Thursday 1st of December 2022

Citizen Initiated Referenda

I wish to urge Australians to TAKE BACK DEMOCRACY, directly and firmly, by commencing on a series of citizen initiated referenda. Some of the issues facing us have dire consequences and will change our country's character for a long time (if not forever).

I have come to believe that the politicians, we have supposedly elected, have totally disconnected themselves from the voting public. This phenomenon appears to be symptomatic of all politcial parties and is endemic across all constituencies. We have been left with no representation, depite a so-called Member of Parliament sitting in Canberra.

If you think this is a frivolous statement, just think for a moment how quickly the current workplace benefits we all enjoy, will be forgotten should John Howard's IR reform laws be enacted. It only takes ONE GENERATION of workers (which is about one microsecond in this casualised labour force) to forget what a number of generations have fought for and won (e.g. sick pay, workers' compensation, carers' leave ?!).

If you think this is worth getting up as a cause, please leave a comment, otherwise be silent in your apathy!

cir? where have you been?

go to and find out what to do. it won't be quick, it won't be glamorous- but i think it will work.

Citizens' Initiative

Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

 In the absence of a strong and constitutionally binding Bill of Rights, the right of Citizens to initiate referanda that bind a government can be a very dangerous instrument in a modern pluralistic democracy.

 On some of the hottest isues of the day, Work Choices and Welfare to Work, Anti-Terrorist Legislation, I have little confidence on what the outcome of a plebescite might produce.

Certainly there would be risk to unpopular minority groups in a broad based right to citizen initiated referanda ('CIR').

To the best of my knowledge, only Switzerland and Italy amongst democratric nations have the rigt to CIR. Some 20 or so US States have similar rights.

Successful CIR, ie, CIR that result in binding law are as rare as hen's teeth, particularly if the government of the day is opposed to the substance of the referendum, the notable exception being Proposition 13 in California.

Emotionally, I love the idea of CIR. On reflection, however, I see potential for more harm than good.

if cir might result

in a decision you don't like, the majority of the electorate are wrong, and you, plus john howard, are right?

perhaps you'd like to explain government policy, as you seem to feel being at war in iraq, and limiting people's freedoms are good ideas.

not so incidentally, switzerland has been at peace since 1848, has a currency so stable that it is still often used as a barometer, always is in contention for highest standard of living, has four language/ethnic groups plus 20% of current population is foreigners, many refugees. it is also one of very few countries that can claim to be a democracy- in large part because it has cir. with a population of only 5 million, it has played a major role for many years in promoting peace and charity.

in what part of it's record does australia compare?

well, ozzie women have had to privilege of endorsing pollie rule for longer than swiss women have had the power of directing their country. considering the relative value of these powers, i reckon the swiss are ahead here, too.

the simple fact that howard legitimized the invasion of iraq by his participation, without consulting the people who will suffer if this attack inspires retribution, should show you the value of democracy.

germany, japan, america and australia have all been taken to war by a militarist regime. the outcome taught germany and japan to study peace. america only learned there are no rules if your army is the biggest. australia only learned to be america's lackey.

the role of switzerland in the world seems vastly superior to the path and practices that australian pollies have led us into. i hope we may learn from this model.