Image for Is this our social contract?

As far as I can see, our supposed ‘social contract’ in Australia, between the citizens and ‘their’ government operates as follows:.

The citizens agree to:

pay our politicians (and public servants) whatever amounts they allocate to themselves;

pay for all benefits to government workers, including lifetime superannuation;

pay for all expenses incurred in doing whatever the governments decide to do;

pay for all projects decided by the governments

pay for corrections to projects managed by governments

pay for any community or other problems created by governments

abide by all laws and regulations no matter how onerous or how badly communicated

pay any penalties levied on us, or serve time in prison, as deemed by governments

pay whatever amounts of money (e.g. taxes, charges, duties, fines) demanded by governments (usually over $1 million during lifetime)
serve on juries as decided by government officers

risk our lives in other services and countries (e.g. military) as required by governments

Politicians agree to:

put the interests of the party that they belong to as their highest priority

support party policy above all other

get elected (N.B. promises made to get elected aren’t enforceable)

make a reasonable show of representing the people (e.g. statements and interviews) where possible

defend the ‘system’ of governance

support the party elected ‘leader’

be ready to show that they are working within the ‘rules’

Readers might like to add to either of these lists.

My take on this is that the so-called ‘social contract’ is so stacked in favour of politicians (and hence governments) and the ‘benefits’ to the people are so patchy and unreliable (even community hostile), that the contract should be void. An agreement like that between others (e.g. employees and business) would be laughed out of existence. One might expect some balance between what is expected of citizens, and what is expected of those privileged citizens who are politicians or public servants.

We probably need to start again with an agreement between the people and their politicians that is reached by the people, rather than by no-longer representative political parties.

Mike Bolan is a free thinker and sceptic.