Does Australia need more politicians?

Only 13 per cent of Australians have ever spoken to their representative.

Do we need more politicians?

New research from The Australia Institute (TAI) shows that the number of constituents represented by each Federal MP has tripled since Federation and only 13 per cent of Australians have ever spoken to their representative.

The report also shows that the increase in parliamentarians has not kept pace with Australia’s population, with representation per capita halving since the 1950s.

A national opinion poll released with the report, conducted by Research Now on behalf of TAI, asked Australians about their relationship with their local Member of Parliament.

Less than a third of respondents felt confident that they would be able to speak with their local MP if they were concerned about a current political issue.

The poll also showed that only 16 per cent of respondents had written to their local MP and 61 per cent of respondents did not know the name of their local MP.

“Representative democracy is built on the idea that politicians are accessible to their electorate and will take the views and values of their community to Parliament,” TAI Executive Director Ben Oquist said.

“Seven in 10 Australians don’t feel confident that they could raise concerns with their local MP. That is not surprising given that less than two in 10 have ever spoken to him or her.

“The disconnect between members and their electorates is a vicious cycle, where low engagement leads to people valuing their representatives less.”

Half of those surveyed say that the number of federal parliamentarians should be decreased and just nine per cent say that the number should be increased.

The number of Australians that each senator and local member must represent is at its highest point since Federation.

“In 1901, there were 34,500 Australians for every federal parliamentarian. In 1951, it was 46,900. Today, there are about 106,000 Australians per parliamentarian,” Mr Oquist explained.

“It will take real leadership to break this cycle and admit that our politicians may be stretched too thinly.

“A functioning democracy is not expensive. The risk of the public losing confidence in our democracy and it becoming dysfunctional would be the most costly option.”

Opinion: Be careful what you wish for

It seems counter-intuitive but more politicians may actually be the answer to Australia’s current democratic malaise.

Democracy in Australia is definitely struggling. Late last year, an Essential survey found that 73 per cent of Australians think politics is fixated on short-term gains and not on addressing long-term challenges.  

Only 34 per cent thought politicians were good at making difficult decisions when representing their communities, and just 39 per cent thought that parliaments were effective at tackling the major challenges facing their communities.

Most people don’t want to see more politicians in Australia because they believe they are more interested in looking after big corporate donors rather than the interests of the community.

Therefore, before we look at increasing the number of politicians in our parliament we need to make sure our politicians are playing by the rules – and that starts with a federal corruption watchdog with teeth.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced on Tuesday that the Labor Party would commit to a federal anti-corruption watchdog if it wins the next election.

Mr Shorten also told the National Press Club that his Integrity Commission would have the sweeping powers of a royal commission and would examine "serious and systemic corruption in the public sector".

Increasing the number of politicians would give parliamentarians a smaller electorate to focus on and make it easier for voters to mobilise to influence their representatives.

An increase in the number of parliamentarians would make it easier for them to engage with – and be engaged by – the community they are supposed to represent. This would in turn underscore the value of parliamentarians, and improve public attitudes to politicians, but first we need to know that we are not just getting more of the same.

What do you think? Have you ever spoken to your local MP? Do you think Australia would be better served by more politicians?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    TREBOR
    31st Jan 2018
    10:50am
    1) Only if we modify their conditions of tenure first, and ensure that in the modern day ad age, they are treated like any other contracted employee and not like royalty who need to be coddled for life.

    2) Only if they enter a signed agreement with their electorate to put the electorate first and the party second.

    3) Only if they divest themselves of the delusion that they are there to run us, and promise to remove some of their most destructive legislations of recent years.

    4) Only if they enter a signed agreement that they will be totally transparent, and will divorce themselves of the delusion that someone their position is entitled to 'business in confidence'.

    5) Only if they sign an ]agreement that they will offer a clear accounting of their expenditure and revenue each year.

    6) Only if they enter an agreement to not proceed with foreign deals without the consent of the people.

    7) Only if they are forbidden to engage in any business that has connections with and benefits from government funding and government policy initiatives once they retire.

    Add more as you wish.
    jackie
    31st Jan 2018
    11:37am
    NO because we already have too many milking the system. Reduce their salaries, perk and benefits. Have their pensions means tested and the same amount as the rest of Australia.
    GeorgeM
    31st Jan 2018
    2:09pm
    NO more politicians.
    Even with the current useless mob, we need to immediately have:
    a. Removal of all their special entitlements and perks, especially on retirement. They must be treated in exactly the same way as any other contract employees with no special pensions, perks, etc on retirement - should apply to Centrelink as anyone else on same rules.

    b. Integrity Commission / ICAC - not only for watching them while in Office, but also to BAR THEM from taking up employment / contracts with Companies, Countries or their Representative Organisations whom they could have favoured while in office or thereafter thru contacts (back-dated to cover people such as A.Robb, B.Carr, P.Keating, etc).
    Triss
    31st Jan 2018
    3:13pm
    Also get rid of the Remuneration Tribunal, or whatever it’s called. A normal salary with no increases between elections.
    Of course, if we had to have extra politicians then they would have to be over 70 so retired people are represented.
    Anonymous
    31st Jan 2018
    3:23pm
    The problem with your rule 5, Bob, is that they all do that now. The rules around what constitutes "official business" and their private business are so wide that a B Double could be driven through. Politicians get an invite to go to the Australian Open and immediately ask a staffer to fabricate an "official business" event to cover all the travel and accommodation to avail themselves of the free ticket.
    libsareliars
    31st Jan 2018
    4:48pm
    Spot on Trebor, well said.
    Patriot
    31st Jan 2018
    7:14pm
    TREBOR,
    The only disagreement I have with you is that the party the Elected Representative belongs to is to receive his/her 2nd loyalty. POLITICAL PARTIES ARE ILLEGAL!!!!!

    Section 44 - Subsection 5 of the Australian Constitution reads as follows - and I quote verbatum:
    Any person who:
    . . . . . . . . . . (v) has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons;
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

    Below is the conclusive proof that the 4 major Australian political parties are incorporations and we all know that the number of members is well exceeded to qualify for section 44 (v) of the Australian Constitution!

    https://abr.business.gov.au/SearchByAbn.aspx?abn=15217882958
    https://abr.business.gov.au/SearchByAbn.aspx?abn=68075415882
    https://abr.business.gov.au/SearchByAbn.aspx?abn=49269815144
    https://abr.business.gov.au/SearchByAbn.aspx?abn=98738022715

    Just a shame that our (???) High Court was able to read & interpret the section relating to “Dual Citizenship” and totally ignored another VITAL section under the same heading.
    Makes one question if, in general, the High Court is defending & protecting the “Common People”.

    The whole SCAM played out in Canberra is only able to be maintained because WE – the People – have been totally de-educated and collectively are too gutless to protect the future of our (Grand)children! Woo is THEM!!!

    And it is NOT the Constitution that is at fault because – when correctly interpreted & applied – it will always protect us- the common people.
    It is the Criminal Politicians who are the problems and we are simply the “Accessory-to-their-CRIMES”!!!!
    So – as a conclusion – will our (grand)children find us (collectively) guilty of the crime of not preserving Australia as a fully functional democracy for them????
    There is no happier slave than the one who thinks he/she's free!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb8Rj5xkDPk
    Rosret
    1st Feb 2018
    7:42am
    Trebor No. 6
    Before Brexit, the yes vote etc etc where they had plebiscites I thought in the technology age perhaps we could all vote on issues rather than following a party line.
    However, after seeing what happened with the 'Yes' vote and the horrible lies, fake news and religious bias that flooded the media I realised how stupid and cruel the mass can actually be.
    We do need intelligent, researched decisions and we must trust in those we have chosen to make our decisions for us or we end up with mob rule.
    TREBOR
    1st Feb 2018
    8:54am
    Question is, Ros - do 'we' actually choose these people, or are they foisted upon us by a morally derelict party system?

    Most people who vote wouldn't have clue one about the person they are voting for, but they can guarantee that person, unless a true independent, will vote along party lines regardless of the wishes of the electorate and the genuine best interests of the nation and its people.

    As a party member they are bound to the central philosophy of that party, and is has become more and more clear that the central philosophy of our two major parties has little to do with the genuine best interests of this nation and its people, but more to do with ego-strutting and satisfying the demands of selected special interest groups, all of which have an amazing ability to 'justify' their demands as being the best for all.

    e.g.

    'what's good for business is good for all' - no, it's not.

    'what's good for (our now majority party members) women (Blacks, ethnics etc) is good for all' - no, it's not.

    Politics has become a career of self-advancement rather than a service to this nation and its people - in reality it always has been, but we are only becoming aware of it more in this modern age - and one of the biggest problems is that we, as a nation, are mostly unaware of what they will get up to once they are elected, since the parties have another amazing ability - to mask their real policy directions under rhetoric, or by splitting those into the now infamous 'core' and 'non-core' promises - a situation in which the devil is almost always in the 'non-core' promises and in the issues that are never spoken about prior to election.
    RayL
    31st Jan 2018
    10:52am
    I would argue there should be less politicians. I believe it was Gough Whitlam who raised the prospect of having only two tiers of government, local and federal. It makes so much sense when you think about it.
    Tib
    31st Jan 2018
    12:54pm
    I agree , state governments just seem to increase the number of arguments and give them someone else to blame when something goes wrong. A serious reduction in local government would also be valuable , less local councils. If we want money for local services we need less money spent on administration. Get some of the snouts out of the trough.
    Anonymous
    31st Jan 2018
    5:48pm
    I agree RayL, the confusion that arises whenever there is an election is, in a lot of cases, caused by the blurred lines between what is a state responsibility and what is a federal responsibility. All departments are duplicated although their functions are different. Take education; federal education gives the states an amount which the state distributes yet when there is a federal election the government (both sides do it) cops the blame for individual state school problems. Same with health, states are given a bulk amount which states distribute.

    Of course at a state election, education and health is blamed on the federal funding to deflect the spotlight being put on state mismanagement. If we cut out state governments the duplication would save taxpayers $billions in salaries and expenses.

    Interestingly, the New Zealand economy is flying and they only have a single tier of government, no Upper House. We could do away with our Senate which is no longer a house of review as originally set down. It is annoying when an opposition can block legislation in the Senate when that same legislation was a part of the election promises of the opposition.
    TREBOR
    1st Feb 2018
    9:04am
    In all honesty, I can't laud a small country like NZ after panning the likes of The Corrmanator and his small and narrow ideas on economic and social issues, stemming from his upbringing in (gasps) Belgium, a country way too small and compressed with people to have any comparison with Australia.

    Also (perhaps here but certainly elsewhere), I've cited the relative lack of a population base here, spread over a vast area, as rendering this nation incapable of supporting the kind of 'privatised' supply of gas and power and roads (and increasingly health) that has been foisted upon us. We simply lack the population base in which such overly capitalist dedicated to profit first activities can function without being an excessive burden on the relatively few people here.

    The United States, with a similar area, has nineteen times our population - a vastly bigger pool from which to draw cash for service, which renders a much more significant 'economy of scale' and greater genuine competition*.

    * essentially such things as power supply, roads, gas (and increasingly healthcare) are provided by 'closed shops' here, operating essentially as cartels....these cartels, in league with the very 'government' that has sold off these utilities and which retains a portion of them as a revenue gatherer (hidden taxes), then imposes 'cost' increase on the end user so as to generate THEIR profit. The sad part is that prior to the sellout there was no NEED to generate profit to satisfy shareholders and multiple corporation structures and overpaid executives and boards etc, and the consumer pays for it all.

    Hidden taxes when that 'profit' portion goes back to the original vendor of the 'business' - the 'government'.
    mogo51
    31st Jan 2018
    10:55am
    What are you smoking? Why would we want more of these inconsiderate, self centred, self opinionated morons paying themselves excessive salaries and giving themselves free everything.
    Why should politicians retirement rights be any different from the rest of Australians.
    GeorgeM
    31st Jan 2018
    2:10pm
    Exactly.
    Beeman
    31st Jan 2018
    12:01pm
    Why would more people approach their politicians when they know that the individual can do nothing if it bucks the party.?
    With today's quick travel and almost instant communication we should be able to have fewer politicians covering the ground.
    Too many people who have 'important' jobs believe that it makes them personally important and above the rest of us when it comes to hand outs.
    Knight Templar
    31st Jan 2018
    12:08pm
    This article is referring to Federal politicians. When you take into consideration State MP's (upper and lower Houses) and local government councilors, Australian taxpayers/ratepayers are effectively over-governed. Fewer politicians sucking on the public teat would be preferable.
    Seenitall
    31st Jan 2018
    12:22pm
    I agree with RayL, we only need two levels of government , local and federal. State governments would have made sense over one hundred years ago when the sheer size of the nation would have made each state seem very much like an independent country but that's not the case now. Coming from New Zealand to Australia in my early twenties the often toxic nature of State v Federal politics in this country seems very clear to me as doing more harm than good much of the time. It will need people of enormous strength and courage to bring about any change tho', too much vested interest in the form of poorly performing politicians clinging on to that gravy train.
    GeorgeM
    31st Jan 2018
    2:16pm
    NZ solutions don't work here, NZ being a small country. The Local Councils are the worst with corruption as they can directly favour Developers and various other contractors - does a certain ex-Auburn councillor in Sydney who had a massive nonsensical public wedding come to mind? State Govts needs to watch them more closely.
    But I do think there should not be overlap of services such as for managing Education & Health between Federal & State Govt departments.
    BJ
    31st Jan 2018
    12:27pm
    I might throw my hat in the ring if i try really hard i think i could be as incompetent/inconsiderate/greedy and self centered as the current politicians
    TREBOR
    1st Feb 2018
    9:14am
    You'd have to train hard, BJ... the parties all have their 'junior' trainee systems and their in-house monitoring and training systems, and countless trainers and staffers to sit around all day and work out the latest 'spin' so a bowl of rotting slime can be fed to a gullible public as a 'good meal'.

    You don't seriously believe that the politicians who stand on the steps and utter 'the right words' about some pending or current issue come up with those from the heart and out of their own personal thinking, do you?

    It's all been exhaustively tried and tested 'back-stage' long before the public performance.... and every possible outcome from a 'policy thrust' has been brain-stormed long before it ever reaches the public ear.

    FDR said that in politics nothing happens by accident - never a truer word spoken. So if you see the outcome from, say, 'domestic violence laws' (industrial relations, immigration) for what they are - massive social disruption, division, disintegration of families, destruction of marriage as a core social value, escalating conflict and deaths and injuries and countless 'social' casualties in many ways, and long-term permanent changes in the way couples 'co-operate' - you can safely say those 'outcomes' were worked out long in advance, and are part of a planned strategy to achieve.... something.

    Your major task is to ask yourself - and ask this nation - WHY?

    Apply that reasoning to all 'policy thrusts' and you should begin to see a picture emerge of where this nation is being herded.

    The main question is WHY.
    Spitfire
    31st Jan 2018
    12:27pm
    Don't we have enough parasites already bleeding this nation dry for all they can get out of it by fair means or usually fowl. Personally I would vote to exterminate them all. If we must have them at least make them accountable for their actions. We need accountability and harsh enforceable action for transgressors.
    floss
    31st Jan 2018
    12:34pm
    Less politicians less immigration it is not working our present system.
    musicveg
    31st Jan 2018
    2:27pm
    Check out the Sustainable Australia Party, they want to reduce 'legal' immigrants from 200,000 a year to 70,000 a year.
    Anonymous
    1st Feb 2018
    7:39am
    ZERO immigration is what we need.
    Rosret
    31st Jan 2018
    12:40pm
    Have I spoken with my local MP - Yes. He is great probably one of the best parliamentarians I have come across in a long time. He is there for the people of the Illawarra probably ahead of his own party lines.
    Do we need more politicians? - NO.
    Is the two party system in trouble? yes. Because Labor and Liberal are so similar in policy and we, the people, are better educated we know ultimately everything has to be paid for so the the financial pie is divided fairly uniformly year in year out.
    The new immigrants to our nation vote on who they perceive as the better party unlike our "Ford" and "Holden" population who pretty much made up their minds at birth on socio-economic culture.

    So what has gone wrong?
    The country is pretty much evenly split so either party in power is paying homage to the minority parties and Independents. So instead of having good solid policy its continually being watered down to favour parties such as the Greens.

    I think if we want better administration the press need to stop nit picking the parliamentarian's grammatical faux pas and judge them by what they achieve and what they stand for.

    I find it unbelievable how nasty people think they can be to Parliamentarians. Would you want to be on the other end of the emotional battering they constantly receive?
    TREBOR
    31st Jan 2018
    3:44pm
    If I was on the other end of the emotional battering they hand out, I'd feel entitled to hand some back to them.

    I'm sick of their breaking other people's eggs to get their omelette, which usually has nothing to do with any of those whose eggs they've broken.

    Coming up with sweeping ideas that affect millions and then passing all the collateral damage off as 'for the best benefit of the most' is not good enough.

    clear examples are how one side expects us to swallow the ridiculous idea that anything good for business is good for everyone - and the other that anything that's good for their strident, demanding minorities is good for everyone.

    Recent history clearly tells us otherwise....
    4b2
    31st Jan 2018
    12:50pm
    Since when did politicians represent their local electorate? They all follow party policy. Until we get parliamentary reform such as compulsory and secret voting within the system we don't need more freeloaders. The upper house in federal parliament should be controlled by the States not as an extension of the lower house as it is now.
    mr.auspicious
    31st Jan 2018
    1:02pm
    Australia is one country and requires only one parliament. State parliaments are a relic
    of the horse and buggy days. Nowadays their existence does little more than inhibit the
    future development of the country.

    Constitutional reform seems the only solution and not surprisingly this has been largely
    ignored by self serving politicians. As a result the electorate has been foisted with counter
    productive political agendas, as well as the costly duplication of health, education, law
    enforcement, transport, energy etc.etc.

    It's probably idealistic but politicians need to govern with courage and foresight, and a
    process of constitutional reform, appears a good place to start......
    KSS
    31st Jan 2018
    1:06pm
    "The poll also showed that only 16 percent of respondents had written to their local MP and 61 per cent of respondents did not know the name of their local MP."

    “Seven in 10 Australians don’t feel confident that they could raise concerns with their local MP. That is not surprising given that less than two in 10 have ever spoken to him or her."


    If this is true, it seems to me that the ones we've got are not actively engaging with their electorate and need to be doing a better job locally than they are. Perhaps cut back on the overseas 'study' trips and spend more time actually getting to know people outside their own immediate social networks.

    Until the recognition and engagement factors are above the 90% mark we do not need any more
    musicveg
    31st Jan 2018
    2:31pm
    Maybe it is just the people they asked are too busy making ends meet, or when they have approached an MP he does not respond. I send letters all the time but I always get the same type of answer, bragging about their party whilst putting down the other. On a local level it is a joke, only the business people or those with some influence in the community seem to get heard, that I believe is why some of the people have responded as such.
    Anonymous
    1st Feb 2018
    7:35am
    Maybe people have given up trying to communicate with bludging turds who don't respond because they are too busy figuring out how to rort their allowances system and what mansion to buy next with their overly inflated pay packets, not to mention how to stash their cash in the Caymans and avoid tax.

    A friend sent a very urgent appeal for help to EIGHT politicians tover two months ago. Not a single response. I sent letters to every single Federal Member a few years back. One replied. Why would anyone bother?
    johnp
    31st Jan 2018
    1:07pm
    Agree with most here,
    no more pollies needed to milk the system for all is worth and bleed taxpayers dry !!
    Sen.Cit.90
    31st Jan 2018
    2:34pm
    Yes, I too have read all comments and agree in some way with all.
    I still advocate as I have other times, a change to the Government system similar to that of Switzerland. "Citizens Referendum" ability to remove Pollies that do not work for their constituents.
    Triss
    31st Jan 2018
    3:20pm
    I agree we need a Citizens’ Referendum.
    ex PS
    1st Feb 2018
    9:17am
    Giving the people the right to remove politicians who are not performing or lied to get votes would be a good way to restore confidence in government.
    Why not have a system where all politicians are allocated KPI's based on their election campaign promises with an automatic trigger that requires them to go to a referendum if they fail to meet their promises.
    They could be replaced by the politician who ran second in the original vote , of course we could only apply this to members of the governing party and it would not work for incoming members replacing those being thrown out. But it would put controls on the parties in power to make sure they kept election promises.
    Not a Bludger
    31st Jan 2018
    1:12pm
    Absolutely not - too many of them now in the 3 levels of government and all (+ their civil servants) living off my coin.

    Just look how difficult it is to get local councils to stop doing everything except roads, rubbish & rates.

    And as to Bill Shorten (crooked ex union boss who dudded his members and ran secret slush funds) promoting an Integrity Commission - oh my Lordy - talk about poacher trying to turn gamekeeper.
    TREBOR
    31st Jan 2018
    3:45pm
    The poachers always figure that their game is not the one that needs attention...
    VicCherikoff
    31st Jan 2018
    1:22pm
    In my view we need to use the blockchain technology and ethereum contracts to vote for issues, not politicians. Some issues may need to be grouped where sensible to do so and the number of political representatives applied to get the issues addressed within reasonable timeframes. In fact, it might be more that we allocate the right management teams within the Public Service rather than politicians who seem to be becoming more redundant as time progresses.
    HarrysOpinion
    31st Jan 2018
    1:38pm
    More politicians means that the burden on taxing the proverbial out of hardworking Australians becomes of paramount focus so that politicians can afford to buy up all of those million dollars mansions for themselves.
    HarrysOpinion
    31st Jan 2018
    1:40pm
    Need I provide examples of who?
    MICK
    31st Jan 2018
    2:20pm
    More politicians? Are you serious Ben?

    What we need is accountability and aa mechanism whereby politicians and/or their party are acting contrary to the interests of the nation. The current lot who continue to sell us all out need to face the courts and ultimately be jailed for what they are doing to the country but nobody seems to bring up anything other than the normal chestnuts. Still waiting to hear the next round of 'School Halls' whilst the huge and growing deficit from the current bunch never seems to matter despite being more than double what Labor's deficit was with nothing to show other than another expensive Royal Commission or postal vote on nonsense.
    From what I see of the management in this country from all levels I have to ask if, once the mine runs out of product, will we become a part of the third world. Frightening future.
    TREBOR
    31st Jan 2018
    3:52pm
    We already are part of the Third world, Mick - in everything but title... we are a Banana Republic pure and simple, are rapidly losing any concept of legal and civil rights, are losing rights to negotiate fairly over pay and conditions, our 'leaders' are busily squirreling away billions into offshore accounts for their own benefit while riding the gravy train here as well, we are rapidly becoming a nation of 'hand-out' part-time casual jobs and thus tenants in jobs rather than jobholders (visions of the big burly boys lining up at the dock gate to get a night loading bananas and the overseer picking the few he wants/likes and the rest going back home to explain to the family why there is no meal tonight, rather than the loaf of bread and slab of dripping the loader's earnings will buy - Jesus - I read about the world cruise of HMAS Sydney the cruiser, and in Jamaica some Blacks were hanged for organising a bus driver strike), we are rapidly becoming a nation of tenants in our own homes at the behest of the banks etc, and many can't even get that gig while 'business' romps to the banks and back out the door with a bag of cash to buy up another property (pauses for breath)...........
    TREBOR
    31st Jan 2018
    4:02pm
    (breath caught) We have 'governments' at all levels who are intent on pursuing policies of division and massive escalation in costs of living while divesting themselves of direct personal responsibility via the process of 'privatisation', governments that pursue social policy without a moment's concern for collateral damage (make up some 'laws' to stop people bashing the proverbial out of their missus/whoever and then use those 'laws' to bash and criminalise countless people who are merely caught up in a normal disagreement so as to hand to the instruments of law powers to which they have no entitlement in a properly run democracy, and wonder why that war they started is escalating as we speak and will continue to do so), divide people against one another in families by vile usage of 'family' law and deliberately offering preference to one side over the other, create schisms in the streets by funding, advocating and promoting specified groups who have been handed 'Accredited Victim Status' in working out how they can burn down the nation and re-build it to suit themselves, falsely based immigration policies that deliberately work against social cohesion and the prosperity of the nation while bringing in hordes of Third World peasants who are used to finding any means of survival even cheating the system......

    (draws breath again)....

    You reckon we aren't already a Third World country? All we lack is the kids picking over the garbage heaps and the death squads cruising the major cities to root out the socially undesirables and leave them on the same garbage heaps....

    Anyone got more ideas on chopping pensions and sustenance money for those thrust to the margins of the workforce?
    musicveg
    31st Jan 2018
    2:37pm
    Why don't they split their wages and go part-time? Oh that's right most of them already work part-time, but if we pay them less we can pay for more pollies.
    I send letters to MP's but you get the same response, bragging about what they are already doing or 'going to do' and putting down the other parties.
    Maybe they should just learn to do the job for the people and not for a few privileged ones.
    Geminiwoman
    31st Jan 2018
    2:41pm
    Good Lord why would we want more politicians. We already have way way too many and they're already a huge drain on the public purse as it is.Trebor, I agree 100% with you as far as conditions put on them is concerned, but I really think we need far less politicians rather than any more. Ray L. is right, fewer, not more. They also need to realise that they are OUR employees, not the other way around.
    Franky
    31st Jan 2018
    2:42pm
    A big NOOOOO
    Polly Esther
    31st Jan 2018
    3:00pm
    Population wise we would have to be, or very close to it, the most over governed country on the planet and with not enough in govt. functioning efficiently . Counting heads, we could do with a whole lot less, each one having to do a whole lot more.
    We may then get something positive done.
    Less is more, more or less. MPs do something for your country, go and get a job :-))
    Andy
    31st Jan 2018
    3:42pm
    great replies people are finally waking-up no way make the pricks that are there do a full weeks work as well, it is no wonder no one knows who their candid is they are not seen or heard until there is a mention of a pay rise.
    Seadove
    31st Jan 2018
    4:43pm
    I have no time for most of the politicians cavorting around Canberra at the moment. I hate the party system and would like to see independants voted in to represent electorates based on how they believe they can contribute to the well being of our country. Would this work? Any big decisions come to the people to be voted on, say five each year and voting not compulsory. Only those with an interest are required to vote. Let the people make decisions for the people and not idiots with ulterior motives. So I do not agree with more pollies at all, we have enough robbing us blind for their own greed and cosying up to multi nationals to get executive positions when they've had enough. What a joke this system is at present. Time for a huge change in our political arena!!
    Dot
    31st Jan 2018
    5:23pm
    Definitely not. Past and present Politicians are costing us billions more then all retirees put together. The time has come for all retired Pollies to have all their perks lashed like travelling non stop. And those who are working once they've been kicked out of Government should not be receive one damn cent till they retired. Enough is enough. Time for us all to start the biggest backlash these Politicians have seen.
    Triss
    31st Jan 2018
    10:03pm
    Dead right there, Dot.
    Charlie
    31st Jan 2018
    5:49pm
    When we speak of Politicans it is usually about them being over paid or not giving us what we asked for.
    Maybe the reason they don't give us what we ask for, is because the distribution of wealth in the country will not allow it.
    More politicians will give government less money to spend on us and the distribution of wealth will be the same.
    Also the process for allocating the wealth of the country will be more cluttered, so we will need more anti corruption watch dogs.
    What a silly Idea?
    Jenny
    31st Jan 2018
    6:32pm
    No we don't need more politicians. What we do need is a completely new system of government which does away with the adversarial system we have had more than enough of. We need representatives who work together to find and deliver the best and fairest policies and legislation. How hard would that be? We could even make do with less of them! The party system is to blame for many of the difficulties which beset good government today.
    ronloby
    31st Jan 2018
    7:48pm
    MORE! no way. Reduce their pays and perks to give the people of this country a better living. Retires in particular! They should not be receiving the BIG perks they all say they are entitled to. While we are talking about pays, CEO rewards of millions of dollars is also way over the top.
    Gra
    31st Jan 2018
    9:34pm
    We have too manypigs with their snouts in the trough already, we certainly don't need any more. What is needed is electorates based on size, not the number of residents. It's ridiculous that we have so many electoral zones in the capital cities yet in NSW for example, Sydney has 25 elected Federal Members while the electorate of Parkes which covers half the state is left to one politician to cover. In W.A Perth has 10 electorates while again, the electorate of Durack which covers the northern half of W.A has just the one member to cover 1.6 million square kilometres. Similarly, in Queensland Brisaben has 10 sitting Federal members while the electorate of Maranoa which covers 730 ,000 square kilometres has the one member. There is no way known the members for these large electorates can do their constituents justice. What is need is for the number of city electorates to be halved and the larger electorates to be reduced to a much more manageable size.

    1st Feb 2018
    7:32am
    More overpaid BLUDGERS who don't give a damn about anything but ripping off the public purse. NO THANKYOU. What we need is to get rid of the major parties and elect people who care about the future of the country.
    ex PS
    1st Feb 2018
    9:20am
    The problem is, as soon as you elect someone, they become politicians.

    1st Feb 2018
    7:36am
    Just get rid of the Lieberal-Hillbilly COALition politicians. ALL of them!
    Tass
    1st Feb 2018
    8:12am
    No! The lot we have at present are a bunch of self serving crooks, and there is a pretty long list of those that we know about through the courts and media. There were two councils in Tasmania recently who have had Administrators put in by the State Government due to all sorts of mismanagement. In Victoria a while back the Sunshine Council was completely sacked for wrong doings. I believe these are just the tip of the iceberg. Some have been proven to be abusers of trust,thieves and liars.
    ex PS
    1st Feb 2018
    9:18am
    We do not need three tiers of government, the big question should be, which one should we get rid of.
    TREBOR
    1st Feb 2018
    9:18am
    Never forget that the elected council cannot do these things alone - they must do so with the connivance of their paid public servants as well. Elected councillors are not dictators and must work with the paid staff... so when mismanagement and corruption are in play, it is from a combination of both.
    TREBOR
    1st Feb 2018
    9:19am
    Now apply that to State and Federal level....
    TREBOR
    1st Feb 2018
    9:20am
    Now - why do our 'governments' want a 'tame' public service controlled by contracted to that government senior executives???????
    ex PS
    1st Feb 2018
    9:31am
    Yes, and paid staff are paid to do as directed by their bosses, unless a boss is acting outside the law and the employee is aware of it and can define the problem, they have no power.
    We can not confuse Ethics with legality. In my view Public Servants are paid to carry out their duties as provided for by the Public Service Act, they can not and should not try to run a council, state or country. They should though be compelled to report cases of wrong doing.
    A Public Servant is there to advise their superiors or take action as directed by them, not to participate in political machinations or to second guess the direction that a government may choose to take.
    TREBOR
    1st Feb 2018
    1:08pm
    Hmm - yes - but the position of council is not that of 'boss' or dictator - it is one of developing policy to address certain issues. It is the place of the public servants involved to do as you say - offer advice, and explain why some things are not possible or within the rights of the office holder, and - add (yes indeed) - they MUST be compelled to report potential wrong-doing to a body such as ICAC.

    If for instance, a council manager is ordered by a councillor (not the councillor's place, BTW) to carry out certain works so as to facilitate that councillor's development of a tract of land - that should be reported and investigated.

    HERE - there is a crying need for roadworks - not some street building so a councillor can develop and make a motza.
    TREBOR
    1st Feb 2018
    1:11pm
    This idea that those elected to a policy making office somehow inherit Hitlerian or Stalinist power to dictate must be firmly laid to rest in this country.

    Council may decide that there is a need for expanded public housing - the council administration determines, in accordance with its expertise, the best way to go about that. Council/government cannot simply command that something be done, though what they do is often to move resources (such as cash) to a position where it will naturally fall into that area they want done.
    ex PS
    1st Feb 2018
    11:40pm
    Agreed, ultimately, the council acts on behalf of the ratepayers to ensure the provision of services, you are of course right, Councilors do not issue orders directly to Public Servants, but through the process of government they sign off on orders that put procedures and processes into action.
    They direct Public Servants through the correct channels to complete tasks that are supposedly the will of the people. It is the governments job to make decisions on what must be done, it generally falls to the Public servant to advise on the viability and to provide the expertise in order to accomplish the objective.
    Sometimes it is in the best interest of elected officials for a Public Servant to say no.
    B5YCK
    1st Feb 2018
    2:28pm
    The next federal election election, my vote will go to a party that promises to abolish the state governments so we will have uniform laws governing the entire nation. Isn't it rediculous that criminals have to be extradited from one state to another. With all the duplication that takes place, an enormous saving will be had that way. And there can not be any blame shifting either way. So only Federal and local councils!
    That's my bit for the day.
    billy boy
    1st Feb 2018
    2:38pm
    why not? seems to be the best secure job, money options, for those, who are lazy, to make it, in real life ;)
    billy boy
    1st Feb 2018
    2:42pm
    gravy train,they know, why they'e there, sadly
    VeryCaringBigBear
    1st Feb 2018
    3:47pm
    I remember years ago reading what a candidate for an election had done in his lifetime. My immediate thoughts were well he has tried everything else so why not try being a pollie? Today I still think that same goes for most of our pollies so it wouldn't make much difference if we had twice as many or half as many we would still get similar outcomes.
    Big Kev
    2nd Feb 2018
    5:30pm
    I get rather amused by those who say "put the electorate first". Reality is that put six people in a room and you aremlikely to have 7 opinions of what the electorate needs. I'm quite sure mine would differ greatly from Trebor! That is why wenhave the party system, so that a group can agree on a platform of policies that the majority support. Our biggest problem is falling membership of political parties because people can't be bothered, think somebody else should do it or "don't have time". Make the time and do it. If you dont think the party works the way you want it to , get involved anf change it?


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles