Monday, October 20, 2008

How to get politicians to honour their obligation to serve a full term

I was delighted to read two suggestions from Mr. Michael Duffy in The Sydney Morning Herod on Saturday for getting Members of Parliament to take seriously their obligation to serve a full term, or at least to exact a just penalty from them when they don't:

If we are to continue to allow politicians to cut and run, I suggest the introduction of one of two measures in the public interest. The first is that the politician involved repay the cost of the byelection. It could be withheld in annual instalments from their $130,000 per annum pensions, like HECS, with the cost being recovered over say 10 years.

If this is unacceptable, another idea would be to redress the imbalance in the present arrangement, which allows a politician to withdraw from their contract with the electorate, but doesn't give the electorate the same power. I'd suggest some sort of arrangement whereby a byelection could be called by voters, as well as by the politician, if they became unhappy with the way things were going.
But it’ll never happen, of course; politicians regard themselves chiefly as representatives of their respective parties, and electors seem satisfied to choose representatives chiefly for party allegiance rather than personal qualities, so we can hardly complain when the politicians behave accordingly.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. John Cantius, Confessor, 2008 A.D.

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