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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

thinking about politics « Previous | |Next »
July 4, 2012

Geoff Gallop draws a distinction between pragmatic politicians with an eye to the future, and pragmatic politicians with an eye to the next headline. He adds that it is possible for the idea of reform to stay alive and produce results – even in our current system with all its emphasis on publicity, events and personalities.

RoweDSkyhooks.jpg David Rowe

What has been pushed into the background in contemporary political discourse is citizenship. We rarely here about this even though Liberalism once placed a great emphasis on the ideas of both rights and civic obligation.

Geoff Gallop, for instance, says that a good deal of his thinking in his book Politics, Society, Self: Occasional Writings has been on the subjects of democratic reform, co-operative federalism, multiculturalism, and public sector effectiveness. Nothing on citizenship even though he highlights the importance of well-being for public policy and the person.

Citizenship is a core of democracy and a central premise of any long-term progressive strategy is to renew the very system of democracy that empowers ordinary citizens, amplifies their voices, and makes all other changes possible. At the very least, renewing the systems of democracy will mark a fundamental shift away from the entrenched and well-funded interests which still dominate governance that contribute to the long-standing decay of Australia’s democratic institutions. This has worsened markedly in the past decade since 9/11.

The problem comes not only from the executive. Parliament has degraded alarmingly as a coequal and strong institution. Its internal deliberative processes have atrophied as the influence of lobbyists has increased.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:30 AM |