NSW Parliament may be Australia’s oldest, but it’s become a funny form of democracy. Our voting system of course entrenches the tweedle dum & tweedle dee two-party system of Lib-Lab tyranny, where they fight over occupying the most middle ground. No doubt this is a fair simulacre of the mass voter mindset, and certainly of the mortgage-driven popular consumer zeitgeist, but democracy has lost its frisson, to say the least. And any real ballot choice.
As the mostly incumbent government in this hollowed-out and politically exhausted terminal state of NSW, Labor has refined its tricks, starting with so-called pre-selection. The long tradition of branch-stacking that effectively disenfranchised its ever-diminishing party membership base, has evolved into a more efficient system. Nowadays the state party executive simply dispenses with branch members altogether by parachuting in their latest party hack.
Factions are another vital cog in these Labor machinations: left, right or centre, we don’t have a clue what they represent, but they’re entitled to share in the political goodies. And infamous ‘powerbrokers’ keep it all churning by re-arranging ministerial deckchairs on NSW Titanic, organising internal coup d’etats and taking care of ‘mates’. The recent Tripodi sacking was mildly entertaining, with the sackee’s guileless protestations of loyal innocence accompanied by a predictable family photo!
Add in big doses of influence and corruption with party donations from everyone trying to buy favours, from the ubiquitous developers downwards, plus the open door policy of lobbyist coffee shop meeting culture, and you have a recipe for devalued, downtrodden, dud democracy in NSW. Unfortunately there is no Hercules in sight to clean out its Augean political stables. Democracy in name only, but government by self-appointed cliques is its modus operandi.