The Royal Commission that voters really want - an enquiry into the political class itself

The Royal Commission that voters really want - an enquiry into the political class itself

164 have signed. Let’s get to 200!

Why this petition matters

Started by Peter Dempster

Since federation in 1901, the political class has established Royal Commissions at the rate of about one a year, facing up to both the country’s challenges and its failings. But, strangely, never a Royal Commission into the political class itself. It’s as though the political class has played no part in our failings, has never ducked a challenge. The worry is that many in the political class may actually believe that.

Would you not welcome a Royal Commission in reverse, cross-examining the political class? Would you not follow the proceedings as never before?

Royal Commissions do good work. In the past decade they have pumped out hundreds of recommendations responding to public distrust in critical systems: the financial system, the aged care system, national disaster arrangements, arrangements for the care of veterans, and for the care and protection of children. However, if the political responses to those recommendations are often disappointing, it comes as no surprise. We are not surprised when the political class finds reasons to delay and dilute recommendations according to their political needs. We are not surprised when a Royal Commission recycles recommendations that the political class years shelved years before.

There will many more Royal Commissions, probably about one a year. However, to end the delaying, diluting and recycling, we first need a Royal Commission that rewrites the rulebook that governs the political class. That’s mostly what Royal Commissions do, recommend rules and processes that we can trust.

A Royal Commission into the political class would have plenty to work with, since political reformers have done their work well. They have proposed new rules for every chapter of the political rulebook: covering election campaigns, money politics, lobbying, parliament, public service, anti-corruption, government secrecy, political parties. The Commission would be reduced to sorting through the pile and distilling the options.

Ad break: Confronting the political class with our trust and rulebook issues is the motivation for 17millionHonestFriends, the platform that sponsored this petition. Please check out it’s other options for confronting the political class – but please sign this first.

A Royal Commission would find that public distrust is well documented. It's the thing that voters most agree on, what we tell the pollsters whenever they ask. 

Most importantly, a Royal Commission would explain how public distrust degrades the common good. It would explain how our distrusted politics dodges the hard decisions, denies the challenges, gambles with our futures and exposes us to crisis and breakdown. It would catalogue the unfinished business and sloppy work that overloads our elections, confuses the public conversation, tests our patience with democracy itself.

164 have signed. Let’s get to 200!