‘Long live the consensus’

The ability to hold government to account is the very essence of responsible government, and a core function of parliament.

In Queensland, parliament’s authority is steadily being eroded, as ‘executive power’ increases by the day.

The situation is worsened by several factors, not least being the abolition of the state’s Legislative Council in 1922.

Never has the lack of an Upper House been more sorely missed than it is today.

Without one, the power of the party with a majority on the floor, is virtually absolute.

Something that has bred arrogance in a government, that is becoming more and more dismissive of ‘critics’ and utterly resistant to change.

Any form of criticism is now routinely cast as ‘divisive’, ‘extremist’, ‘racist’ or just plain ‘misinformed’.

Seldom do they bother trying to refute opponents based on rational arguments.

They simply impute ‘bad faith’ to those who don’t agree with them and refuse to engage in meaningful debate.

This is contrary to all democratic norms and processes.

Emphasis is instead continually placed on strong leadership, efficiency and “getting things done”.

Any democratic ‘checks’ and ‘balances’ are little more than ‘obstacles’ to be neutralised or bypassed altogether.

It is a form of government usually referred to as ‘Napoleonic’.

Which is a nice way of saying ‘authoritarian’.

Historically, it was seen as the legitimate role of an Opposition Party to provide reasoned criticism and an alternative viewpoint.

Not anymore.

Today, when boisterous shouting matches erupt on the floor of the house, it is usually no more than a squabble over the best way to implement a particular government policy or program.

Rarely is there any serious disagreement on any of the key issues that matter – like climate change, globalisation, Agenda 2030, vegetation laws, coral reefs, global governance, automation, data gathering, surveillance and the digital economy.

On those issues, the majors are pretty much in ‘lockstep’.

True ‘dissenting voices’ are detested, no matter how reasoned or logical they are.

‘Conviction’ politics is dead.

Long live ‘the Consensus’.

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