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Put Your Faith in Democracy? It’s Getting Harder – The Australian Quadrant – 05.03.23

by Peter Smith

Having coffee as usual with a number of friends on Friday morning. Don’t want to over-claim, but we all meet the average IQ of Australians, I think. None of us understood the details and implications of the superannuation changes announced by Jim Chalmers. I had made the mistake of reading a piece in The Australian earlier in the week by Jonathan Pincus; an expert on the matter. I admit to not making head nor tail of it. There it is, maybe my IQ is not nearly as high as I think it is. Maybe most voters are brighter than me and understand it? Nah.

It’s lucky in a way for the government. The broken promise of the superannuation changes – whatever they are — fleetingly took attention away from the Voice. Now there’s a matter about which voters are struggling, of that we can be sure. The aforementioned newspaper is doing a grand job of presenting the pros and cons through the eyes of assorted of commentators. However, few in the great scheme of things will be assiduously taking this in.

How many who vote in the Voice referendum will consider, for example, whether the form of words render the constitutional amendment justiciable. Personally, I had not come across the concept until Janet Albrechtsen introduced me to it, and might not have understood what it meant. Though, on reflection, it is onomatopoeic. And, as it turns out, is of some critical importance.

Will a woke High Court, and we can probably bank on it becoming more rather than less woke in coming years, be able to manipulate the amendment to increase the power of the Voice and, to wit, the power of inner-city (self-identifying) Aboriginal activists who will control it. Not a promising development. Neither, I suspect, for the vast majority of disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, nor for the rest of the population stuck with the bill.

Yet, as important as it is, don’t expect justiciability to weigh heavily in the minds of voters. Anthony Albanese is busy running a disinformation campaign that the Voice is a generous offer to us non-indigenes, which would be most discourteous of us to refuse. Indeed, we are told, it might cause untold distress among the indigenes. And who wants to bear responsibility for that? No one.

This is a far cleverer campaign than Albanese is given credit for. It has produced a hue and cry for more detail on the propose amendment. Asking for more detail about the amendment forms one key to its potential success. Peter Dutton fell for it hook, line and sinker. He asked fifteen questions, no less. You may have caught Chris Kenny (and others) answering these questions in newsprint. Of course, you could drive a truck through Kenny’s answers; as you can the questions. That’s the fault line.

Take question one: “Who will be eligible to serve on the body?” Let me answer in the lingua franca of the Aboriginal industry. First Nations people chosen by First Nations people. Silly question!

Question 4: “How will members be elected, chosen or appointed?” I’ll answer again. Regional councils and State-based voices will develop democratic processes to fill positions. These processes might well vary according to circumstances. Get nicked!

Question 8: “Is it purely advisory, or will it have decision-making capabilities?” Really, what a Dorothy Dixer. It’s purely advisory, stupid!

I could go on. Anyone with half a brain, as I’ve proved, can answer all fifteen questions without raising a sweat. The government will take the Fifth, as the Americans say, to avoid muddying the water or saying something immediately contradicted by Marcia Langton. Its job is done. If you ask questions which are adequately answered in the public square or upon which the government will entertain discussion, you have already accepted the principle of a race-based third chamber, albeit supposedly advisory, in the Constitution. You don’t ask someone to marry you and then back out when she says ‘yes’ (assuming the traditional order of things). That’s called breach of promise. It used to be a criminal offence. It still is morally questionable, at best.

Voters without the least idea of what’s at stake will be faced with a determined ‘yes’ campaign versus a compromised ‘no’ campaign. Dutton asked the questions. They’ve been answered. Tally-Ho!

Both superannuation and the Voice have temporarily put climate change on the back burner. This most definitely suits the government. Chris Bowen, hell-bent on destroying Australia’s energy system, is faced with the imminent demise of Snowy 2.0. We know that because he recently said it would be completed and wouldn’t be canned. With costs escalating up and up, a CEO let go, a contractor bankrupt, borers stuck in soft ground, environmentalists up in arms, trout under threat, workers served with hors d’oeuvre avec maggot; its future is, to say the least, unpromising.

You might recall the recent collapse of a mad scheme to send solar electricity and battery power undersea to Singapore. I covered it in the-pipeline. A joke from the start. Yet when the news of its particular demise came through, Bowen’s response was that it was just a corporate restructuring. What a wally, proving again that politicians have a limited range of skills of which running the country is not one.

Imagine insisting that 82 percent of Australia’s electricity will be generated by renewables by 2030 while, at the same time, closing coal down coal power and laying out a completely infeasible path of installing more wind turbines and solar panels than is remotely possible. Can’t be true? Only in a rational world can’t it be true.

Will any real information on the disastrous climate agendas of state and federal governments seep into the minds of most voters. A silly question. The planet is dying. We must do our bit to save it. That’s the level of sophistication which swings elections. I’m losing faith in democracy. It can handle some straightforward simple questions. The times and issues have become too complex. Sophists flourish.

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Put Your Faith in Democracy - It’s Getting Harder – by Peter Smith for The Australian Quad
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