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A new system of government is on the way

By Don Allan - posted Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Recorded history shows power grabbers always claimed they worked in the interests of society and employed witch doctors to persuade society as to the truth of their claim. Fortunately, some people distrusted what the power grabbers and witch doctors said.

While congratulating ourselves that democracy has contained power grabbers and witch doctors, an analysis of the situation would show things haven’t changed much. Power grabbers - now called politicians - still make the same claim and still employ witch doctors - now called spin-doctors - to persuade society as to the truth of their claim. About the only thing that has changed, so I am told, is that the spin-doctors’ persuasion techniques are now more sophisticated than casting the runes or reading the entrails of chickens. I wonder?

Not a power grabber or spin doctor myself, I predict, nevertheless, that if politicians don’t start doing what they are supposed to, work for the community rather than themselves, sometime in the future, society will demand changes that will make our current democratic system more meaningful.


One change in this more meaningful democracy will be that a Chief Economic Officer (CEO) not a Prime Minister, will lead a non-party government. Why a CEO you ask? Well, as economics will be the basis for all government decisions, it would seem sensible to have an economist running the country. And just in case you think electing a CEO might be difficult, worry not; courtesy of TV, a more sophisticated form of an already well-tested system will do the job with ease.

The system I’m talking about is that currently used in TV competitions where viewers ring the station at competition’s end and say which of a number of contestants has won the competition? If you don’t know anything about these competitions I can only say you’ve led a very sheltered life.

A good reason for using such a system is that because more people pay more attention to contestants in TV competitions than they do to politicians it seems to me this type of type competition would be the ideal way to pick a CEO. Ratings for this competition (Win the BIG GIG) would go through the roof because what competition could be more important than picking Australia’s next CEO of Australia?

To ensure the competition was fair to everyone in Australia, heats would be held in every state and territory with the winners competing nationally on BIG GIG Day. I can see the scene now as the Electoral Commission’s Master of Ceremonies introduces the BIG GIG finalists (Advance Australia Fair playing in the background), and gives them a performance number chosen at random in the studio.

The program host would ask each finalist a series of questions and also give them the opportunity to sing, dance, play an instrument and spruik their party piece about how they would govern if they won. At program’s end, voters would ring free telephone numbers and using their secret voting number say which contestant should get the job. (The program would be repeated twice the following day.) Following his/her selection the CEO would then pick the people he/she wanted to help run the business of government.

But that’s the future: what about today? In some ways the above process has started already. For example, Rudd and Turnbull are now regularly asked questions on TV, although neither, as yet, and perhaps fortunately, has sung, danced or played an instrument (give them time).


On an almost regular weekly basis, what they say then becomes the basis of myriad telephone opinion polls - Newspoll, Galaxy, Neilson, and Roy Morgan et al - which ask people who they think will make the best Prime Minister.

A fair system you say? Well it would be if all the questions were fair, otherwise voters might as well have been asked would Turnbull make a better Prime Minister because he liked baked beans and Rudd didn’t?

Silly as it sounds, some voters might decide along these lines while some might choose Turnbull because he looked better than Rudd, spoke well and, unlike Rudd, didn’t keep pursing his lips like a prim aunt. Fortunately for Rudd and Turnbull most voters won’t base their vote on this criteria. If they did, both Rudd and Turnbull should give up now.

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About the Author

Don Allan, politically unaligned, is a teenager in the youth of old age but young in spirit and mind. A disabled age pensioner, he writes a weekly column for The Chronicle, a free community newspaper in Canberra. Don blogs at:

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