DEMOCRACY NEEDS SOME TLC
Churchill said "democracy is the worst form of government yet devised ... except for all the rest". Democracy is messy and noisy. It requires respect for, and faith in, the system to function properly.
Born on the first day of the 20th century, the Commonwealth of Australia has the rare honour of creating itself by popular vote.
As such a 'young' country we are the fortunate beneficiaries of millenia of trial and error in how best to run a society for the benefit of its members and future. We have also led the world in voting systems.
Our democratic roots are strong and deep, but how well is the system working for us?
Too often political games have blocked evidence-based policy, and the results have been simply perverse.
Sports rorts; car 'porks'; land for airports; water rights quirks; lurks; perks - the list of the dubious is long and familiar.
Advancing sensible policy to deal with the issue dwarfing everything, climate change, has destroyed the careers of prime ministers both Labor and Liberal.
The Member for Farrer and Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley has recently approved four new coal mines but not a solar hub, supposedly because of climate concerns. The Commonwealth is appealing a court decision that the minister has a duty of care to the children of Australia. The government thinks they don't?
Now there is even a proposal taxpayers could underwrite fossil fuel miners (including foreign companies) by up to $250 billion (because banks won't take the risk).
Moves to crack down on social media misinformation are to be commended.
A requirement for some honesty in political advertising would also be welcome.
The Abbott-led fear attack in the 2013 election was followed by Labor's Mediscare in 2016, then the Coalition's tax terror campaign of 2019.
Judging from advertising already, the portents are not good for the next election.
We need a powerful, transparent federal anti-corruption commission, with public hearings. Not the sham the government is proposing to hide behind. We also need much more transparent rules around political donations. Our fine democracy is overdue for some maintenance.
David Ball, Wagga
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WAR RULING MAKES NO SENSE
Over the years there have been many movies and television shows about the devastating effect of World War II in the UK.
When we had to sort out my late father's belongings after he passed away at the age of 96 we found a letter he received from the Queensland Office of Veterans' Affairs in May 2002 when he applied for a Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (aka Orange Card).
He was a rear gunner in Halifax bombers in the RAF from March 1943 until the end of the war. He continued to serve until August 1947.
He was informed that as "the British government never declared the country to be a theatre of war" he was not entitled to an Orange Card.
On appeal he was awarded the Orange Card as he had performed active service in the air over enemy territory during his time in Bomber Command.
I wonder what the residents in the UK, especially London and surrounding areas, would have thought had they been told they were not in a war zone during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz?
Sandra Smith, Macgregor ACT
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