Is Our Political System Broken?

Politics is a subject that may not be interesting to some, but it is important to all. Our elected politicians and their advisers and party administrators, decide on our behalf, how to govern our nation. They make the policies, rules and laws that directly affect our everyday lives and more importantly our futures. That means the ability we may have within the bounds of the law to create and retain a standard of living and wealth for ourselves and our families.

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If you want a better life, I submit that you simply must be aware of who proposes to lead our nation and how they propose to do it.

Yet I found myself, like many others I assume, zoning out to the inanities of the lackluster political campaign that has unraveled before us over the last eight weeks. I even shared some of my thoughts on our politics with you just a few weeks ago, something I have never done before.

The overriding theme I have in what I share with you, is to inspire you to do whatever it takes to have the life you want. And the vehicle of choice to create the financial means to lead a better quality of life is property investing, as I believe it to be the safest way over time that you can build a reasonable amount of wealth.

And because our political system and those within it can affect that investing process and therefore your life, I feel compelled to share with you my dismay over what happened in our election over the weekend.

Although we won’t know for about a week, because our Electoral Commission won’t resume counting until Tuesday (why on earth we can’t have electronic instant voting in 2016 is beyond me!), it looks like Malcolm Turnbull will be returned to Government. Likely with a much lower majority and likely a Senate with many more Independents (who all have their own separate agendas) to deal with in order to get legislation passed. Yet his after midnight speech on early Sunday morning, while marginally satisfied, sounded like someone who was wronged at the ballot box, ostensibly by a late negative political ad campaign by Labor.

In his speech, Bill Shorten loudly proclaimed “Labor is back” – yet his party’s primary vote was the lowest in percentage terms than it has been for 50 years.

I find it strange then that Labor should have won so many seats from the Liberal Party with about 34% of primary votes, compared with Liberal’s 42%. And that The Greens should poll 10% of the overall votes yet only win one seat in the Lower House, out of 150 possible seats. Independent candidates in the Lower house polled around 13% and they won just four seats. Clearly the way our voting preference system works, whereby your vote for any party other than one of the majors will likely end up with either Liberal or Labor, makes a big difference to the outcomes.

It looks like the Senate will have more Independent Senators and minor party Senators than before Mr Turnbull called the election. He was clearly hoping to “clean up” the Senate so that he could have a working majority of votes in the Senate so the he & his party could actually govern. This really comes as no surprise when my own white voting sheet for the Senate was over a metre long, with more than 100 parties trying to get elected in to just 12 Senate positions. The new “six above the line” or “twelve below the line” voting system was confusing – why couldn’t I just vote for the party of my choice? In order to have a valid vote, I had to vote for five other political parties as well as the one I wanted to have the Senate seat/s. No wonder there will be many more independent Senators for the Government to do backroom deals with to pass legislation.

As much as I would like to have many independent and wide ranging views within our Parliament, governing has become a bit like there are too many cooks in the kitchen – the broth is spoiled. That has been the beauty of the preferential voting system in that in the past, it has enabled one party to have a majority to form a Government and actually get things done. Do we need something new? And if so, what do you think it could look like?

The next three years promise to be somewhat of a stalemate in governing terms. The Liberal Party, should they actually form a government, may be able to gather enough votes to pass legislation in the Lower House but are likely to face difficulty in getting that legislation affirmed in the Senate. So not much has changed there, meaning I don’t think we are going to see any sweeping changes, improvements or new policy initiatives that Australia needs to prosper and grow, which is a disappointment to me.

That could affect your investing plans and I would recommend that it would be worth your time to pay attention to what is happening in Canberra.

It has been said (by Winston Churchill and others before him) that – “Democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all of the others that have been tried from time to time.”

The Harvey Norman billionaire Gerry Harvey is under fire for apparently saying that Australia needs a dictator because that our nation has been ungovernable since 2007 when John Howard was voted out of office. There is some truth to that line of thinking, but it is not something I would wish to see.

The best thing about our system is that it does allow us a choice. There are millions of people all over the world who do not have this basic right. For that reason, as frustrated as I am with our broken system, I celebrate that I have the vote.

And I believe that Australia can rise above the political process and continue to be a place where anyone who chooses to do so, can have the life of which they dream.

I would vote for that.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.