The role of democracy: Not to fold to the biggest minority, “just because”

Since coming into power, the Coalition have continually stated that other parties, especially the Greens and ALP, owe it to Australians to not stand in the way of their legislations. That, the people voted for the Coalition and so it is the responsibility of these parties to support core Coalition plans.

Hang on a second. The Coalition won with just shy of 46% of the primary votes. That means 54% voted for another party. So the Coalition really only speak for around half of the voting Australian public. It’s a large minority, but not an overwhelming majority.

I know the Senate will change in the middle of next year which will make life a lot simpler for the Coalition, but until then, other parties are where they are because they were voted there to do their role, based upon the principles they offered to their voters. Their obligation in these seats remains unchanged. They have a responsibility to stand up for the principles they entered with even if those are contrary to those of an incoming government.

Over the last several years we saw the Coalition stand against a wide range of changes – remember how Abbott wouldn’t agree on any asylum seeker strategy except for his favoured option of detention on Nauru… and how well has that worked out?

No, I hope the other parties continue to stand in the way of removing the carbon price for as long as possible, as do the 60,000 people who attended the nation-wide GetUp climate rallies last month (remember Abbott’s comments to the then government demanding a vote based on the few thousand protestors against the carbon price in March, 2011? It’s also note worthy that he told that crowd they would be $2000 worse off annually and now saying the average household will be $550 better off without the carbon price… “bear false witness” indeed…)

By standing in the way of removal of the carbon price for as long as possible, we have a bigger dataset, both in the cost of average bills and national carbon emissions which we can then hold up against the alternative this government wishes to implement. The larger the dataset, the most convincing the results, whether or not there turn out to be any real surprises.


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