Citizens Referenda

Citizens’ Initiative and Referendum

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics, doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”!  Pericles of Athens (one of the fathers of Democracy)

Direct Democracy, also known as “Pure Democracy” or “True Democracy”, is a form of government in which people collectively make decisions for themselves, as opposed to having their political affairs decided by representatives. However, one of the criticisms of Direct Democracy is that it hinders government from making split-second decisions that might be necessary, and as history can testify, majority vote isn’t always the best choice. We especially would never like to put people’s rights on the table to be left to majority vote.

That is why the Australian Sovereignty Party advocates a limited form of Direct Democracy; two of its most important functions – Initiative, and Referendum. We regard these principles amongst the most important of our core principles. The word “Democracy” itself consists of two Greek words, that when combined, mean “Rule of the People”. If government genuinely represented the will of the people, most of Australia’s current problems may have been prevented, and her citizens content.

"I believe in the Initiative and Referendum, which should be used not to destroy representative government, but to correct it whenever it becomes unrepresentative." Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States of America

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."   Plato

We have drawn inspiration from the Swiss Constitution and style of government, from history, and the wise, profound words, of the most venerable martyrs and proponents of liberty. One of these great men, Thomas Jefferson, once said, “When the government fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny”!

The ASP believes that the will of the people should always prevail over any legislation if it can be substantiated that the legislation is not serving its citizens’ best interest. Let’s have a look at some instances where the will of the people was ignored and rejected: when we were asked about the GST, 85% of us said ‘NO!’. When asked about the war with Iraq, 80% said ‘NO!’. There are many more instances like this. This is not Democracy; this is tyranny.

Remember, tyranny is defined as an abuse of power by a few over the will of the people. What do you suppose Australia truly resembles? A True Democracy that represents the will of the people, or Tyranny where our affairs are dictated to us by the few in Parliament? The ASP’s vision for Citizens’ Initiative will manifest a just system of governance by achieving the following:

  1. Have all government departments/ bureaucracies accountable to people with greater transparency (upon request);
  2. Public servants will constantly be reminded that they are exactly that; public servants, not public masters;
  3. Citizens will hold suffrage (veto powers), whereby absolutely no legislation may be introduced if it is not approved by the majority of the people in the majority of the States – this includes international treaties;
  4. Citizens may challenge any federal law if they acquire 51% of the nation’s population, and States respectively;
  5. Citizens may introduce law for consideration if they acquire 51% of the nation’s population, and States respectively;
  6. Citizens may recall any elected official if they acquire 51% of the electorate’s populace;
  7. Allow for official online voting – we can bank online, complete our census online, complete our tax statements online; we should be able to vote online.  All efforts will be made to ensure 100% security with this electronic voting system, so that it cannot be hacked or tampered with in any way.
  8. In order to have a referendum presented to the Australian people via the secure online voting system (such as a challenge to a federal law, or to introduce a law for consideration), a legitimate petition must be signed by at least 1% of all registered voters. The matter will then be put to the nation via the voting system, where the appropriate 51% requirement will be required as per points 4,5 and 6.
  9. Absolutely no public assets may be sold unless approved by the people;
  10. All inalienable human rights must be upheld, and an Australian Bill of Rights to be constitutionally recognised. Never will any human rights be put to a vote;
  11. Any elected official that doesn't uphold their election promises will be prosecuted for misleading the population;

The aforementioned will effectively grant the populace, which holds suffrage, a veto on government legislation. Once implemented, this policy will also combat “voter apathy”, as they will be more engaging and interested in political affairs.

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