Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


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.

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  1. Mike Bolan

    August 14, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    As Simon points out, we have no way of enforcing the citizens’ side of this, but governments can jail us for visiting the ‘wrong’ countries.

    When one party to a contract defaults, isn’t the contract void?

  2. Stephan

    August 10, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Well summarised.

    It’s not a “social” contract. It’s an inferred community contract. The pity is there’s a HUGE disconnect built by disenchantment and apathy that has made it pretty much void.

    It’s gotten to the point where the only way out is to be buried or to explode.

    Slaves to the corporate or revolutionaries for a cause. Which do you prefer? Roll-up, roll-up, there’s something for everyone.

  3. Simon Warriner

    August 9, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    I like your thinking, Mike.

    A major problem with this contract is that the individuals who arbitrate disputes are selected by only one party to the dispute. Nowhere else would that be fair.

    Another major problem is the being a party to the contract is for the citizen (or more properly, subject) most often a matter they have no choice in. Blow in’s like me had a choice, I could have stayed in NZ and doubtless there a few who wish I had.

    Yet another problem is that the criteria for satisfactory performance by politicians and public servants are at best vague, and often non existent.

    There is one simple way to improve this situation though. Remove the political parties from the process by voting independent. Independent politicians have a far greater imperative to do their job, in that they have nowhere to hide and nobody to tell fibs about what great individuals they are when they do a bronwyn and get caught with their snouts in the trough.

  4. Chris

    August 9, 2015 at 8:28 pm



    Like the bloke who wants a free holiday perhaps we could all email all our electorate members and they will provide it.
    Donations please.

  5. Stan

    August 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Yes Mike,we’ve been flipped the bird !


    They wander around in their own part of the paddock, and have a raucous squawk if another faction of them wanders too close, nothing
    too combative but a decent old squawk just the same.

    Swamp Hawks:

    If they appear on the horizon, alerting and alarming raucous squawks are heard, and as one, the unfriendly factions of plovers take wing and
    attack the Swamp Hawks with communal vigour.

    Threat gets too close, they go to ground and feign a broken wing and try
    to mislead the Swamp Hawks in an alternative direction to save their
    collective progeny and turf entitlements.

    The threat, once driven off, all goes back to to the status quo.

    Replace the word Plovers, with Politicians

    Replace the word Swamp Hawks, with Public and Media and re-read.

  6. John Biggs

    August 9, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    An excellent summary Mike. Politicians and rogue corporations (who are not party to the contract but have bought out one side of it) have broken the old contract. We certainly do need to start again. The first step must be for the people en bloc to demand it.

  7. Dr Buck Emberg

    August 9, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Once more Mike…correct! Buck

  8. Karl Stevens

    August 9, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I believe there are 3 fundamentally broken systems in Australia. The Tax Act, the Constitution and the Monarchy.
    Most politicians and many Australians appear to be exploiting this broken system for their own ends.
    All that is really happening now is that industrial-strength nationalistic brainwashing is colliding head-on with the horrible reality that idiots elect idiots in a perverse system designed by idiots.
    Unfortunately, we are now opposing an even more brainwashed idiology that wants to ‘initiate the apocalypse’.
    This is all very cheerful stuff and thoughtfully we have left our civilisation in the hands of chemically-altered food allergy sufferers with weird mental conditions that think reality is an iphone screen.

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