The charade of representative government

Why do I use the term ‘charade’? Because I believe representative government is “an absurd pretence intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance” about the concept of government of the people, for the people, by the people. This piece is an attempt to convince you of this charade, if indeed you need convincing at all. Given the seIf-evident nature of its content, I expect many of you will wonder why I have bothered to write this piece at all! I’m beginning to wonder likewise!

Let’s start with the concept of the ‘electorate’.

There are numerous references that explain electorates and electoral systems. Rather than go over established facts, my purpose is to focus on the flaws that beset our electoral system. Ace - The Electoral Knowledge Network is a sound source of information to which you may wish to refer for detailed information. Here is an extract:

The Importance of Electoral Systems

Political institutions shape the rules of the game under which democracy is practised, and it is often argued that the easiest political institution to manipulate, for good or for bad, is the electoral system. In translating the votes cast in a general election into seats in the legislature, the choice of electoral system can effectively determine who is elected and which party gains power. While many aspects of a country’s political framework are often specified in the constitution and can thus be difficult to amend, electoral system change often only involves new legislation and can thus be subject to manipulation by an unscrupulous majority.

Even with each voter casting exactly the same vote and with exactly the same number of votes for each party, one electoral system may lead to a coalition government or a minority government while another may allow a single party to assume majority control.
Don’t we know that all too well!

Moreover, we have seen the allocation of preferences used in a way which has seen individuals elected who have received almost no votes at all.

Suppose we lived in Dickson, Peter Dutton’s electorate. Only LNP supporters would have voted for him. Yet he is there to represent everyone in Dickson. If we were able to have an appointment with him, and if we expressed our dismay that our federal government had no policy to reduce carbon emissions, that its leader expressly rejects the need to have a target to do so, and that we are seriously concerned about the effect of increasing emissions on global warming and its catastrophic potential for worldwide devastation, how would he respond?

Would he argue that climate science is flawed? Would he try to convince us that the ‘warmists’ are deluded, that they belong to a strange cult that is out of touch with reality? How could he represent us if his beliefs were diametrically opposed to ours?

Herein is the fundamental flaw in representative government. It always has been.

Indeed this is democracy’s fundamental flaw. As Winston Churchill famously said way back in November 1947: ”Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”. 

How then should we regard what we like to believe is representative government? All of us live under its spell. Your opinion forms part of what we know is a seriously complex system. Please let us have your opinion. Enrich our understanding.

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While 'electorates', as currently conceptualized, may have relevance for Local government dealing as they do with local issues such as foot paths, drains, pot-holes etc or even State government in some instances, geographical divisions nevertheless seem to lack functionality when it comes to National government.  Whether we go to war or not and other big issues seen more more suited to an electorate of the whole.  And in this age of technology we have the capacity to do just that.

Time to think outside the box and not be limited by historical hang-overs.

Phil Pryor


Pat is right to comment on modern methods of technology, for we should be able to seek opinion and information, and to vote on proposals quickly by electronic means, Matters of faith and trust will always remain. Office holders were once entrenched and many are so today, but, a democratic vote allowed for change, replacement, alternatives to orthodoxy. We must improve this. If Australia is seen as having an ignorant, racist, supremacist, mediaeval, fantasising, unfair society, I do not wish to be so regarded. No form of government may ever approach a flexible, sensible decency...

Ad Astra


Pat and Phil

You are right. We have the technical ingenuity to solicit opinions, ideas and methodologies from our population, and indeed from the entire world.

Why then do we languish in the media cesspit created by the evil one; why is he permitted to tell us only ‘his truth’? Is it because he supports the Morrison government? Because he enables it to stay in power?

How many Rabbits do I have if I have 3 Oranges?