[LINK] Internet Voting
Fri, 17 Nov 2000 07:04:09 +1100
At 09:49 AM 16/11/00 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>On Thu, 16 Nov 2000, Rick Welykochy wrote:
> > Or as likely as some legislation tried in Canada: an elected
> > politician is contractually bond to the people to honour
> > his/her election + campaign promises. It got shot down
> > in the first reading. Wonder why.
> Well, Rick, that's because in a parliamentary system,
>it is nearly impossible to do everything one wants to,
>unless one is P.M.. And even then, there are generally rules
>requiring a majority of Cabinet to agree, or of some set of
>major ministers, or something. And if something doesn't get
>done, one can always blame one's minions.
Well, in Australia, we nearly have absolute power except for blockages in
the Senate and even then we can't seem to get Howard to keep his
promises. Cabinet has nothing to do with it. They just lie in order to
get the votes, or worse yet, don't reveal the details enough in order for
the public to make a good decision. Or even worse yet, they get in office
and do the exact opposite of what they said during campaigns, under a
newspeak that 1984 cast members would have understood perfectly.
> What you _really_ want is prop rep or severe limits on
>campaign spending, so that candidates won't be so beholden to
>moneyed interests or the party machinery for their positions.
correct. We have a new bill coming out for FOI in case anyone missed it
for which I just suggested that reduction or elimination of exemptions for
political parties be recommended so that more transparency will be
possible. Fat chance, but worth raising.
> The big problem with California-style referenda is that if
>they're too easy to get on the ballot, they multiply to the point
>that no one can be well-informed on all the issues presented.
Except that at least the people have a chance in this regard and it should
be binding. Referenda, btw, are sent TO the public because the politicians
are deadlocked. Initiatives come from the people TO the politicians
because the politicians won't touch the issue to begin with. I lived in
Arizona where these options existed. They didn't proliferate and they
didn't end up with opposing views on the ballot in my memory. BUT they did
put the people in the picture to voice their views on specific actions that
did not enable politicians to avoid the action all together. This included
voting on specific tax and spend options, like raising state sales tax
[think GST at a state level] in order to fund sports stadia.
> And one question can be the direct opposite of another, or
>maybe not quite, which leads to _huge_ legal problems over the
>interpretation of the will of the people if both of them are
> And if a referendum question really only affects part of the
>populace (say, a petition to open the Sydney Harbour Bridge to
>parades and demonstrations between 2 and 4 a.m. on weeknights),
>and everybody is required to vote on the issue, then how can you
>be sure that the electorate has made an informed decision?
The same way you know if the populace makes an informed choice on any
matter. You don't.
> Lastly, if government by referendum becomes de rigeur, then
>say goodbye to the last vestiges of ministerial responsibility,
>and hello to manipulation of the populace via cleverly-worded
>"polling" questions that can be interpreted however the powers
>that be want them to be interpreted.
It's already there. It's called the media. See above re lying and
misrepresentation. We have government by press release here and the public
swallows it often.
> The devil is in the details.
You got that bit entirely right. :-)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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