Dutch Cabinet Resigns over Welfare Debt Scandal. Australian Cabinet Does Not! 16/1/21
The entire Dutch Cabinet resigned over a scandal where welfare recipients were unjustly accused of welfare fraud.
At about the same time, the Australian Federal government had the Robodebt scandal where welfare recipients were assessed by a computer algorithm, accused of fraud and made to pay back monies that they should not have had to and could not afford. Money was deducted from their already inadequate welfare payments and quite a lot committed suicide. The Australian government ‘toughed it out’, i.e arrogantly refused to be held accountable. They settled a class action, which did not even cover what they had taken.
They have pork-barreled to win elections at both a State and Federal level, but have no intention of resigning.
The key lesson here is that there is no mechanism for dealing with the malfeasance of those in power. Trump may be impeached, but that would be an exceptional ‘one off’. In general there is no power that makes governments obey the laws the rest of us have to obey, or to follow the dictates of moral behaviour.
The only solution that I can see is to have the power returned to the people and the country run by regular referenda, once every 3 months at local, State and Federal level where anyone can put up a proposition and if it gets enough signatures it is balloted. If it wins, it becomes law. Federal government laws can be overturned and policies, such as not going into wars, are binding. This is the Swiss system, and their politician are part-time, only allowed two terms and their superannuation system is that their job has to remain open for them. This ensures that the politicians interests cannot differ from the people’s interests.
We have probably never had real power over politicians apart from the ballot box, and now they no longer resign, there is no sanction. They are not willing to take on the powerful, so we have 2 standards of justice, one for the rich and one for the poor. Things are worsening. Barry O’Farrell resigned as Premier of NSW because he forgot he had been given a bottle of wine. That simply does not happen now.
People are talking about changing the constitution for many reasons. It is 120 years old. It was not the absolute wisdom for all time; it was a minimalist document to get the 6 colonies to become States and form a nation under the Queen. We need to go boldly and get a new document. Incidentally the Swiss change their constitution also, just needing a bigger majority in the referendum.
It is about trusting the people, who in general are more principled than the politicians, and after all, have the right to decide.