A dark day for Western Australia

13 09 2008

14/09/2008 Sadly, it was not to be — they’ve laid down with the Liberals after all.

So, alas, even with 5 Green MLCs a minority government will have control of both houses of parliament thanks to a party with 4.9% of the primary vote.

There’s something seriously wrong with our ‘representative’ democracy when the Greens (or anyone else) poll 11.7% and have no direct influence in government policy.

I’m not suggesting we should have a controlling stake, but should the Nationals? Their locus of power is basically the agricultural region. And again, I’m not against that at all: the regions do need a real voice in parliament, and personally I support securing mining royalties for use in rural and regional WA; those mineral resources are owned by the people, and all the people, after all. My point is what of the 11.7% of the population who directly voted Greens [1]? Where is their representation?

There are a great many details I freely admit I don’t know when it comes to our democratic system, but I can’t help but feel that proportional representation should be applied in the lower house as well. Government would become much ‘harder’ because the traditional, adversarial power blocs simply wouldn’t work any more; our elected representatives would have to actually collaborate to get anything done. I want to see full deliberative democracy as the end goal, but surely proportional representation is more democratic than this minority government mess? And yes, I realise that the same would have been true of a Labor + Nats outcome — I only saw that as the lesser of two evils (more amenable to being steered in the right direction), not a desirable state.

To my mind the Liberals have almost nothing to offer by way of policy; they will almost certainly remove any fetters on wholesale unsustainable exploitation of WA’s mineral and oil & gas resources; I cannot imagine they will continue, much less expand, any push for public transport investment or mitigation of oil vulnerability; I have almost no hope they will act in any useful sense to mitigate climate change or remove the systemic barriers to renewable energy; Barnett seems unable to lose his fanciful modernist dreams of some sort of pipeline/canal to somewhere; we can expect to see GE crops befoul the agricultural region and seriously damage any sustainable, organic farming (including export value); and we all know their stance on uranium mining…

Absolutely gutted.

***

Just going from this speculative piece in The West online: http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=77&ContentID=97613

Talk about bitter sweet.

No Liberals-based travesty of a government — and even with 4 MLCs (instead of 5) the Greens would have balance of power in the upper house — but ‘…the door could be ajar to a change in Labor policy which may involve the royalties from uranium mining being spent on Aboriginal issues’.

Is a Labor + Nationals gov at least the better of two evils? I think it must be, given Libs + Nats minority gov would mean we lose balance of power and the Libs’ door is already well and truly wide-open for uranium mining. I know of other members who think a Libs gov would be the better outcome purely because they would be exposed as the idea-less fools that they are, but personally I think 3-4 years is too onerous a price to pay for that mass-realisation…

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