The war on democracy

Tony Fitzgerald, most famous for his role heading Queensland’s (Australia) anti-corruption enquiry has a passionate piece in The Age this morning regarding the disappearance of ethics in the Australian political process.
He argues:

“When leaders fail to set and follow ethical standards, public trust is damaged, community expectations diminish and social divisions expand.”

Coincidentally with the The Age’s publication of Fitzgerald’s speech, Media Watch last night claimed that Paul Keating opened the flood gates to governmnet funded political advertising by spending about $20m prior to the 1996 election. “[T]he Howard Government,” presenter Marr claimed “is spending at least four or five times what the Keating Government spent before that 1996 poll.” tries to remain outside party politics. But both Fitzgerald’s and Media Watch’s pieces are above party politics. They are about the nature of the political process itself and the threat to its very survival. We have no confidence here that either side of politics has any intention of reversing the decline in ethics.
We suggest it is time for all Australians to get involved in politics at the grass roots level. Speak to every candidate in your electorate. Ask them whether they will stand up to their party machines and demand a return to the ethical standards and conventions on which our democracy is based. Ask them if they will follow their conscience to the possible detriment of their careers.
This will demand courage and personal leadership. Surely we owe it to those who sacrificed careers, wealth, friends and many, their lives, to protect with all our beings what they fought for.

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