How to avoid the democratic process within your own party

7 Jun



In December 2014, then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison made this alarming lunge for sole power over citizenship decisions without recourse to judicial review:

The DIBP submission to a Senate committee argues that an elected member of parliament and minister of the Crown has gained a particular insight into the community’s standards and values. This particular insight therefore qualifies Morrison to overrule AAT decisions. It is the bill’s intention to grant a minister, in this case Morrison, the power to determine an individual’s “good character” or otherwise, regardless of any ruling made by the AAT. Morrison’s decision will be unchallengeable.

Peter Dutton has now replaced Morrison as Minister for Immigration and is in the process of attempting a similar grab for sole power over the stripping of citizenship from those he alone deems unsuitable to retain it.

No citizen can have confidence in a government or an opposition that supports one politician being granted absolute power over such decisions. It is absolutely contrary to all democratic instincts and practices. The question we must ask is why is it thought necessary to invest one politician with this much power? The answer is obviously that the government cannot risk internal debate, and is determined to avoid that democratic process. The Minister is answerable to no one within his party, let alone outside of it. It is only a matter of time before more Ministers are granted similar authority over who knows what circumstances, and anyone who believes or trusts otherwise has their head in a sack. The government has no mandate to invest a Minister with absolute power, not even within its own ranks.



There are currently so many disturbing events initiated by the Abbott government it’s difficult to triage, however, surely one of the more alarming is the decision to imprison for up to two years doctors, nurses and teachers who disclose adverse conditions at asylum seeker detention centres on Manus and Nauru.

In spite of the border protection rhetoric that surrounds this decision, it’s apparent to anyone with a brain that the only interests served by imposing these draconian restrictions on professionals who, in Australia, are mandated to report abuses they become aware of in the course of their work, are the interests of the Abbott government, supported by the Labor opposition.

Neither major party wants us or the rest of the world to know what goes on in the off-shore detention centres. Knowledge of abuses inflicted upon the detained cannot possibly be a threat to our national security, and if that is what the major parties continue to insist, they need to explain exactly how they justify that claim.

Indeed, if there was any logic to the government’s argument the ill-treatment of asylum seekers ought to be trumpeted from the rooftops as a deterrence to anyone else attempting to come here by boat. Not only will you never be resettled in Australia, you and your children will be subjected to inhumane treatment and conditions in tropical hell holes as well.

As head of the Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs so eloquently pointed out, we are currently being subjected to an erosion of rights that ought to have us taking to the streets in protest at the over-reach of executive power by the Abbott government. It is not far-fetched to imagine that a government prepared to imprison professionals for doing their jobs in off-shore detention centres will extend that threat to professionals doing their jobs in the homeland, should it serve their interests. There’s certainly no future in entreating the ALP to take a stand, indeed, the ALP seems more than happy for Abbott to do this dirty work.

7 Responses to “How to avoid the democratic process within your own party”

  1. Hawkpeter June 7, 2015 at 1:32 pm #


    Liked by 1 person

    • townsvilleblog June 8, 2015 at 7:32 am #

      Sorry, I’m off my medication. When will the ALP surrender to democracy instead of running the gerrymander system to elect their leaders?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson June 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

        Good question. I must be off my meds as well 🙂


      • doug quixote June 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

        Where is the gerrymander? Until the recent interference in the system, Labor and even Liberal conducted secret ballots amongst those entitled to vote – ie the duly elected members of parliament. Until 2013 those MPs had no one else to blame but themselves for having a dud leader. The Looters Party still have no excuse.


        • Marilyn June 17, 2015 at 1:13 am #

          Actually the leader of the ALP were supposed to vote for the leader, they voted for Albo and got fucking moron coward Shorten.


  2. hudsongodfrey June 8, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    I’m definitely behind Triggs on these issues, but of the lately mooted measures the one that makes least sense to me has to be stripping citizenship from returning immigrant “foreign fighters”. So they can go back and fight some more against us? What’s it supposed to achieve?

    As for repressing dissent, that’s what this is, secrecy is to detention centres as smoke is to fire. It’s that simple!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. samjandwich June 9, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    Re: Joe Hockey saying today that people who can’t afford a house should just get a higher-paying job… might it in fact be the case that the current crop of politicians actually believes that people are (or should be) all just arseholes who only care for their own welfare and who will (or should) trample over anything or anyone to advance it? Perhaps it’s no wonder then that they will interpret any contrary commentary as a personal attack… as if there was anything wrong with that in the first place, as long as it’s warranted.

    Well if that’s the case then these silly little boys are turning this country into a place where life is increasingly less worth living than it might have been – and even though it’s been 30ish years since I could count myself amongst the ranks of little boys I still have the impression that the formation of attitudes can only be substantially affected by outside influences up to about age 10. Otherwise, a bigger stick is required.

    It’s completely unfathomable to me how tthis country could manage to place such a bunch of cowboys in positions of power, and I’m increasingly thinking that a good recession might actually be really useful in refocussing our priorities onto the people who really matter.

    So let’s hope their misanthropy continues to devastate business and consumer confidence as well as everything else. That it should come to this…


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