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Power of Recall

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's unwillingness to keep his election promises, "No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC and SBS" (Sunday Age 13/4), highlights parliamentary democracy, like religion, is essentially an act of faith. Every parliamentary election electors give a signed blank cheque to a parliamentary representative to make decisions for them for the next three to four years.

Irrespective of what promises are made or kept or whether our parliamentary representatives change their political colours midterm, all the long suffering elector in Australia can do is wait until the next election to give a signed blank cheque to another parliamentary representative hoping against hope they will keep their election promises.

One easy way to ensure parliamentary representatives make the effort to keep their promises is by giving electors the power of recall in between elections. If 10% of electors in an electorate sign a petition that they have lost faith in their parliamentary representative and want a new election, a new election would have to be called. This power could be limited to one extra election during each election cycle to prevent abuse of this power. The power of recall makes parliamentary representatives directly accountable to their electorate, not their political party or party leaders. Giving the electorate the power to recall non performing politicians would make parliamentary representatives think twice before they broke their election pledges.

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