Asks the question
Australia: It is a free country,
Actually, it is not. Australia is one of the finest democracies on the planet and rather than being free it functions by a series of compromises and tradeoffs.
Democracy is totally dependent for it's existence on the good will and honesty of all involved in it including it's citizens, government, parliamentarians, business and public service.
In order that the State serve the best interests of all of it's citizens (who are the State, by the way) we give up certain rights and accept certain obligations.
These tradeoffs are determined by our elected representatives through the parliamentary system.
We live by a series of implied contracts between the individual and the state or The Rule of Law. An instance of this is where the State asks us not to bear arms or settle our own disputes with violence, theft or other unacceptable acts. In return the State has contracted to protect us from crime and ensure our relative physical and financial safety.
It can be reasonably argued that such a contract is void because the Government and it's servants often appear unable or unwilling to act responsibly on our behalf resulting in the perception of The Law By Membership. If one is not a 'member' then one is excluded from the process.
An example of the ineptitude or treachery of our parliaments is the New South Wales drivers license. As the bill to introduce photo licenses was before the parliament the NSW Upper House refused it passage without an amendment.
The people were concerned that the license would become a de facto Australia Card or universal identifier, a concept that had been thoroughly rejected by Australians.
Under the weight of public opinion the bill was amended so that the police or any other person could only ask to see one's license in relation to matters related solely to motor vehicles.
The Government was seen as having listened to the citizens and all was well EXCEPT that it immediately ignored the fact that the driver's license was given the value of 100 points as a universal identifier (Australia Card) for anyone who claimed to need full identification including the NSW and Australian governments.
Recently a security guard took a patron's license as a security and gave it back to the wrong person. This error (?) resulted in criminals creating a new 'person' with it's details and defrauding the community.
Sadly treachery of this kind permeates all levels of our various administrations diminishing the Good Will needed to retain a fine Democracy and leaving in it's place the perception of corruption.
This is not to suggest that each citizen must have an equal portion of the wealth generated within the State.
We must agree, however, that we each have a share of it's Common Wealth such as that which is naturally from it's soil, water and air (in the form of royalties paid to the State) and, more importantly, in it's management.
Learning more of the functions of the State will help you to play a greater role in it's management and future so we are building up a series of easy to read articles on Australian Democracy.