11 Dec. 2009

SMH Election Petition

The Sydney Morning Herald has launched a campaign to amend the NSW constitution to get rid of fixed terms. A modest, and completely non-specific, reform proposal.

The principle that the people should be able to recall the government tends in the direction of democracy. Though the word 'recall' is being bandied around here, the petition does not include it: the simplest way to end fixed terms is to allow parliament to choose when to call an election. There's nothing particularly admirable about that principle. There's no reason to think that things would be better with it.

The campaign for a recall provision is effectively a secondary, subsidiary objective for the paper. This is a noble cause in itself, however. That said, in our current position, it's not possible to see any particular advantage to it. A new election would either legitimise the Labor government, or install a Coalition government that would scarcely be preferable.

The suggestion we would put forward is to abolish the state of NSW, and the states of Australia generally, as the way to deal with the entrenched corruption that can be found in their institutions. They are outdated colonial institutions for which there is simply no longer any need or advantage, only a financial burden to the taxpayer and an obstacle to clarity for the voters.