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    THE DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY: LEVELLING THE DISCUSSION FIELD (2) POLITICAL PARTIES

                     

          canberra                           

     

     The Federal Parliament in Australia meets in Canberra.

     

     

     

     

    There are three main parties represented in the Australian House of Representatives — the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party of Australia, and the Nationals.

     

    Some minor parties are also represented. The party with the largest number of "seats" after elections usually forms the government, sometimes with the "assistance" of a few minor parties who agree to vote with the party seeking power, usually in return for future favours.

    There are around 40 political parties registered in Australia, representing many different views and opinions among their members.

    The Labor Party is Australia’s oldest political party, established federally in 1901.    

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    The present  Australian Liberal Party was formed in 1944.logo libs

     

     

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    The Country Party was formed in 1920, renamed the National Country Party in 1975, the National Party of Australia in 1982, and since 2003 has been known as the Nationals.

     

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    Historically, people with similar interests, usually connected with wealth, power-seeking and privilege, gathered together to pursue their objectives, and formed governments with these objectives in mind.

    ROMAN SENATE

    The first recognisable parties emerged in Greek and Roman times, as governments became more sophisticated and factions with divergent interests struggled and sometimes literally "fought" for supremacy.  One thinks here of the Whigs and Tories in the UK; the Republicans and Democrats of the U.S.A. ; the Communist Parties of Russia and China, and so on. Hitler's National Socialist German Worker's Party..(NAZI Party) was a political party.

    Parties are often determined as "Right leaning" or Left leaning" as are the "wings" within the party. This refers to the views and opinions of their individual members about capital, labour, socialism and other aspects of government.

     

     

    Occasionaly, there seems to be some confusion about "The rights" of individual citizens, when thinking about the Magna Carta.

     THE KING JOHN 1

    The Magna Carta, or "Great Charter" was drawn up by wealthy influential and powerful nobles in England, and presented to the King (John), as a demand for "rights". These "rights" outlined in the charter, are mainly concerned with those of a "Free Man".

    For example:

    “..........to all the free men of our kingdom, for us and our heirs in perpetuity  "certain" written liberties, to be had and held by them and their heirs by us and our heirs.”   

    It should be noted, that in those days, a “free man” was a nobleman!

    One of those liberties is the one that had been demanded by the barons in Article 29 of the  Great  Charter:

    “No free man is to be arrested, or imprisoned . . . save by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”  

    In other words, the nobles of England were protecting their own rights....nothing to do with the ordinary individual. 

    The name of a political party usually has reference to the objectives of the group; for example, in Australia, "The Shooters and Fishers Party" and "Australia First Party".

    A party usually produces a "Manifesto" or Official Policy Document, which sets out the aims and ambitions of the party if elected to Government, and seeks to attract members who will financially support it, and attend parliament if  chosen by the party as potential candidates, and if subsequently elected to do so.

    On achieving this, the individual becomes a "Politician", and a Member of Parliament,  (M.P.).

    Parties are registered bodies, and in a modern parliamentary situation are bound by rules of conduct. They usually have a leader, and a person who is responsible to the registration body for behaviour of the party.  A party secretary is a senior official within a political party with responsibility for the organisational and daily political work. In most parties, the party secretary is second in rank to the party leader (or party chairman).

    Financial support is also sought from interests whose aims align with the party, and who therefore hope to gain by offering funding to the party, if it achieves government.

    LOBBYING:

    This system seeking undue influence in governmental affairs, has become very sophisticated, and is called "Lobbying".

    The term derives from the room or lobby outside the public debating room, in which secret or clandestine meetings could take place between members of parliament and those wishing to persuade them of some course of action. 

    Today, there are people and companies whose sole occupation it is to lobby governmental departments on behalf of people or organisations who seek to gain from legislative action. 

    Often being ex-Members of Parliament, lobbyists are advocates, which means that they represent a particular point of view or interest in an issue. ... Ethically speaking, lobbying ought to ensure that someone represents the common good.    Lawmakers should have an obligation to solicit the views of those who are not represented by powerful lobbying groups.

    A whip is an official of a political party whose task is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. ... They ensure that their fellow legislators attend voting sessions and vote according to official policy.

    A problem we shall in due course, discuss, no doubt, is the fact that for many people, there are individual strands of belief and ethics which leach across several party beliefs, and which contradict each other, so that a member of a ruling party may find themselves voting for an item with which they disagree.

    In a representative democracy, the members of parliament are supposed to be acting on behalf of their electorate.

    Let's look at the electorate of Cook in NSWDivision of COOK 2016

     

    In 2019 there were registered  ‎107,052 electors, that is people entitled to vote at elections.

    The division of Cook covers an area in NSW to the South of Sydney,  from Kurnell and Cronulla in the east to Sylvania and Gymea Bay in the west and from Kyle Bay, Monterey and Botany Bay in the north to Dents Creek and Hacking River in the south.

    Suburbs include Monterey, Beverley Park, Blakehurst, Burraneer, Caringbah, Carss Park, Cronulla, Greenhills Beach, Gymea, Gymea Bay, Kyle Bay, Kurnell, Lilli Pilli, Miranda, Sandringham, Sans Souci, Sylvania, Sylvania Waters, Taren Point and Yowie Bay.

    The present Federal "Representative" is the Honourable Mr Scott Morrison M.P. who also happens to be leader of the Liberal Party, and Prime Minister of Australia. 

    Of  those 100 thousand voters, in 2016, about 60 thousand voted for Mr Morrison, and around 32 thousand voted for other candidates, so they, presumably, did not want Mr Morrison to represent them.

    But theoretically, Mr Morrison now represents them in Parliament. Therefore, it could be conjectured that the opinions, views and desires of those voters who did not want Mr Morrison, are unrepresented. 

    The subject for discussion here will undoubtedly be..."What exactly IS "representation"? How do we define it?

    Mr Morrison's own views, and opinions are the ones which presumably shape the work of the dominant power (party) in the Parliament, and the views of those who can reach his ears by lobbying. Whereas it could be said that the opinions of the electorate,including those who voted for Mr Morrison, remain unknown to him,and not acted upon.

    It is upon this factor, that whole of Direct Democracy rests. We shall discuss all this in due course.

     

    In Australia, parties are registered and controlled by the Australian Electoral Commission. flag aec logo

     

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    THE DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY -- LEVELLING THE DISCUSS...
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