Hoka-a-a-yyy. What do we, here, now, think we want of a democracy?
Observing the common herd, a few of things stand out. "We" seem to want to not be bothered with "too much information", "We" are happy to let anyone who seems to have the answers to "important" matters look after us; "We" will always let "Them" tell us what "We" want, for example, to be "protected" from hordes of non-caucasians arriving in small leaky boats. "We" are all too willing to be told our national finances are a dogs' breakfast left over from the previous administration, even after two terms of this administration. But "We" don't worry about this administration messing up the books because obviously "They" know what "They" are doing. "We" are happy to have our education system worked over by those who have little experience and by those who have much to gain by selective tweaking. As a result, "We" are entirely happy to know almost nothing about our geographical neighbours, whereas those know quite a lot about us... Which is the way "We" think it should be. "We" want, and are prepared to make a lot of fuss to get, everything for the lowest price possible; and "We" don't care if the product is rubbish because "We" don't know or care better. "We" are entirely happy to be protected from "terrorists" even if that means "They" have to spy on us, beause "Everybody" knows we must all make sacrifices to be safe, and "They" only have our welfare in mind; besides, who knows what those foreigners are thinking anyway? They don't have our fantastic way of life and they're jealous--look at their wages, they can only afford a bowl of rice for dinner! Fortunately the "White Australia Policy" is alive and doing well, the way "We" like it.
No, there's no mention here of political procedure, voting, elections, and all that rubbish. "We" simply don't care, "We" will vote when "They" tell us, and all "We" need to do is select the ones who make the loudest noise. She'll be right, mate!
So, what do we have? As of the last 10 years we have had 5 PMs and two governments. This makes Australia slightly more stable than, say, Italy. Australia builds 0 merchant ships each year in spite of being a maritime nation. Australia crews 0 merchant ships at any time; we manufacture 0 aircraft, 0 automobiles, maybe 1 farm tractor, 1 computer chip (I think). I am actually struggling to think what we make in Oz. We do have our famous submarines made here by foreigners! Much of our food is processed here by foreign companies...
I mentioned Italy. Italy hosts one of the worlds largest automobile conglomerates; it makes its own military aircraft, rocketry, satellites & etc. Italy makes its own merchant and naval shipping; electronics and electrical "white" goods; has a strong Communist Party; and changes governments and PMs the way we change our underclothes.
I think I can say it doesn't matter what style or stability of government we have, it's all about attitude. You can say "She'll be right mate" in Italian: "Sarà bene, amico." But somehow that misses the mark, doesn't it? Not quite the same ring?
Let's look at Australian history. We'll ignore the fact that England's only real competition in those days, the French, saw very little of value here, as did the Dutch and Portugese in slightly earlier days--those two used the WA coast as a convenient way-point: "Turn hard left, Right bloody NOW!" (And a Portugese version of an old reprimand: "Abram vossos olhos!") Australia was no more than a dumping ground for England's untouchables, a by-product of uncontrolled population explosion following the Napoleonic Wars, people forced to live as Fringe-Dwellers on the outskirts of society due to lack of work opportunities. You would be surprised how many deliberately sought Transportation as a passport to any opportunity at all of a better life!
But Australia was ruled as a military barracks and as a Very Big Gaol, simultaneously. The old Class Divisions were perpetuated religiously, and distance from Home enabled the exfoliation of England's more civil ways. Not the extreme punishments, but rather a return to lifestyles more reminiscent of the Hindu Caste system. Responsible Government was established very, very slowly, and only after two mutinies by the soldiery guarding the prisoners.
A good example of "The Australian Way of Life" in those days was the construction of Fremantle Prison, a limestone fear factory build over 7 years from 1852 to replace the old tents and mud huts. A Royal Commission in 1899 stated "The Fremantle Gaol is structurally in no way adapted to meet the very varied purposes which it is now required to serve. The sanitary arrangements are in many particulars defective, and much behind the hygienic requirements of the present day, while the general plan of the prison is such as to needlessly increase the work of supervision and of maintaining discipline among the inmates." The Royal Commission of 1911 reiterated "...but I doubt whether it is wise to expend more money in patching up and trying to improve a place the design of which is utterly opposed to modern views. I am of opinion that the best course would be to erect an entirely new penal establishment on some suitable site out of town..." Of course, with a patriachal government, nothing was done to ameliorate the savage and debilitating conditions. After all, wasn't there a very good way of staying out of Fremantle Prison?
And let us not forget the Pinjarra Massacre, worthy of General Custer at his most brutal.
So, what do we, here in this forum, want of a Democracy? I'll start with a decent education, mainly because I got one, fortunately. This does not mean University. It does mean the 4 Rs (Reading, Riting, Rithmetic and Rote Learning) in Primary School followed by a thorough grounding in English studies, history and geography as separate subjects, at least one foreign language (preferably SE Asian or Aboriginal), basic math and basic sciences in High School. What I did not get, since the school was in an English colony, was Democracy 101 as US students get from day 1. IMHO, it is essential that all students stand up and sing the entire 3 verses of our National Anthem every day. As well, learning the basics of elections in Student Council selection must be mandatory, even the mechanics of campaigning must be studied from an early stage, maybe from Y3. I am definitely in favour of adding an extra year to the High School program to give a total of 13 years, 11 if leaving to get an apprenticeship or something.
I must make a point here, that those parents wanting to send their children to private schools actually pay a double set of tuition fees: the school's fees of course, but they also pay for public school fees out of their taxes. And we criticise them for Un-Australian elitism!
On Elitism. I was involved with an NGO for some years. We found it necessary to rethink ourselves, and one of the tasks was finding a Vision Statement. I suggested one of my old favourites, "Pursuit of Excellence", one of the slogans from the Catholic school our children were attending. Wow! What an onslaught! These were Greenies, the folks you would automatically associate with "something better", and many are Vegans. And none of them wanted "Pursuit of Excellence" because it was too Elitist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder now if this attitude, a hold-over from the old days of class warfare, is not still the reason Australia is in fact a basket case in almost every repect.
Of a Democracy, in my book a good thorough Education is the most basic of requirements. If that's missing, nothing else matters.