Forum

 
  Back to OzPolitic.com   Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register
  Forum Home Album HelpSearch Recent Rules LoginRegister  
 

Pages: 1 2 
Send Topic Print
Direct democracy in Australia (Read 12421 times)
AUShole
Full Member
***
Offline


OzPolitic

Posts: 159
WA
Gender: male
Direct democracy in Australia
Apr 1st, 2007 at 3:44pm
 
Direct democracy is a system where decisions that are reserved for parliament are handed to the people (same concept as a referendum).

Should Australia prepare for a move away from the present two party Westminster-based system, and toward a direct democracy?

Votes would be cast via the internet. There are security issues, but these are not insurmountable, and will probably be solved with technological advancement in the next decade. Estonia recently held elections with votes cast via the internet, so it should be possible in Australia.

There would still be a system of government, in the sense that Ministers would be appointed by the people, and then manage their portfolios in accordance with agreed outcomes.

My position is no... what do you think?
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
Shithouse Rat
Junior Member
**
Offline


The truth hurts...

Posts: 62
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #1 - Apr 1st, 2007 at 11:49pm
 
Realistically, I don't think Direct Democracy is practical and it is too unpredictable for important national decisions.

I think it is quite likely that there will be an increase in "polling" as a way of determining the public mood on policy matters. This will be used as a guideline for decision making.

I'm very skeptical of electronic voting methods.
Back to top
 

...aaand loving it!!!
 
IP Logged
 
freediver
Gold Member
*****
Online


www.ozpolitic.com

Posts: 42771
At my desk.
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #2 - Apr 5th, 2007 at 7:56am
 
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



I think that voting by delegable proxy would effectively achieve the same thing without the hassle. We had a discussion about it a while back but I can't seem to find it.

The idea is that MP's do not get equal votes, but rather the weight of their vote is directly proportional to the number of citizens who have delgated their proxy vote to them. Effectively you get a referendum on every single issue, except that you delegate someone to vote for you. To make it more similar to direct democracy, you allow people to change their vote at any time via electronic voting. You could create a dual system with two roles which lets people choose between voting on paper at an election of vote electronically (or at a council office or something like that).
Back to top
« Last Edit: Apr 22nd, 2007 at 4:34pm by freediver »  

All Fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once. (Terry Pratchett)
WWW  
IP Logged
 
Shithouse Rat
Junior Member
**
Offline


The truth hurts...

Posts: 62
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #3 - Apr 6th, 2007 at 2:37am
 
Interesting concept.

I haven't seen the previous discussion, so the following is probably ill-informed, but I'm still not sure it's practical. If you allow voters to change their delegation "at any time" you still have an administrative nightmare, and it will also upset the whole notion of representation if the proposal is to continue debating policy publicly in a parliament. It would become possible for the balance of power in the parliament to shift behind the scenes. The "majority" in numbers in the parliament could become the "minority" in votes, and you could potentially have members who have no votes at all! Why are they even there - or perhaps more to the point why are there not more of them there if this kind of redundancy is OK? Popular members could wield unusual power by harvesting votes from less popular colleagues, in fact there would be a whole new dynamic produced by members/delegates continually canvassing the votes of the public in order to increase their personal influence in the final vote. The complex chains of proxies and proxies of proxies, would soon leave many people with no idea where their votes are actually going. And all this would be changing minute by minute, and day by day. Admittedly there would probably be a significant number of people who would "set and forget", and plenty of others who would only change their arrangements occasionally, but the system would need to be designed to cater for a fully fluid situation because you could never determine in advance when a particular voter would decide to switch their delegate.

It would be possible to design a system with much less instability (ie. less responsive), but I think this would quickly begin to look very similar to a parliament elected by proportional representation, and informed but not bound by polling.
Back to top
 

...aaand loving it!!!
 
IP Logged
 
Sprintcyclist
Gold Member
*****
Online


OzPolitic

Posts: 38424
Gender: male
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #4 - Apr 6th, 2007 at 7:53am
 
It would be nice to have a direct referendum for their pay rises and "generous" allowances. Smiley

Then again, pay peanuts and get monkeys. Then again, the ones we have now behave like chimpanzees !!

Would the public get swayed by short term emotional sides on current issues ?
We have to assume, pepole who make political decisions often make better political decisions than "amateurs".

Given the westminister system of govts faults, it is still a pretty good system.

That idea of having all independants and unanamous votes on all decisions woud probably not work , in the real world.
Back to top
 

Modern Classic Right Wing
 
IP Logged
 
freediver
Gold Member
*****
Online


www.ozpolitic.com

Posts: 42771
At my desk.
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #5 - Apr 7th, 2007 at 9:27am
 
If you allow voters to change their delegation "at any time" you still have an administrative nightmare

Not if it's done electronically. Most of the population would be likely to stick with one candidate for many years.

It would become possible for the balance of power in the parliament to shift behind the scenes.

In other words, it would be the people calling the shots, not the parties. A shift in the balance of power would cause far less disturbance because coalitions would probably only consist of a few people. You would probably get a few parliamentarians with 20% of the power each.

and you could potentially have members who have no votes at all!

Assuming you keep the same number of members, there would be many with very few votes, but not any with no votes at all.

Why are they even there - or perhaps more to the point why are there not more of them there if this kind of redundancy is OK?

I guess it would be reasonable to reduce the number of representatives. Then again, if they aren't costing much why not keep them. The system I proposed had their salary proportional to their vote.

The complex chains of proxies and proxies of proxies, would soon leave many people with no idea where their votes are actually going.

I think it would be a good idea to limit such chains to a length of two. That is, you can delegate your vote to one non-sitting agent, who must then delegate to a sitting member. Non-sitting agents could then enter parliament if they obtained more votes than the lowest sitting member.

This would change the dynamic - I think for the better.
Back to top
 

All Fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once. (Terry Pratchett)
WWW  
IP Logged
 
AUShole
Full Member
***
Offline


OzPolitic

Posts: 159
WA
Gender: male
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #6 - Apr 7th, 2007 at 6:40pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 5th, 2007 at 7:56am:
The idea is that MP's do not get equal votes, but rather the weight of their vote is directly proportional to the number of citizens who have delgated their proxy vote to them. Effectively you get a referendum on every single issue, except that you delegate someone to vote for you.


In a practical sense, does this really differ from non partisan government? Members are elected based on the number of votes of their constituency. Members then vote in accordance with their constituency's views. In aggregate, the final result is proportional to the wishes of the electorate.

This assumes that the appointed proxy can vote as they wish. Or does the proxy direct the appointee to vote in a certain way?
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
AUShole
Full Member
***
Offline


OzPolitic

Posts: 159
WA
Gender: male
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #7 - Apr 7th, 2007 at 7:00pm
 
Shithouse Rat wrote on Apr 1st, 2007 at 11:49pm:
Realistically, I don't think Direct Democracy is practical and it is too unpredictable for important national decisions.


The main reason I dont like direct democracy is because it does not allow for social conscience. Minority issues become marginalised. So it would very quickly become a totalitarian form of government.

Quote:
I'm very skeptical of electronic voting methods.


There is no reason why a system of electronic voting could not be introduced immediately. The main  issue is to ensure that hackers do not hijack the overall system. To address this, each electorate would be set up independently (i.e. no direct links to any other voting server). Security checks would be performed at this lower level. The final results for each electorate would be sent via a secure method, and aggregated at a central point.
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
Shithouse Rat
Junior Member
**
Offline


The truth hurts...

Posts: 62
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #8 - Apr 8th, 2007 at 3:20am
 
Coming soon....

**The Parliament Show**
on Foxtel


The "Big Four" (with their ~20% vote quotas each) are the hosts - the live studio audience are a bunch of folks making up the remaining 20% of the "cut" (a fixed number of seats in the studio).

The public at home (with their Foxtel-Interactive handsets) listen to the on-air discussion, frantically trying to figure out which of the folks on the TV might actually deliver their vote where they want it to go. The deadline for the vote draws near.

... outside the studio door are a second tier of shady "agents", wielding mobile phones, and collecting votes via blog adverts and talk-back radio, in the purported hope of getting a seat in the studio audience, but meanwhile passing "their" votes along in blocs behind the scenes, potentially changing the balance of power after the on-air negotiations and agreements have been made, but before the final votes are cast.

...the votes are cast, and BINGO! - as the numbers appear on the screen, the studio audience gasps - the new Anti-terrorism Bill is defeated!

...but wait, news just in...a BOMB has just exploded at the HQ of the Australian occupation force in West Papua, killing three conscripts...

...a new vote is called for...one of the "Big Four" (who once played Madge on Neigbours) is suddenly demoted and asked to swap seats with a red-faced member of the studio audience (a pig shooter), while other studio members are escorted out and new ones enter the studio to take their seats.

A new quickly revised Anti-Terrorism Bill is presented (now including the death penalty) ... and a vote is called... this time, as the result flashes onto the screen, the audience cheers. The Bill is passed!

Nevertheless, despite the dramatic events of the day, the live Cricket from New Zealand still beats The Parliament Show in the ratings. Foxtel executives scratch their chins and ask themselves the age-old questions - "Why is the Australian voting public so apathetic?", "How can we encourage greater participation?", and "Dammit, how can we raise our advertising revenue?".



That's the dynamic I see emerging under the proposed system. You wouldn't need a large number of active "fiddlers" to create a volatile effect.

I just do not think a "change your vote at any time" system is practical. Not because it is not technically possible to count the votes, but because it makes a nonsense of any kind of representation which is intended to exist. Representation creates the separation which filters out emotion and passion and enables considered decision making. It also encourages professionalism in politics which is desirable when important policy decisions are being negotiated. Professional representation also reduces the likelihood of mob tyranny.

The practicality of the TV Parliament system could be vastly improved if Foxtel sent out a list of Bills pending for the coming month (along with their program guide), and people were only able to change their vote once a week (say). This however would essentially destroy the true "proxy" nature of the system.
Back to top
« Last Edit: Apr 8th, 2007 at 4:24am by Shithouse Rat »  

...aaand loving it!!!
 
IP Logged
 
Shithouse Rat
Junior Member
**
Offline


The truth hurts...

Posts: 62
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #9 - Apr 8th, 2007 at 3:21am
 
AUShole, a booth-based electronic voting system would be very expensive to implement, mainly because the equipment and software would inevitably be upgraded for every election. Instead of kind community minded folks handing out voting forms, there would be creepy geeks checking security - no thanks. And the other thing about electronic security, is that if somebody has the necessary keys there is no security at all - and no way of knowing that the security has been compromised. It's not necessary to hijack the whole system, just tweak a few critical things here and there - enough to deliver a plausible 50%+something when it counts. The result in the US Presidential Election in 2004 could have been altered by changing only a very few outcomes in a tiny number of critical places. Online voting would be much less expensive to maintain, but less secure. Security is probably less of an issue in the Direct Voting systems we've been discussing in this thread, because the fluidity of the voting would make it more difficult to rigg.

I think we will probably be voting electronically sometime soon, but I don't think it's a good idea.



The system I proposed had their salary proportional to their vote.

freediver, the mighty dollar as a motivator again! For a Christian you certainly place a lot of faith in materialism. I'd have thought less energy spent trying to determine the value of a pushpin would mean less energy expended trying to push a camel through the eye of a needle!   Smiley
Back to top
 

...aaand loving it!!!
 
IP Logged
 
freediver
Gold Member
*****
Online


www.ozpolitic.com

Posts: 42771
At my desk.
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #10 - Apr 8th, 2007 at 4:59am
 
In a practical sense, does this really differ from non partisan government? Members are elected based on the number of votes of their constituency. Members then vote in accordance with their constituency's views. In aggregate, the final result is proportional to the wishes of the electorate.

Yes, there is a huge difference. For starters, under a system with multiple single member electorates, you can easily get a group coming to power with the support of less than half the population. For example, you could theoretically gain a house majority with just over half the votes from just over half the electorates - ie one quarter of the votes. Furthermore, only having single member electorates significanlty reduces the range of views that can be represented in parliament.

Proportional representation would be sort of half way between our current system and the delegable proxy system I described.

This assumes that the appointed proxy can vote as they wish. Or does the proxy direct the appointee to vote in a certain way?

The appointee can vote as they wish, as they are representing many people. Hope I understood this question properly.

The main reason I dont like direct democracy is because it does not allow for social conscience. Minority issues become marginalised. So it would very quickly become a totalitarian form of government.

How so? As far as I can tell, this only occurs to the extent that democracy does not allow for social conscience.

The public at home (with their Foxtel-Interactive handsets) listen to the on-air discussion, frantically trying to figure out which of the folks on the TV might actually deliver their vote where they want it to go.

Political parties currently make their views known well ahead of important votes. This would be even more true under a delegable proxy system. You would not vote for someone who is unpredictable. Parties currently have to try for broad support, which leads to ambiguity in their positions. Under a delegable proxy system people would votes for candidates with very speicific positions that match their views, rather than broad sweeping generalisations.

Not because it is not technically possible to count the votes, but because it makes a nonsense of any kind of representation which is intended to exist.

Intended by whom?

Representation creates the separation which filters out emotion and passion and enables considered decision making.

No it doesn't. It disconnects people from the voting system in parliament and leads them to vote based on emotional response and rules of thumb come election time.

It also encourages professionalism in politics which is desirable when important policy decisions are being negotiated. Professional representation also reduces the likelihood of mob tyranny.

A delegable proxy system would not encourage professionalism to any lesser extent.

For a Christian you certainly place a lot of faith in materialism.

What makes you think I am a Christian?
Back to top
 

All Fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once. (Terry Pratchett)
WWW  
IP Logged
 
AUShole
Full Member
***
Offline


OzPolitic

Posts: 159
WA
Gender: male
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #11 - Apr 8th, 2007 at 11:02am
 
Quote:
Yes, there is a huge difference. For starters, under a system with multiple single member electorates, you can easily get a group coming to power with the support of less than half the population. For example, you could theoretically gain a house majority with just over half the votes from just over half the electorates - ie one quarter of the votes. Furthermore, only having single member electorates significanlty reduces the range of views that can be represented in parliament.


That pretty much describes the present election method in Australia.

My question was what the real difference was between non partisan parliament (i.e. of independents) who are elected by proportional voting. That means each member must be elected by the majority.

Quote:
How so? As far as I can tell, this only occurs to the extent that democracy does not allow for social conscience.


I would have thought that minorities are only supported where a group of members (i.e. in a party) have a policy to do so. With direct voting, would the current electorate allow immigration from an Islamic country? Support the arts? Increase funding to aboriginal causes? I wouldn't think so.

Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
AUShole
Full Member
***
Offline


OzPolitic

Posts: 159
WA
Gender: male
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #12 - Apr 8th, 2007 at 11:11am
 
Shithouse Rat wrote on Apr 8th, 2007 at 3:21am:
AUShole, a booth-based electronic voting system would be very expensive to implement, mainly because the equipment and software would inevitably be upgraded for every election. Instead of kind community minded folks handing out voting forms, there would be creepy geeks checking security - no thanks. And the other thing about electronic security, is that if somebody has the necessary keys there is no security at all - and no way of knowing that the security has been compromised. It's not necessary to hijack the whole system, just tweak a few critical things here and there - enough to deliver a plausible 50%+something when it counts. The result in the US Presidential Election in 2004 could have been altered by changing only a very few outcomes in a tiny number of critical places. Online voting would be much less expensive to maintain, but less secure. Security is probably less of an issue in the Direct Voting systems we've been discussing in this thread, because the fluidity of the voting would make it more difficult to rigg.

I think we will probably be voting electronically sometime soon, but I don't think it's a good idea.



India has used mechanical voting for a number of years now, with very few problems.

I dont think the booths would be that expensive, it would just be a large metal box with some buttons on it, almost future proof (consider that many ATMs are well over 20 years old). Software costs nothing to replace. Besides, the longer term proposition would be using the internet.

Security? Like there is any of that in the system Australia currently employs. You just get asked your name and address. No ID required, unless you are absentee voting (in a different electorate).
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
freediver
Gold Member
*****
Online


www.ozpolitic.com

Posts: 42771
At my desk.
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #13 - Apr 9th, 2007 at 12:31am
 
My question was what the real difference was between non partisan parliament (i.e. of independents) who are elected by proportional voting. That means each member must be elected by the majority.

I'm still not sure what you are getting at. For starters, proportioanl representation does not avoid parties. Under the systems currently used for PR elections it almost necessitates political parties. Furthermore it does not require each to be elected by a majority. For example, under our senate system there are six senators elected for a state each round so you only need one seventh of the vote after preference distribution to get elected.

I guess you could abolish parties and make each candidate stand alone. Supposing you did have true independents, it would make the results unpredictable for the general public. This may not be so bad for the senate as it is more a house of review. However, you would probably want to reduce senate terms.

I would have thought that minorities are only supported where a group of members (i.e. in a party) have a policy to do so. With direct voting, would the current electorate allow immigration from an Islamic country? Support the arts? Increase funding to aboriginal causes? I wouldn't think so.

Both systems are ultimately subject to the will of the people. There is no reason to think that a specific outcome is more likely under one system or the other. The only thing you can be certain is that direct democracy would make the outcome reflect the will of the people far more accurately.

Many people tend to think that separating the general public from the decision making process is a good thing. This is wrong as it relies on the assumption of some kind of 'benign dictatorship,' ie that the more freedom you give a politician to circumvent the will of the people the better the outcome. What you really end up with is corruption and power mongering. Maybe once in a lifetime you get a politician who is so popular, altruistic and insightful that he can risk going against the will of the people in a way that benefits society, but most of the time you just get politicians trying to cling to power. The less they are beholden to the will of the people, the more able they are to take shortcuts to try to achieve this.
Back to top
 

All Fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once. (Terry Pratchett)
WWW  
IP Logged
 
AUShole
Full Member
***
Offline


OzPolitic

Posts: 159
WA
Gender: male
Re: Direct democracy in Australia
Reply #14 - Apr 9th, 2007 at 2:17pm
 
freediver wrote on Apr 9th, 2007 at 12:31am:
I guess you could abolish parties and make each candidate stand alone. Supposing you did have true independents, it would make the results unpredictable for the general public. This may not be so bad for the senate as it is more a house of review. However, you would probably want to reduce senate terms.


That is what I meant by non partisan government. I agree with the problems you have highlighted, and such a system would only be effective in the senate. It is the reason why I think that political parties are the most effective form of government at this point in time.

Quote:
The only thing you can be certain is that direct democracy would make the outcome reflect the will of the people far more accurately.


Agree.

Quote:
Many people tend to think that separating the general public from the decision making process is a good thing.


I agree with the separation. Only because the public may not be fully informed to make a decision.

Quote:
This is wrong as it relies on the assumption of some kind of 'benign dictatorship,' ie that the more freedom you give a politician to circumvent the will of the people the better the outcome.


No, you end up with politicians who serve a term in office. They act in accordance with the principles they were elected upon. If they fail, you elect someone else.
Back to top
 
 
IP Logged
 
Pages: 1 2 
Send Topic Print