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Byron Shire
September 18, 2021

Let’s hear it for the independents

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Democracy in Australia has been infiltrated, perverted and subverted. It is now no more than corporate will imposed through the media, academia and bureaucracy. The main political parties have only one option: to woo big business and enact laws for their benefit.

Election after election we, the voters in Australia, get the same result, a Liberal or a Labor government with the same agenda; that is the big corporations’ program. Cuts in public services, reduced taxes for big earners, more deregulation of the media, overriding of laws protecting the environment, more powers to the police and banks and increased penalties for dissenters.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749–1832) said: ‘In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable’.

This travesty is made possible because the corporate media (the only widely read and seen news and current affairs) relentlessly manipulate the community to manufacture public opinion to advantage them.

The major political parties in Australia are well aware of that fact and dance to corporate violin. The Greens and others who refuse to play the game suffer constant denigration.

Corporate power is not only in the media but also within the public bureaucracies and academia. Top public servants, scientists and NGOs hold discourse with corporate lobby groups and some are even on their payroll and the show goes on to the echo of Yes Minister.

The situation seems hopeless: we are in deep water surrounded by hungry sharks; however, here comes the steel cage. The only politicians who are resistant to the onslaught of corporate control are the independents. Their policies are sometimes narrowly focused but they are mainly genuine and want the best outcome for their electorate.

The reason they are not as susceptible is because corporate control cannot be effective against them.

Let us look at Tony Windsor for example. Big business-owned media, NGOs and academia can vilify him as much as they want. At the extreme, the majority of Australians will have a negative opinion of him but does that really matter to his electorate? Not really, because it is well within his capability to have face-to-face contact with his electorate and counteract bad publicity. On the other side of the coin if he (Windsor) does not do what his electorate wants, he can be harassed and even made to resign. Now this is participatory democracy.

Imagine for a moment the Australian parliament dominated by independents (as it is to a small degree now) who are free of party allegiance. Politicians will be forced to debate important issues, pay attention to independent advice from informed members of the public and not just bow to corporate dictate.

Almost 80 per cent of Australians want to see economics that relies on longevity and not short-term profits. But is that reflected in the major party policies?

The iron grip that big corporations have over governments must be demolished for the long-term good of the country. For priorities such as clean air, water and soil, unadulterated food production, protection of biodiversity, renewable energy, good public housing and transport, community engagement, humanitarian policies and an end to wars of aggression.

I say it is well past time to get out of the sick bed and look more closely at independent candidates or even become one.

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