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Saturday, 15 October 2011

The irony of a "dead democracy"

The death of democracy was announced in a letter to the Canberra Times this morning. There is a certain irony about this announcement.

Democracy understood as the continuing struggle to try and place limits on the accumulation of unaccountable and arbitrary power by the state is always a struggle. And the recent demonstrated ability of vested interests to buy a decision by the expenditure of 20 million dollars in advertising against a proposed mineral resource rent tax shows why we have reason to be concerned about its future.

The death of democracy was announced in the very week that the Federal Government decided not to proceed with amendments to the immigration legislation that would have handed substantially increased  power to the Minister for Immigration that could not have been disallowed by Parliament, or reviewed by the courts.

This outcome was purely accidental and resulted from Tony Abbott's campaign of saying no to everything that the Government proposes. Nevertheless, even if only temporary, and for quite bizarre rreasons an attempt to extend the arbitrary power of the state has been at least delayed.

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