“You’d think it would be bleedingly obvious that if 87% of the population agreed with a proposition, then our members of parliament would dutifully and faithfully reflect that view when it came to voting on legislation … It turns out that many of our MPs are quite happy to represent us – but only so long as they agree with us.”
“When it comes to abortion (or similarly divisive issues such as same-sex marriage, assisted death or even stem cell research) many MPs ditch the idea that they are our representatives, and instead impose upon us personal opinions dictated, they tell us, by their consciences.”
Haw! Haw! Conscience votes are almost as rare as a sighting of that famous bird, the dodo. Our parliamentary representatives are selected by their parties to be elected by us, on condition that they vote as dictated by party chiefs. Or else! The whole system is so authoritarian that a Prime Minister apparently took Australia to war recently without parliamentary approval.
Who are the controllers of our political parties? How did they achieve their control? I doubt if either academe or the media could enlighten us. All that we know is that the first priority of our political parties is to be re-elected; but not at the price of giving up any theology-related policy.
What is interesting is that Census data shows that just 61% of us are Christian; and that Roman Catholics represent 25% of Christians. That is, no more than 15% of the population could be identified as bound by the theology of the Vatican. This has significance in relation to policy in relation to assisted death (or voluntary euthanasia – no ‘killing’ involved) – a matter of great interest to the very elderly as they deteriorate, with increasing pain, in institutional care. (Where are the loved ones they brought up?)
Voting is compulsory in Australia, unlike other Western nations. Yet, reportedly, about 400,000 youths aged between 18 and 25 are not enrolled to vote. Many more allegedly submitted informal ballot papers. Is there any penalty for non-enrolment?
Vatican theology reached new heights in 2013 in the State of New South Wales. According to Anne Summers, a respected journalist, whom I quoted at the start of this post, “The vote for Zoe’s Law … involved a 63-26 majority of Lower House members … in favour of granting personhood to the foetus.” (Ye Gods!) In this so-called democracy, Vaticanites seem to have achieved control over both sides of politics, as well as the public services in the nation. Are we too well fed to care?
Minority rule is not democratic, especially if guided by a restrictive theology. Refer ‘Keeping the bastards honest’ in my book ‘The Karma of Culture’ (available at amazon kindle at $US 2.99 or $A 3.99). Yet, we preach, in lofty tones, to other nations about the effulgent beauty of Western democracy!
(Anne Summers’ article was published in the May 14/15 issue of ‘News Review’ in the Sydney Morning Herald)