Apparently, it’s not just supporters of the Donald and Pauline who are upset about the state of political leadership. The rich and influential are disillusioned with politics too.
And fair enough.
Lack of direction, courage and conviction eventually drains everyone’s resolve. We all need something or someone to look up to, compare against and even aspire to become. It is the psychological glue that keeps most religions from fading into extinction.
Australia has had a decade of hope, false starts, and farce from its federal politicians. When all leaders can do is badmouth each other for sucking up to those with real influence, then the last hope is lost.
The problem is what to do about it.
Electing in the opposition just means more of the same. It simply fuels the downward cycle. Frustrated US citizens squeaked Donald over the line and he will disrupt in ways unimagined. But little of it will be desirable, even for his supporters. At some point, that experiment will pass.
The rich and influential group mentioned earlier are up for a new democracy that involves random selection and deliberation – the jury model – as a central process rather than elected representatives. A kind of back to the ancient future.
There is merit in this. A jury reaches a decision based on evidence and the inference they draw from it. Logic, reasoned argument and debate come together into consensus solutions that should make decisions more trustworthy. They should, at least, be less affected by partisan or vested interest.
The problem is the quality of the inference. Can a citizens assembly or jury have enough capacity to sift the evidence supplied to them for complex decisions like the design of the national broadband network or defence procurement or health funding? It would be instructive to find out.
It cannot be any worse than the ministerial Merry-go-round.