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


A new piece of Social Infrastructure …

*Satire: Far-Right Failed PM Tony Abbott … satire by DonkeyHotey, flickr

First published March 8

Further to a couple of articles on the dangers posed to democratic government by conflicted party interests, and numerous comments on this site around the same issue I thought it timely to flesh out what a solution might look like, so here goes.

There is a vacant space in the political arena for an organisation that makes the case for independent political actors, and does so by taking actions that include defining “independent”, highlighting the flaws in the party political approach to “representation” and governing, and supporting aspiring independent political representatives by providing them with the knowledge and tools needed to get elected and perform their role competently and efficiently, and then publicly critiquing their performance against objective criteria.

The party type politicians are organised and ruthless, and winning against them will take a similar level of organisation and ruthlessness, but with a more ethical underpinning. What follows is an outline of what such a piece of social infrastructure might look like:

The objectives of the organisation need to be as follows:

1. To bring to the electorates awareness the flaws in the party political model of representation.

2. To promote independent political representatives as an antidote to those flaws.

3. To define and list the criteria that constitute an independent political representative.

4. To educate and support genuine independent political representatives in the process of getting elected and in the process of representing and governing by the provision of resources and the aggregation of expertise for sharing with all aspiring independent representatives.

5. To monitor and critique the performance of independent political representatives against the criteria that define “independence”.

In a little more detail,

1. To bring to the voters awareness the flaws in the party political model of representation.

The flaws in party politics need more public discussion and analysis. They underpin much of the dysfunction in public administration that makes our lives needlessly complex, expensive and frustrating. Simply repeating the mistakes of the past and worse, allowing those mistakes to pass unexamined, is a recipe for a declining standard of leadership. If there is an improving standard of leadership emerging from party politics, would someone please identify where, when and how? The loss of two filing cabinets of classified cabinet documents by open public sale suggests that the last five Prime Ministers (at least) have not left any positive residue in the Dept of PM and Cabinet. Well led, positively motivated people do not make mistakes like that one.

Most importantly though, party politics is the road block preventing sorely needed solutions from being implemented. Over and over I hear people say “what needs to happen is ………………….” And endlessly I fail to hear them address how their often very reasonable solution to a serious problem is going to get implemented by a party dominated parliament that either created the problem in the first place, benefits from its presence or is being funded by entities that profit from the problems existence. We need a parliament composed of individuals prepared to deal with facts on their merits and contributions to the greater common good, and not basing their actions on the wants of their donors, ideological biases. Or personal greed and ambition.

2. To define and list the criteria that constitute an independent political representative. That list would seem to include as a minimum the following:

a) A sworn commitment to become and remain aware of the issues of importance to, and relevant to all within the constituency being represented.

b) A sworn commitment to honestly understand, represent and convey the fullest possible the will of the constituency relevant to those issues in the representatives deliberative and legislative activities and to seek out and understand the full range of views held in their electorate, and the support for those views.

c) A sworn commitment to work cooperatively and honestly with their fellow representatives to develop policy and legislation giving effect to policy that serves the interests of the representative’s constituency, and the widest possible common good of the jurisdiction into which the representative has been elected.

d) A sworn commitment to never place any other allegiance ahead of the allegiance to the constituency being represented and the service of its greatest common good.

e) The ability to deliver on those sworn commitments.

3 To promote the principle of independent political representation as an antidote to the flaws inherent in political parties and their domination of our political process.
$millions have been spent making the party model the default means of forming a government in the collective mind of the electorate. It will need a bit of organised activity to bring that to a long overdue end. Extolling the virtues of the individual candidate is their own team’s responsibility. What is being proposed here is not a party comprised of “independents”. To become that would be to adopt and accept those flaws embedded in the party system.

4 To educate and support aspiring independent political representatives in the process of getting elected and if successful, in the process of representing and governing by the provision of resources and the aggregation of expertise for sharing with all aspiring and elected representatives.

For example, acting as the sponsor of events where specialists in an area of policy can make presentations to all independents (candidates or members as applicable) at a single event, or providing candidates with guidance on such matters as section 44 of the Constitution, or acting as a means through which tools that facilitate effective representation can be developed and distributed. Identifying flaws in party opposition policy and campaigning and bringing them to the attention of independent aspirants the trouble of reinventing the wheel every time they stand for election.

5 To monitor and critique the performance of independent political representatives against the criteria that define “independence”

Perhaps the most important role. As the organisation setting and promoting the standard it is incumbent on it to defend that standard rigorously. When those standards are breached it is up to the organisation that owns them to identify the breach, publicly and willingly. Ultimately though, it is the job of the voters to enforce the standard via the ballot box. The axiom of “we get the government we deserve” is where this matter starts, and most certainly where it ends.

Where to from here? That depends on the reader. Expressions of support may be made via the comments or direct to me via the editor. Feel free to repost on other forums.

*Simon Warriner is an average bloke who is sick of watching our common good getting flushed down the sewer by vested interests, party politics and political ponerology (google it), and the administrative incompetence engendered. He thinks we can have clearer, intelligent rather than reflexive government, better outcomes and less bullshit if we, as a voting public, concentrate more on improving the standard of representation and the process of decision making and focus a little less on trying to ensure our own personal agendas are being advanced by party politicians making promises of questionable credibility prior to elections. While uncertain that the above is the complete solution he thinks it is a step in the right direction, and every journey begins with a single step.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. TGC

    March 15, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    It would seem therefore #41 that there would be fewer women in that brave new democracy of yours given the problems they can create. One wonders at the headlong rush in politics, sport, business, education social society etc to get more women in and into positions of leadership.
    We do know that “the cat scratches”
    I must say it seemed a mistaske that Labor pitched so many women into the electorate as candidates this time up- especially stacking some against sitting women Members.
    In Lyons, for example Labor had two women nominated who live within a couple of kilometres of each other-don’t tell me that was helpful.

  2. Simon Warriner

    March 15, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    re 40 … And you think I am an optimist! We will see how nicely those “more temperate, reasonable, co-operative and understanding” women play together.

    My observation is that if 5 women working together in an office with a common objective for the same team cannot function without eliminating at least 2 by injuring them in either a physical or psychological manner, or both, what hope is there for a parliamentary environment where party conflicts, power plays and egos are running rampant? Especially when the egos involved are as big as they obviously are in a couple of cases, and real power and money are motivating forces ahead of the common good. My money is on nasty, vicious, and spiteful, in pretty much that order, with kind, considerate and the rest running well down the field.

    Time will tell, and we won’t have to wait for long …

  3. TGC

    March 15, 2018 at 10:19 am

    #38’s tone suggests even he may find being
    “co-operative” is not as easy as any of us may always wish – being honest with each other is a most commendable attribute- but has its own dangers: (‘does my bum look big in this’?)
    However- on both those fronts there is now a great opportunity in the make-up of the new Tasmanian House of Assembly. With more women in the Parliament- and on their own admission women are inclined to be much more temperate, reasonable, co-operative and understanding than men -so these next 4 years should see debate in the House reach new heights of courtesy and understanding of another’s point of view.
    It may well be this will go some way towards satisfying #38’s basic wish for a ‘different’ kind of representative democracy.

  4. Tony Stone

    March 15, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Simon, your approach seems to be another party structure, those being groomed to run as independents would be chosen by a group, which totally defeats the purpose and puts us back into party mode. We don’t need trained clones, we need people with real knowledge and experience in specific portfolio’s.

    What I envisage, is moving government online into the hands of the people and nothing more than that. It’s irrelevant to me as to how that is attained, just that it is and would remove all forms of corruption, nepotism and corporate bribery.

    The people would give themselves the power to hire and fire at will, those chosen to implement their wishes.

    We need policies which integrate with every aspect of our society so we have a progressive and workable system of policy implementation, that operate smoothly and not ad hoc on the run policies.

    Wouldn’t worry to much, the writing is on the wall. All people want is more of he same as they are familiar with it and it matters not the final outcome, just so they can feel conformable now and bugger the future. In the mind of the majority, saving the future is someone elses job not theirs, they only want the benefits and not have to change their lives in any way.

  5. Simon Warriner

    March 14, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    Re #37 … Answer the question I asked at the start of #36, Trevor. That is how conversations work.

    You said something and I asked for clarification to better understand what you were getting at. You failed to provide that clarification and instead proceeded to set up your own straw man to knock over. What you are engaging in is trolling, and this is as far as I can be bothered engaging with it.

    Other readers may point out my error if I am making one, please.

  6. TGC

    March 14, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    #36 “I see the organisation I have proposed…”
    “Organisation”? Labor,Liberal,Green etc – these also were organisations formed after someone “proposed” them and then “sought out talented and experienced individuals…” #36 believes they did so without success- #36’s ‘organisation’ would not be so unlucky.
    I am however impressed that #36’s “proposed organisation” won’t mind in the slightest if those involved decline to be “forced (into) adherence to a set of rules and dogma…” That ought to make for smooth sailing.
    Somehow it seems to me that #36- en route from the initial foray into this ‘exciting new way of governing’ is gradually closing-in on something similar to the ‘traditional ‘ form of governing – and I expect he will arrive there shortly (longly!) though protesting ‘it isn’t so’!

  7. Simon Warriner

    March 14, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    re 35, Easy to answer Trevor.
    Sworn to the public they aspire to represent.

    Are you saying that our representatives should not be honest with each other and should refuse to cooperate with each other in the business of managing our affairs? Why should this be the case?
    Note carefully the wording, it does not say agree or support.

    If they do eventually form a party then they will cease to be independents won’t they. Seem bloody obvious to me. If the electorate thinks that the putative “new party” is better that the independent model, then good luck to the electorate. What will be will be. And the results of party politics are smacking us in the face with a brick, every day, right around the globe.

    re 34, Chris, this sentence is confusing. Is the word “neither” missing? If it is then my reposnse is that I do not seek to control that shift, but understanding how destructive such a shift can be if it lodges power in the hands of a tyrant I am proposing a less risky, more democratic alternative. We WILL get the government we collectively deserve, of that I am sure. What will determine what we get will be our ability to work cooperatively for the best outcome.

    re 32 Tony, having pondered on your approach for a while I think that we agree on the problem but have a different solution. Not an insurmountable difference though. The problem I see with your proposal is this: who or what drives the bringing together of the competent individuals you seek to form this team? How is the problem of being accused of being a party in disguise avoided?

    I see the organisation I have proposed as a flag around to which talented and experienced individuals could be recruited. The attraction for such individuals is that integrity is not compromised by forced adherence to a set of rules and dogma on issues outside their area of expertise.

  8. TGC

    March 14, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Been deuce busy so slow responding to “2 re. #1.
    Problems I see with 2 (a,b,c,d)is that each follows a “sworn statement” -(‘sworn to whom and how enforceable and what are the consequences of lapsing?)
    As each ‘elected independent’ would be ‘swearing’ to the same committments what happens under ‘being cooperative and honest’ amongst each other if that results in one or more of these ‘sworn’ committments having to be abrogated by an ‘electorate’s’ Rep.
    I can imagine a cry of ‘But you swore to do this for us-but now you have been persuaded by persons outside your electorate that ‘it’ wasn’t a good idea’ Is your ‘sworn committment’ to being
    co-operative with the other ‘swearers’ more important than your committment to us?
    And pretty soon two or more of these ‘sworn to my electorate’s needs independents’ will find themselves co-operating with each other more and more and eventually one or all will say- ‘We should form a voting group- a ‘Party’
    That has happened in the past-even in Tasmania- e.g. The Independents (though some will deny any similarity)

  9. Chris Harries

    March 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    But, Simon, #33, I have my own observation as to where all this disillusionment of traditional politics may lead to. When you state that voters are becoming disillusioned with party politics and are veering towards something else you nor I will be in control of that shift.

    I’m simply saying that it’s possible for society to leap from the pot into the frying pan, and this trend seems to be being borne out in world politics. This is what you will have to contend with if you are hoping to create a more holistic political matrix. Voters are becoming maddened enough to deliberately choose chaos over order, just for the sake of making a two-finger salute.

    Meanwhile, the big party machines are predicting that after experimenting with minor parties and half crazed independents who themselves flay around in chaos and personal blood letting, exhausted voters will return to the traditional fold. (Personally I don’t think politics will ever be quite the same, but there are signs that this reverse trend may be happening.)

  10. Simon Warriner

    March 12, 2018 at 12:09 am

    Chris, #32 … Not being abrupt, but please, refer to what I originally wrote. I clearly define a set of behaviors and values which appear, to me at least, to exclude both Trump and Katter.

    To tip what you are saying on its head, do you prefer the worst aspects of party politics to the risk posed by independent politicians who might engage in debate which draws hidden underlying assumptions into the open rather than closed discussions followed by a forced lining up behind the consensus decision?
    The problem with party politics is that it inexorably tends towards the “worst” end of the spectrum, primarily, imnsho, because you have to have a flawed understanding of conflicted interest to be involved in the first place, and smarter individuals lack that flawed understanding and thus absent themselves from the party political gene pool. I happily concede some well intentioned individuals play the game for the right reasons but their failure to make a long term difference is now so obvious it seems inevitable. I know several ex Greens and their experience informs that view, as do the experience of several former Labor, Liberal and NZ National party members. Some left early, some stayed for longer than they should have for their own good. All learned from the experience.

    What people can do beyond voting for the likes of Trump and Katter, since you ask, is get engaged with the sort of organisation I propose and understand that above all else the future is determined by those that turn up to fight for it. What I am proposing is a means by which people can become involved in our political life without having to choose sides which are run and populated by ideological xenophobes whom they would crawl over broken class to avoid by encouraging and supporting independent candidates. They can do that in the abstract by joining this organisation should it come into existence, or they could do it by supporting a particular independent candidate, or they could do both.

    What I am proposing is that we select our democratic representatives based on their capacity to make reasoned decisions determined on the best information available to them using the full resources of government, as opposed to ramming through policy that party aligned representatives have already made based on information that has largely not been revealed to the electorate, with perhaps some government involvement in the sourcing of that information (and in the case of Tasmania’s next government we have been treated with the absolute contempt that stems from not even bothering to reveal policies that a mandate is now claimed for). To get a look at the sort of reasoning that goes into that policy a read of the extract from Bob Cheek’s book detailing Rene Hiddings influence on policy that is adjacent to this article on this site. Hidding is still in government as a minister. Should we be worried? Are we shifting the the risk? Hell yes!, but how has the past method worked out for us?

    Tony, I am not ignoring your reply, but it is now time to get some sleep before a 4:30 start.

  11. Chris Harries

    March 11, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    #31 … What do the people do then, Simon? Vote in the Bob Katters and Donald Trumps of the world because they show a streak of independence from traditional party? Is this a good thing? Maybe a transition? Or a temporal trend that will eventually swing back to party?

    I do understand the worst aspects of party politics, but I wouldn’t overly romanticise independent. Given a choice, I prefer relationships in politics to be visible and transparent, not under cover. In that respect I prefer party politics to the worst aspects of populism.

  12. Simon Warriner

    March 11, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Vegetation that is cultivated can be killed, Chris. The easiest way to do it is in the very early, two-leaf stage when simple soil disturbance with a hoe does the trick. Endemic species are much harder to get rid of and I humbly suggest that contempt for party politicians is endemic, whereas the “minority government is chaos” meme is a cultivated species not much further advanced that the two-leaf stage. It is putting out roots, but still relying on the energy contained within the seed. Some of those roots are to be seen in attempts at legislation to restrict the activities of non party political organisations.

    The oganisation I propose could be the hoe that disrupts that “minority govt is chaos” meme by it’s pointing out that any polity is only as competent as the people who make it up, and that an assembly full of people who clearly do not understand the dangers inherent in conflicted interest is far, far worse than one in which the membership need to work through their differences to arrive at either consensus or discensus. Intelligent, publicly motivated independent individuals can do that without the rancor, the spite and childish immaturity we see so often demonstrated in our parliamentary chambers, and do so while keeping the vested interests and rent seeker in their proper place, well away from the formation of public policy and the laws that bring that policy into our lives.

    Perhaps the explanation for the Greens failing to be able to effectively address the meme is that they are after all, a party, and as such, subject to the very failings they are criticising in the major parties whom they would be imitating, but for their lack of electoral clout. In short, it is the party system of political organisation that is at fault, not any particular party, dominant or otherwise.

    I happen to think that we are near a resonance point at which the public realisation that politics as usual (the party meme) is flawed, and the failing and flailing is at a level that ideas which would have previously been easily hounded out by the parties and their media pets actually get traction with the electorate if they are given enough energy to resonate.

    That is the beauty of resonance, when circumstances are right a massive amount of movement and energy can be liberated with minimal excitation force. Either a benign, publicly spirited source can provide that energy, or it will come from a source entirely self serving and malign. That is the lesson of history, oft repeated.

  13. Chris Harries

    March 11, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Robin (#26) is correct insofar as The Greens have ironically become much more feared than the environmental threats that they have been campaigning on…. climate change and creeping biodiversity harm that is being caused to our terrestrial and marine environments. Some of this political response to them is classic shooting the messenger… but only some. A popular social meme that has been deliberately cultivated over the years, has rendered in the public mind that having a hung parliament is tantamount to contracting a dreadful ailment like leprosy, the most diabolical thing that can happen to you. This meme has by now taken a solid hold, no matter that in mature societies elsewhere multi-party government is the norm. Yet we barely blinked when Angela Markel negotiated yet another minority government arrangement, this being the third most powerful economy in the world. Over thee they do it well. When we think about it, the insistence on the right of politics here, that we must have a two-party system, is not so far away from China’s one-party state that they happily deride as being totalitarian and undemocratic.

    In one sense the Greens just happened to be the party in Tasmania that kept needling the Coles-versus-Wooloworths sort of feigned competition that would have been our political mainstay otherwise. But any other emergent third party would have been given the same treatment by the dominant paradigm. So it wasn’t just the colour of the offending party, it was major party solidarity that firstly shrunk the parliament to try to minimise any other players being elected. That said, I do find it rather odd that the Greens seemed to benignly accept the Majority-Or-Nothing-Else meme without even trying to build a persuasive case in the community that multi-party government – representing the diversity of the population – is far more inclusive and democratic than is traditional Australian politics. Now that the meme has been firmly locked into our social culture and resoundingly backed by both major parties and egged on by nearly all commentators, election analysts, media editors and business leaders it would be well nigh impossible to turn on its head.

    One thing that is noticeable is that the conservative side of politics has started to also turn on the Hare Clark proportional representation system that allowed for minor representation in our state parliament – be they independents or minor parties. It would be in the pragmatic interest of both major parties to eliminate Hare clark for once and for all and they would both be tempted to do this except for the unlikelihood that such a reform could get through. There is still a residual pride in Tasmania that we technically have, arguably, the fairest voting system ever devised, so I think it will stay.

    As I’ve said said, it’s good that Simon is turning people’s minds as to how to play things differently at the parliamentary level. It’s never a piece of cake, because any authentic reform will be hounded out, but I don’t think people who care should retreat into total cynicism. I was around in the early 1970s when Richard Jones noted the opportunity use the Hare Clark political system to try to do good. Since that time, non government organisations plus Greens in the parliament have actually achieved a lot in diversification of the economy and in nature protection. The only history we see is the one that has happened, not the various other histories that could have happened if we hadn’t had our oar in.

    One thing is sure, there is so much passionate love of this island and its values from within that this fascinating history book will never close. I’m looking forward to the next chapters.

  14. Tony Stone

    March 10, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Simon, not a party, which requires a constitution, certain number of members and registration. A party puts the idea in the same category as the incumbents, but an alliance of independents on major issues and direction, opens up a new concept.

    May be wrong, but don’t think there is any law forbidding independents from collaborating, to attain goals. It’s already done across the country, including Tas.

    Forming another party, would give the impression you are just another party and we are aware of how other parties went in this election. So you have to present a different approach, which catches the mind of people with viable policy, so they can see how it would work. The people would feel they are not voting for another party, but independents who will work together on major issues.

    It’s the type of people that is important and their expertise, which would separate them from the normal elitist ideologue. It’s very easy to find where someones agenda lies and there are enough people (25) with across the board experience to put forward workable policies for their specific area’s.

    Take health, we have bureaucrats and ideological fools running the department, none have any experience or knowledge, just ideological PC, red tape crap and mega waste, most Tasmanians are fully aware of the crisis.

    To get the right person, would mean getting a very experienced nurse for the health portfolio, not a doctor or bureaucrat. Preventive health is the only way to go and providing the people with realistic policy they can see will work, would get their attention.

    Every other portfolio would be the same, people who actually know, understand and work within the area.

    Having agreement on major policy area’s, must include handing power to the people, via direct vote online within a year. This is so easily achieved cheaply, already the main infrastructure is in place, the Internet.

    It’s just a matter of constructing an operating system to suit the requirements of fully open government, whilst maintaining a secure unhackable system. For that we would use a dedicated linux system, saving millions a year, fully protecting our data and have it up and running within 6 months.

    What I envisage, is a very different approach to government, no elitists, no psychopaths, no crazed ideologues, no minority vested interests, or over educated drop kicks lauding it over everyone. Just the people in control and because of the variety of people in Tas, it would not take long for consensus to be achieved.

    Already have the basis of setting it up, the time lines involved, logistics of making it function and work. All it needs is people to run, fine tune it, then put it into action. Estimated it would take 6 months to set it all out, refine the approach, get the right people to be involved.

    Then take it from there, with a dedicated and logical non stop attack on every thing the parties do or claim they will do. By pointing out the many flaws in everything the incumbent parties do, by confronting them with workable alternatives. This will get the peoples notice and when they see who is running and what they put forward, it should work.

    They will either come on board, or stick to the status quo and then we would know, it’s time to dig your survival hole and prepare to jump in.

    Personally couldn’t care less how the policies turned out, my only aim is to save Tas from the future we are being led into, by insane ideologically blind fools.

  15. Mike Bolan

    March 10, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    How to get to a better future? Consider the ‘One belt, one road’ initiative of BRICS (vids on YouTube). Thousands of miles of highways, rail, communications and pipeline systems with distributed ownership that connect huge areas of the globe and enable more efficient and lower cost trade between disparate countries. That’s really happening.

    Now consider the West…our so-called ‘trade deals’ are administrative/legal agreements that take decades to negotiate then requires huge amounts of money to police and enforce, coupled with the threat of military might.

    BRICS have created a positive enabler, the West create a maze of administration with no enablers in sight.

    The message here is that the change you need is already happening….just not here or in English! We can sit back and goggle at the advances of the BRICS, or we can get rid of our dysfunctional system and join in.

  16. Simon Warriner

    March 10, 2018 at 10:53 am

    re #23, 24, 25.

    The problem with what you are all saying is that we have a current system that needs replacing with something better. We have 3 choices as I see it.

    1, Wait for the current system to collapse under the weight of its own inbred stupidity and internal contradictions.

    2, Violently overthrow the incumbant system and replace it with whatever those in control of the violence want, and hopefully they will agree with you.

    3, Infect the existing system using its own rules and processes with individuals who are capable of seeing the flaws in those rules and processes and are motivated to correct them.

    If we wait, further damage gets done to our life support system and the risk that the incumbants move to close the window of opportunity the current system presents.

    Violent overthrow of established orders has a long history of not quite delivering the sort of change you seem to want.

    You need to demonstrate how you propose we get from the here and now to a future that is better.

    Tony, your idea of forming a party with policies and “expert” candidates is interesting, and if it were an option I might vote for it, but I am interested to know how you avoid your experts exercising their particular biases and what you do about the very real possibility that you do not win a majority. Right now a single independent MHA in the Tasmanian Lower House is asking very pointed questions that would create significant pressure for change.

    Mike, what I am proposing is we start by getting rid of the party nominated specialists in conflicted interest and replacing them with people with a more altruistic attitude. They, in turn, exercise power over the bureaurats and direct them to operate more in the manner needed to deliver a sustainable and equitable future. The current system has considerable inertia and will take some time to change. I watched some of Rifkin’s 3rd Industrial Age last night, but I need to watch it again somewhere else where I don’t lose all my data as a result, because I slept through the last half hour. He is very interesting, but I think I have missed the most relevant stuff.

    Brenda, having found what you are looking for in the principles of ecology, how, exactly, do you propose to get it from a good idea to actual results on the ground? What I am proposing is that we try and elect people to government who are at least capable of listening to ALL ideas, hopefully capable of recognising good ones, and even more hopefully, acting on them. I say hopefully because we are dealing with human beings and they are not the most predictable of species.

    The existing system, dominated by party political actors who are being enabled by money power, has the legal monopoly on violence via the police and the military. History teaches us, if we pay attention, that going up against that power is not wise and that it often ends up with a worse result. The democratic system, to paraphrase Churchill, is the least worst option; it is the one we have, and it offers a window of opportunity to implement non violent change towards a more equitable, localised way of doing goverance. (note, I did not say government) That can be done by putting into the law-making assemblies individuals who are not captive to a small, easily influenced group of people. It is a do-able thing.

    It is instructive to read the extract from Bob Cheek’s book that Linz has fortuitously posted just after this article to see how easily moved in stupid directions party organisations are.

  17. Robin Charles Halton

    March 10, 2018 at 4:10 am

    Bad luck at this election the alternative government which could have been Labor had they not rushed in so blindly to “trick” the people of Tasmania to vote for Labor.

    There was both defeat and deceit that formed this election, the pokies team won on the basis the economy was already doing well before the election why change government which cold have easily resulted in a minority mess with the ear bashing Greens taking control of the State.

    I voted for the Liberal in Denison and I dont support pokies, like many of us I looked at the other issues surrounding a successful battle by the Liberals to maintain growth and employment in the State without too much upset politically.

    Denison electorate has become too morally responsible and saw a false dawn of a new Labor force taking the ranks over pokies reform a lot of that the follow through coming from Andrew Wilkie Indepenant as a would be reformist at a Federal level.

    We have seen the loss of the Greens, perhaps to much bullshit about the Tarkine and lectures of the world ending due to climate change, neither of which the majority seem to be
    placing too much importance on!

    Scare campaigns over changes to gun laws are highly unlikely given overall govenments’ unwillingness to deal with military type weapons being replaced with repeating firearms which should be sufficient for the man on the land.

    A legitimate issue for which all Tasmanians should support is the case for for having a roof over ones head, that is why the Sate government needs to urgently reform public housing policy to instigate more affordable public housing be made available as a priority measure.

    With the advent of unstoppable Air B&b swarming the State following an enriched tourism economy then the obvious becomes more obvious for provision of affordable public housing which in turn goes a long way to stabilise social aspects of the economy.

    Pokies have their issues for some, obviously most Tasmanians did not regard Labors ploy to grab government as important.
    If it only Denison that displays a moral conscience over pokies then it does not figure as an important issue taking into consideration the rest of the State.

  18. Brenda Rosser

    March 10, 2018 at 1:44 am

    We have people wielding power in Tasmania who hold no legitimate ‘authority’. In essence it’s tyranny that we are being subjected to. The ‘independent’ status of an individual in government won’t provide a solution to this corruption of power.

    Like the great crisis of climate change, this dilemma can’t be solved by a relative few actors at the top.

    Maybe we should be looking at the principles of ecology to find an effective system of governance eg webs of interactions, power flowing through the system, power to respond to environmental and social change, balance in diversity, self-maintenance, self-regulation, etc.

    Power has become too concentrated and subsequently the level of intelligence that shapes our social institutions and social responses is very low.

  19. Mike Bolan

    March 10, 2018 at 12:24 am

    #23 … Tony, you’re right. The only effective model is to use our understanding of a viable/sustainable entity and to apply that to our social systems.

    This would mean autonomy for all members with decentralised decision making available to all involved, and communications systems that facilitated collaboration on community projects. It would also require diminishing the bias in favour of political parties (in law and financial benefits) and building independent news and information channels (eg community co-ops) and ensuring that everyone had access to all the information they needed to make informed decisions, as well access to various education options that enabled anyone to learn what they need to know. Basically making everyone equal (I know, it’ll never fly).

    The fantasy land is created to be a trap in which we become disempowered by giving our powers to other people who benefit from their positions and who are unaccountable for their actions such as bureaucrats, politicians and bankers. From there they can disempower us further to help the powerful to neuter any threat from us and enable them to buy our resources cheap.

    Keep up the rage. Our survival is at stake!

  20. Tony Stone

    March 9, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    The principles of your ideals Simon, are fine, but they still appear to represent the same corruptible type of system as we now have. For once I agree with Trevor, too many variables to be manipulated and elitism to creep in.

    We are living in the 21st century and are failing in every aspect of life, and we are failing so badly we are destroying our future at an amazing rate.

    Governance in this century needs a very different approach and we have the technology to do it rapidly, and this is online governance by the people. This will cut out every form of corruption, nepotism and save billions a year, and the people will get the outcomes they decide upon. Everyone has something to add to aid our future in experience, and or knowledge. They must be fully included, or we will never get the right advice or outcomes.

    Other than that, all we have is a benevolent dictator who would be ruthless in changing life to a sustainable state and giving everyone equality of opportunity. Finding someone who would and could do that job, without it going to their head, would not be and easy task.

    All that’s left is more of the same, or variations of the current system. None can work because they all still keep power in the hands of small groups who are easily infiltrated or guided by their ideological interests.

    From the way I view things, the only way to wrest power away from the current party system is to beat them at their own game – and you don’t need a lot of money to do that.

    Candidates should be chosen because of the experience within the portfolio they will take up if you provide a set of independent candidates who are aligned on certain policies and they all have the experience within their portfolios with fully explained policies for the people. They have a good chance of being elected, especially when they fully explain their policies. Whilst current parties only give headlines of policies, never workable content.

    When you add good social media promotion and full publication of the policies, with the ability to take on people suggestions or changes, people should and will get interested, and if they don’t then we know we are doomed.

    People of this age want to be involved if they want to be, but without including the people fully there can never be a system that represents them. All you will end up with is the same state we have. Teaching people how to run as an Independent is no different to the party system which easily corrupted for ideological or economic vested interests.

    We are a race of ideologues, all trapped in fantasy land. The state of world society tells us that nowhere is governance working. All that’s happening is life is going down the drain fast on so many fronts. Only radical peaceful change can have a chance.

    The faster we step outside the box we are all trapped in, and start looking at logical alternatives, the faster we may come up with a working logical approach.

  21. Simon Warriner

    March 9, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    You are most welcome, Stephen.

  22. stephen menadue

    March 9, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Well put Simon. Your description helped me understand a lot better the need for Independents.

  23. Simon Warriner

    March 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    re 17, Christopher … As I look around at the mess that humanity has got itself into, I note that what is commonly referred to as “Democracy”, isn’t.

    You are right, it is so rare as to be mythical. Clearly those things that masquerade under that title are not delivering, so I am proposing a way of shifting the actuality closer to the ideal. Will it ever get there? Probably not, but can it really hurt to try? This sums up my attitude: as Kierkegaard said “To venture (to do the good) is to risk defeat; but not to venture is to lose one’s soul.” I could just shut up and retire, but then I would doubtless become a whinging old prick who offers no solutions – and there is already a surplus of those.

    What I am proposing is replicable, scalable and applicable in any unit of government that has elections. The fact that I happen to be located “in the poor neighbourhood of an affluent federation where your options aren’t that great” is not that important in the bigger picture, and in fact it is an advantage in many ways.

    If you want to give feedback to the sanctimonious pricks who lost the election Christopher, perhaps you should do so directly, because my reading of your effort felt pretty much like I was being got at, and I don’t have anything much to do with them at all. Not that I give a toss, but someone as well educated as yourself could reasonably be expected to target their critiques a bit more accurately.

    re #18 … is it human nature, Phil, or is it the result of a awful lot of conditioning by forces that benefit from the effort? I actually think it is the latter.

    re #19 … exactly.

  24. spikey

    March 9, 2018 at 11:03 am

    some seek to understand human nature
    to bring out its best

    some seek to understand human nature
    to control others for power

    societies nature
    unfortunately reflecting
    many generations
    of revolting training
    to be insecure, servile, muppets

    systemically abused
    to produce behaviours desirable to a few

    suits some to have division
    and a society forever at the brink
    of at any cost

  25. philll Parsons

    March 9, 2018 at 10:33 am

    Have fun dealing with human nature.

  26. Christopher Nagle

    March 9, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Simon, the notion of democracy being of the people, for the people and by the people is a myth. It has always been a myth. It has never existed except in very small communities where everyone knows everyone else.

    Once a community gets beyond a certain size, the dynamics change, as governance moves from social intimacy to broking competing interests that have the resources and motivation to articulate, promote and compete for what they want out of the common weal.

    What you are suggesting is a romantic step back into an age where there was still space for individual policy making, in the period before there were parties, when factional loyalty to individuals was what prevailed.

    Or perhaps it is a petty bourgeois fantasy about doing ‘the right thing’ according to some notion of what is ‘fair and reasonable’, having regard to all the circumstances, etc, etc….by consulting with everyone and leaving no consideration unattended…to produce an outcome so full of compromises and contradictions it isn’t policy any more, so much as the kind of magnificently paralysed, consultant intensive and tick boxed decorated inaction we have come to know and love in the bureaucratic operations of local government.

    The fact is Simon, that ‘the people’ don’t give a shit if doesn’t affect them directly. They are not interested in getting their heads around complex policy. That is for political wonks, policy manufacturers and people who have some skin in the game.

    Get used to it. You live in the poor neighbourhood of an affluent federation where your options aren’t that great, however you configure them. The crude reality is that beggars can’t be choosers. Be grateful that anyone from outside takes much interest in you at all. And if you want to knock back the development that is on offer, don’t whinge if your kids have to go somewhere else to find jobs and opportunity.

    The brutal reality is if you want your forests kept intact, you are going to have to encourage the tourist and services industries to replace that industry. And you need to accede to and do what the customers want, not what you want. It isn’t about you, It is about them. What you want is irrelevant to them. You want their money, you give them what they want. If you don’t, they go somewhere else and the forresters get a get out of jail card.

    It is as simple as that.

    It is all very well for petty bourgeois bureaucrats and academics with relatively speaking secure tenure to declaim about what is ‘the right thing’, but they don’t have to win over customers or survive on the trade that comes through the door each day; you know, the tax paying profiteers who pay your salaries every fortnight.

    Your bloody salaries don’t appear out of some kind of magic pudding.

    I am not having a go at you personally Simon. It is just that the sanctimonious pricks who have just lost a perfectly winnable election need to be held to account and given the honest feedback about what a bunch of losers they really are.

  27. Simon Warriner

    March 9, 2018 at 12:37 am

    re #11 … Planning on watching that tomorrow night.

    re #12, Thanks for the applause, Chris. Understanding the existence of the cog-dis problem you refer to is the first step to correcting for it in decision making. By the organisation I propose putting that information in front of prospective representatives we have taken a step along the road towards correcting for it. I used to be engaged in insurance recovery work and we got through some pretty horrible jobs by simply putting one foot in front of the other and repeating the process. It works. If the obstacles seem insurmountable, take smaller steps. Having a destination certainly helps, and sometimes the final destination is not obvious at the start of the journey. Ultimately I do not have any outcome in mind other than an improvement in the quality of decision making. If I did have any objective beyond that I would be engaging in an ideological pursuit that would contradict what I am proposing.

    re #13, Yep. As is often said, there is nothing new under the sun. If I recall correctly, he said something about time off for good behavior.

    re #14, the idea of endless growth on a finite planet is the mother of all stupidities. The sooner we understand that, at a governmental level, the sooner we will be able to deal with the reality in ways that are less harmful than our endless attempts to pretend the possibility of endless growth on a finite planet exists. Hope that clears it up.

  28. Simon Warriner

    March 8, 2018 at 11:41 pm

    re #7, Mike … My take on things is that we need to be avoiding waiting for the “business as usual” to collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions. Waiting for that to happen before putting in place an alternate way of doing government leaves the stage clear for actors with malign intent who start off as charismatic populists and end up as dictatorial despots. We should learn from history rather than endlessly repeating stupid mistakes.

    On infrastructure, the current situation is a neocon wet dream designed to purloin public goods and privatise the profits. Delivery of cost-effective and reliable services is a distant second to the real motives of the owners and their pet politicians. Take out the pet pollies and the possibilities for something better open up considerably.

    re #8, on another thread I read they use /s to denote sarcasm. it avoids confusing poor sods like me at the end of a very long and tiring day. -;)

    re #9, Chris H, and so we attempt to shift the status quo from its relaxed and comfortable nest by introducing a bit of competition. That is the point of the exercise. I am not suggesting that what I propose is easy, quick or simple. Quite the contrary. It will take some time, it will be hard fought, and it will piss some very powerful people off, especially if it looks like being successful. Like everything worthwhile, ever. Just getting a single independent MHA in Tasmania would start the ball rolling, but to gather mass and momentum the current dissatisfaction with business as usual politics needs to be allowed to resonate. What I am proposing takes the role of a tuning fork, if that analogy helps. That amplification of effort is what I see making the current a more manageable obstacle, to mix the metaphors.

    Re #10, Welcome, Michael. I share your concerns, and suggest that individuals operating from a premise of serving the greater common good rather than the wallets of the likes of the Greg Farrells and John Gays of this world are more likely to turn their minds towards our bigger picture problems than the current party pledged occupiers of our parliaments. It may not be a complete solution, but it is a move towards a place where that solution might hopefully come into focus. Right now I do not know what that solution is but I do know that at present we seem to be hell bent on going away from that place as fast as possible.

  29. Michael Anderson

    March 8, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    #11 … Have to watch it when I get down there to Hobart in April to visit family. It’s not available outside Australia. Be interesting to see how he views “growth.” Been reading a lot on a “steady-state” economy from the Post-Carbon Institute.

  30. George Smiley

    March 8, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Didn’t Plato address this a long time ago?

    But as a man of few words he wanted to draft the best people, and for the fixed term of their compulsory service have them lodged in dog boxes on a shilling a week. Without a honeypot the usual flies would flee, or better yet, slash their wrists.

  31. Chris Harries

    March 8, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Good points at #19 and #11.

    From my perspective the tweaking of political mechanisms is fine, but it doesn’t (and can’t) get to the core of the human predicament.

    A number of scholars, including Paul and Anne Ehrlich and George Marshall, have written extensively on our human brain wiring as it has evolved via evolution. The basic conclusion they come to is that there’s nothing in human beings’ evolutionary history to inform our brains how to deal with the myriad of intangible threats that human civilisation is now facing. So we either don’t respond or we respond in ways that mostly worsen the situation. It’s not just MPs as every one of us suffers from a level of cognitive dissonance in the respect.

    How does this flip over into politics? Doesn’t matter what political matrix we have, our representatives are just like the rest of us and have the same limited hard wiring. This same frailty even applies to social justice advocates who earnestly focus on day-to-day poverty issues while mostly ignoring the intergenerational harm issue – which would render nearly all their good work to no avail if climate scientists are correct in their prognoses.

    Thus, while news media these days give coverage to hugely alarming issues .. like oceans filling up with plastic .. and anthropocene extinction of wildlife .. and human migration becoming a volatile security issue .. and oil depletion causing all of our farmlands to be threatened by fracking so that the last drops can be extracted .. and social insurrection and wars being caused by food prices escalating as a result of climate catastrophes .. to name a few .. the single issue that caused most alarm in the recent Tasmanian elections was the prospect of the Greens possibly having balance of power. That was the big FEAR issue that I believe gave the election to the Libs – not so much the pokies or even the Big Money spend.

    This irony of ironies is the backdrop that sits behind any alternative political processes that we may wish to conjure up. Having said all that, we are aware that there are variations in the quality of governance systems around the world, and variations in political cultures too, and we can’t avoid having to live under one. So Simon’s thought process on possible ways to refine political processes is to be applauded – accepting the limitation of this approach.

  32. Mike Bolan

    March 8, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    #10 … You’re right in terms of modern neoliberal economics and political thinking but, according to people like Rifkin (SBS doco 3rd Industrial Revolution) who argue that our survival is dependent on our learning to live and trade differently, thus avoiding the many traps that you describe.

    One hidden basis of our current problems is that relatively expensive fossil fuels are being used in grossly wasteful ways to support our ‘economy’ (for which read profligacy!).

    I could type for hours about this but I won’t. Instead I urge you to watch Rifkin on SBS demand whence most of your points will be addressed. Mind you, this isn’t a given. We’re going to have to fight for our survival and that will mean fighting the politico/economic systems that are bringing us down and destroying the planet with them.

  33. Michael Anderson

    March 8, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I like the general gist of these suggestions, but I have some questions, more specifically related to technology and the “business as usual” paradigm. The redistribution of money & influence cannot make more materials appear out of nowhere, and technology generates problems that can only be fixed with more technology, which creates more problems…on & on.

    To bring the rest of the world to a general western consumption level will require around three extra earths. It would seem our part is not in simple monetary redistribution, or more technology; it is in radical conservation & local-ism (with the greater common good in mind). Are we ready for that yet?

    I speak not because I have no taint of this, but rather as a fellow penitent in the modern age, besieged by neoliberal economics and its discontents. The power of human selfishness is in top gear right now.

  34. Chris Harries

    March 8, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Thanks for sharing these ideas, Simon. Such a pressure group would be useful and would hopefully tweak things for the better, but it would be naive to think that any reforms affecting the status could be easily delivered by the status quo.

    Taking a simple example. It is broadly accepted that shrinking the House of Assembly to 25 members was a mistaken move, because it rendered it nearly impossible to form an effective Executive Government, and doing so didn’t save any money. It also helped lock in two-party politics. Yet any attempt to restore the larger chamber can’t be countenanced because it would be too unpopular.

    Looking at this another way, hypothesise a brand new country and set up a perfect electoral system for it wherein parties were not named on ballot slips and parties had no status in the establishment of governance. Within minutes of the first election the elected representatives would start to think about how to get things done and they would quickly find out who thinks like themselves and how collaboration with other MPs would help get their favoured reforms through. In this way invisible factions would form. This natural jelling of similar world views would very quickly stratify the parliament, even if was not not visibly labelled.

    From there it’s not hard to see how these factions would gradually become hardened around significant philosophical bases and would end up being named – informally if not formally. Each major faction would naturally aim to establish a majority, and thereby gain the wherewithal to get its respective agendas up.

    This is what makes it hard to try to go the other way .. like trying to swim against a strong current. The main problem with parties is not their existence but the way the long-established political system now formally favours Party in multifarious ways, mainly two parties, like Coles and Woolworths. It does tolerate smaller players but everything makes it hard for them to remain viable. If you are a one-person show you will get minimalist staffing and resources, to cite just one example.

    Arguably the worst downsides of the party system in Australia is our tradition of very tight caucusing. Though some smaller parties have fairly light caucusing rules, any major party rep who votes according to conscience (ie crosses the floor) not only endangers his career but causes a political storm. In Oz we caucus much more tightly than any other country, even more tightly that the US where it is common for Depa dn Republican Reps to vote on conscience, and doing so is not thought of as being disloyal.

    I think gradually breaking down of this aspect of out political culture would probably be easier than would trying to reform the technical apparatus of governance .. I mean, as a first port of call.

    Just my two bob’s worth.

  35. Chris

    March 8, 2018 at 10:07 am

    I am going to support the democratic (?) Tasmanian Government in future because whatever I spend on their behalf I know will be “refunded” to me by way of a taxpayer-funded grant to defray my expenses.

    Why am I thinking of Gunns at this time, or pigs in flight over troughs?

  36. Mike Bolan

    March 8, 2018 at 12:22 am

    Good ideas Simon, and I’d like to add that for the human race to survive we need to be viable/sustainable and the current model of governance fails because it relies on centralised, aggregated decision making, whereas a viable system needs to be decentralised. (see Rifkin’s 3rd Industrial Revolution SBS for more details on this).

    Centralised systems suffer from long communications and decision chains with the result that centrists become out of touch with regional needs, and senior positions act as a honeypot for narcissists and psychopaths and so high costs of operations result. Furthermore, central systems are exposed to severe pathologies if the central controllers have problems (eg Trump, Turnbull, May). These are but some of the reasons that viability demands decentralised decision making and control. One key step to achieving that is to move to independent representation prior to a move to self-representation.

    To surivive we need, as a society, to massively reduce the costs of energy and massively improve communications’ effectiveness and transport efficiency (see Rifkin again). In Australia the governments have stuffed up power systems leaving us reliant on overpriced fossil fuels with centralised inefficient and dodgy power grids.

    Australia needs an efficient communications system with some effective high-bandwidth network that serves the whole country. Transport is a mess with States, Feds and local government all fighting to avoid blame for our shambolic infrastructure. The current serial debacles of governance (in particular) sign a death warrant for politics as usual, but it may take a few years of pain and excruciating embarrassment before we can shuck off the parasitic parties that control our lives in this great freedom-loving democracy of ours.

  37. john hayward

    March 7, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    #4, Simon … I’m not arguing against the democratic and idealistic principles you espouse, but rather the idea that, like ” socialism”, national or otherwise, it could ever be implemented on a broad scale by a species of primates like our own.

    John Hayward

  38. spikey

    March 7, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    apologists often squark
    think of a better system
    in defence of the indefensible
    either pig ignorant
    or aware of the complexities
    of any given task

    i applaud simon for having a go
    and putting his ideas for a better system
    out for discussion
    they sound at least like a step
    in a better direction

    one things for sure
    i’m sick of the tools
    pulling the wool
    over blinkered eyes

  39. Simon Warriner

    March 7, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    re #3 … How so, John?

    You are, from all accounts, an intelligent man, so humour me and explain why this is a theoretical basis for populism. Advancing populism is not my intent as I am happy to leave that to the likes of Howard and the mad monk. What I am trying to get to is to promote the election of sensible, thoughtful individuals who are prepared to tell the electorate it is not able to have stuff when it is appropriate to do so, and live with the consequences of that. I do not see that as populism, but my practical tradesman background may have led me astray.

    And, if populism was the vehicle for Trump as you claim, how come the Democrats were whinging like mad that he got less personal votes than Shillary? Remember, he got in on the Electoral College votes, not the personal vote.

  40. john hayward

    March 7, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    This sounds like the theoretical basis of populism, which turned out to be the vehicle for Trumpty Dumpty. Gene transplants from sponges may be the only way.

    John Hayward

  41. Simon Warriner

    March 7, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    welcome to the conversation, Trevor.

    Perhaps you could expand on your confusion by giving an example so that I can see precisely where the contradictions are.

    The organisation as proposed does not “select” the candidates. The candidates select themselves, put themselves forward, and are free to avail themselves of the services the organisation makes available, or not, as they choose. Otherwise, they would not be independent, would they?

    It is envisaged that those individuals who make up and support the organisation would be doing so for altruistic reasons, and thus have no reason to want to “select” candidates. Critiquing candidate performance may be argued to be “selective” but the criteria are laid out for all to see ahead of any election, and improvement in performance only happens when flaws in performance are pointed out and addressed.

  42. TGC

    March 7, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    As with the present ‘Party’ system, this has its own contradictions and flaws. I’m not absolutely sure for example, how 2 (b,c,d,e) can all function at the same time.
    And of course, how ‘independent’ are the selectors of the ‘independent candidates’?

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