Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Playing politics

So, I sent off my protest against the stupid Reclaim Your Vote campaign that the Sydney Morning Herald is running. Today's newspaper claims they have collected approximately 19,500 signatures online and 3000 by mail, and the accompanying opinion piece (written by an Opposition flunky) declares this evidence of the need for a public recall option for elections in NSW. He does, however, add the following caveat:

Yes, recall elections would represent a serious constitutional change. The proportion of the population petitioning for a recall election would have to be suitably large so that interest groups are not able to hijack the political process.

Note those words, it would require a "suitably large" proportion of the population. Now, let's do some maths, kiddies:

Let x= the number of people who want to "reclaim their vote"; let y= the population of NSW. If you divide x by y and multiply it by 100, you get z= the percentage of the population who want an end to fixed terms for state pollies.

22,500 divided by 6,980,000 equals approximately 0.32 per cent.

That means a whopping 99.68 per cent want to stick with fixed terms, either because they believe it's a good system, or because they don't really care either way. What do you think, Andrew? Is 0.32 per cent a suitably large proportion to justify faffing around with the Constitution?

I agree that the current government is doing nothing for the state. I think they should suck it up, spend the next 12 months making hard, unpopular decisions that will have a lasting, positive effect on public infrastructure and social issues, then get voted out with a small shred of their dignity intact at the end of their term. I know that, instead, they will probably spend the next 12 months fighting internal faction wars and achieving nothing of importance. But I don't think that allowing a disaffected minority of the population to petition for more elections (when we can hardly be bothered to vote wisely in the ones we've got) is going to make the pollies of any stripe more accountable; I think it will make them even less likely to do anything that takes real political courage.

His Honour quoted something he'd read recently, and I'm not sure who wrote it: "The Right Wing of the Labor Party are not interested in running the state, they are only interested in running the ALP". I think that just about says it all.

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