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reader response

THE principal democratic rule of the government is to remain answerable to the felt wishes of the people.

Within the collective decision-making process the agenda is set from the needs and concerns of the people. Informed citizens participate in debate and discussion and weigh the options before them.

The entire process, including the crucial final decision and the implementation that follows, reflects the wishes of the people to the fullest degree.

This democratic ideal serves to remind us how rarely in practice the government makes provision for the citizens’ direct participation in collective decision-making.

The sheer distancing from the people of our indirect – represent-ative – system of democracy allows the government free rein to cut deals with corporate lobbyists, espouse populist causes and indulge in news management and spin.

Meanwhile, as the citizens’ petitions to parliament gather dust, procedures have evolved where a minister makes the decisions which are often unaccountable to the wishes of the people.

The test of wellbeing of democratic rule is if results responsive to the expressed wishes of the citizens are forthcoming, not whether politicians favour certain procedures.

Democracy is a most valuable possession. The people should guard it zealously, lest it be sold down the river.

Colin Speed, Maylands

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