By Joe Montero
Reports show the Coalition took millions of dollars in donations from gas corporations and the fossil fuel industry to bankroll last year’s re-election campaign.
That millions of dollars of public money are now being used to help these corporations in their business operations looks very much like payment due for the support.
The pocketing of $4.1 million form just one tycoon, helping out Santos (which had contributed $2 million to the election fund), and the handing over of $1b from NAIF are just the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to the misuse of taxpayers’ money, and at a time when a devastating and climate change related bushfire season, demanding resolute action to reduce the fossil fuel industry, this highlights just how corrupt the Australian political system has become.
A corrupt political system cannot be democratic by definition. So those striving for democracy, must therefore, stand against this corrupt system.
Given that with the deepening of climate crisis and the signs of increasing economic deterioration, the level of corruption is increasing. Corporations and governments insist that neoliberalism and its leave it to the market forces is the only legitimate response. And the more this fails, the more intense becomes the application of neoliberalism.
Rising inequality, the threat of poverty and other social problems breed discontent, democratic rights are curtailed and authoritarianism rises as the means to enforce neoliberalism. This provides fertile ground for more corruption.
But the biggest reason for the rise in corruption is that big business and state have become more intertwined, and must infect the political system. It is not a matter of just donations. It is how the corporations and government operate in their day to day activities, creating an elite that dominate society for its own ends.
Only the separation of big business and the government can correct this.
The rub is that the merged corporate government entity is not going to do away with itself. It does not matter who is elected into government. They will not be allowed to do anything meaningful about it. A government not playing the game will be undermined and disposed of.
Australia must face this reality.
By developing a movement from below. One that, step by step, builds the participation of citizens in a new political process, a solution can be found. This is democracy from blow. It is people’s power.
To do this, political pettiness must give way to coming together on what is really important. The point of unity is agreement that together we must build a truly democratic political system, which takes on the following characteristics.
Corporate political power must be broken to allow the political power of ordinary people to flourish. The new power of the people will exist to ensure that the needs of the majority will be met, and that this must entail and economy that is equal to the task. If human need and that of the planet that sustains us are to be guaranteed, this change must take place.
A truly democratic political system and economy are inseparable from a vision for the future that promotes social justice, equality, unites and ensures participation in decision making and the implementation of decisions taken together.
Targeting Scott Morrison and those around him helps to uncover what is wrong and deals with the immediate. But on its own, this is not enough. Changing our way of thinking, relying on our own collective strength and acting together to build a new future, is ultimately far more important.