of this comes at little real cost, because individual MP's will leave their party and form new coalitions, cross the floor or become more independent if the old party structure fails. As soon as the people genuinely want this, it will be in the interest of individual MP's to do so. This actually happens quite often in countries where the electoral system encourages corrupt, incompetent old boys clubs (ie the US). The strength of our political parties in Australia is not a result of an unfair advantage our system gives them, but a result of a system that allows the public to hold political parties accountable. Only the strong, effective parties survive and the Australian voting public can get rid of a party far more seamlessly than in the US if they fail to serve the public interest.

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