Recently, I attended an event sponsored by Accountability Round Table about evaluation of programs proposed by our democratic parliaments for Australian citizens. The speaker was Peter Baume, retired federal minister, who served in the Senate from 1974-1991.
In his speech he made two assertions. First, mindless, thoughtless populism grips Australia and this may lead us into dictatorship. Second, there is no open, complete and balanced debate about major social issues; and, Australian citizens deserve better.
Personally, I agree with his thoughts on mindless, thoughtless populism. But, I don’t agree that Australian citizens deserve better. We are getting what we deserve!
A few nights later, on a major news TV service, a senior Queensland police officer, commenting on the behaviour of interstate ‘schoolies’ on the Gold Coast, said something like, ‘we don’t make judgment!’
To me, this revealed powerful social connection within questionable patterns of behaviour, lack of accountability, perception that judgment of others is ritually and morally wrong, and .
On reflection, I think that senior police officer and his commanding officers are either captive to mindless, thoughtless populism, or have an incomplete understanding of the principle of judgment.
When you think about politicians, bureaucrats, and commercial interests who stymie open and transparent accountability to Australian citizens, one could charge them with abusing public trust, through their obstruction.
Australians need much more open, complete and balanced debate about ‘judgment’ if we are to flourish as individuals, families and communities.