BAN POLITICAL DONATIONS
TAKE OUR GOVERNMENTS BACK
FROM THE CORPORATIONS
Anna Bligh, the Premier of Queensland, has stepped up to the plate.
Top marks, Anna.
Let us, the ordinary citizens of Australia,
ask ourselves a few questions.
- How do you feel when, as communities or individuals, you battle against major corporations and don't seem to get a look in even if we get an appointment and the Minister appears to listen and comprehend?
- Are you whinging to yourself, talking back to the TV, whinging to the converted in your organisation about the decisions of government?
- Sitting back in amazement as corporations pay huge money for a table with a Minister at a political party (all parties do this) fundraiser when you are battling to put food on yours?
I can tell you that when I ask myself those questions,
I am thoroughly cheesed off - in the extreme.
I am a member of or connected loosely to a number of organisations with water as their central theme:
- Australian Water Network
- Friends of the Earth Melbourne Water Campaign
- Watershed Victoria
- Plug the Pipe
and I have friends in other states connected to water campaigns in their areas such as Rivers SOS.
And who are we battling against? Who has the ear of government?
- Major corporations such as Suez and Veolia
- Major miners such as BHP Billiton, XStrata, Shenhua, Santos, Woodside
- Agricultural organisations and their lobbyists (sometimes agreement, a lot of times not)
- Publicly owned water corporations who listen to the above and not to the community
In short, individuals are scarcely heard by government.
There is a reason for this. Governments are bureaucracies and bureaucracies do not relate well, if at all, to individuals. They only comprehend entities with some type of organisational basis and the bigger the organisations the more they comprehend. Large organisations have bureaucracies too and communications are best when large bureaucracies ie governments talk to other large bureaucracies ie major corporations.
Of course, the corporations have learned to do it with money, unique business skills, and technology.
Those of us without financial resources
have only ever had one form of power -
numbers formed into effective organisation.
It is high time Australians took their governments back from the corporations and from institutional greed. We can only do this if we take away political donations and substitute total public funding (meaning less spectacular campaigns and advertising!).
There are other things which Bligh says she is doing: making it impossible for Ministers to go straight into the lobbying "profession"; banning success fees and so on. But all those things are nit-picking compared with the ONE THING NECESSARY - banning donations to political parties.
This is an idea whose time has come.
People are still discussing how Obama managed to tap into small people for donations. But, of course, the corporates would not have missed their opportunity either. I am talking about banning the lot - even backyard barbecue fundraisers, of which I have organised many.
Below is the discussion in the USA - with even Jack McCoy of Law and Order in his real life persona as Sam Waterston promoting the idea.
I feel strongly on this issue.
I feel so strongly that I must say that community organisations who do not promote publicly funded elections are doing their constituency a disservice. They are condemning themselves to be voices in the wilderness while the corporates roll on by to Ministerial appointments and fundraising tables with the Ministers.
Let us as individuals and community organisations
get right behind Anna Bligh.
Let's take back our governments
so that we have government for Australians by Australians
not by corporates for corporates...
and their toadying Ministers and ex-Ministers.