1 September 2010
Australia's two leading political parties—Labour and the Coalition—recently found themselves in an awkward position. Not since the early days of World War 2—1940—has the Australian electorate told their political masters 'We don't like the way you do business! You politicians, political bosses and the whole political establishment are more concerned with you own ways than our lives.'
So rather than allow you to continue doing 'business as usual', we refuse to give either of the big parties a majority at all. Go back to parliament's independent members and small party groups, e.g. Green Party , work out a new way of doing politics and then come back to us, the Australian public. Start doing things differently to make our lives better.
And this serious change in politics is happening all over the globe. Earlier this year, British voters told the same story to their own political bosses. 'We won't give any major party—Labour, Conservative or Liberals—a majority to rule. Go back to the drawing board, work out a more sensible way of governing and then get on with the job.'
In three major countries—Australia, UK and last year in USA—the small people of this world have sent an unmistakable message to their political bosses: 'Shape up or ship out!' The old adversarial and confrontational ways of the past three decades has gotten the people of the nation nowhere!'
Isn't that the very message Solomon Islands voters recently sent to its political class in last month's poll? Half the members of the 8th house were dumped and many newly elected members only got through by the skin of their teeth. Six new members, for instance, could only manage to attract less than 25% of the vote in their constituency. In other words, more than 3 out of every 4 voters—75% of the citizens--chose other candidates than the one who actually won the seat.
To compound events the sudden death of a government backer has already triggered off the latest version of the numbers game. The first order of business is not how to make the country stronger, better or more productive. No,, Solomons citizens will be forced to watch the spectacle of politicians chasing after votes, wooing weak members from the opposite camp with more and more handouts and political parties promising the moon.
Where in all this circus comes the well being of the nation? How does all this 'wheeling and dealing' decrease by a single cent the profound poverty of our people? Our impressionable youth must be shaking their heads in disbelief: 'They say to themselves; These are our national leaders who can't seem to come up with a more inclusive, more transparent, more helpful way of governing?'
Australia currently wrestles with its own set of problems in a 'hung parliament'! UK has had to stitch together a coalition government which is weathering the storm. What should we be doing ourselves? We don't have a 'hung parliament' just the closest thing, a one seat majority which makes the whole enterprise terribly weak. A sudden defection to the other camp, another unexpected death and the numbers game once again comes into play.
Government has within its power to begin a dialogue with the other camp to effect a coalition government, with a iron clan guarantee of no 'no confidence motions' for the next 24 months. During that 2 year period major legislation—youth employment, kick starting village level economic initiatives, adult education to help land owners come to grip with the land issue, women closely engaged in parliamentary business, etc.-- would be tackled head on to reduce our people's worsening poverty levels.
Squabbling politicians, ineffectual leaders and clueless parliamentarians only produces a fractured people, a degraded economy and a dispirited youth population. If much larger countries with long histories of governance are now forced by their own people to become more and more attentive to people's needs, what about our island nation? Don't our own people deserve to get leaders who actually pay attention to people's needs first and foremost!