This is a proposal for community decision making bodies based on FOWTOR regions. One could argue that the current division of Australia into states and territories was really an accident of history, and is not an ideal division of authority. The recent problems with water flows down the Murray, and the difficulty of getting state agreements on water use, highlights at least one problem with the current state/territory divisions.
What I am proposing is 'citizen parliaments' for each FOWTOR region.
I guess ideally, if we were to ever have a constitutional convention, we could officially move towards parliaments (i.e states/territories) based on FOWTOR regions, rather than our current boundaries. However, such a convention is unlikely, and thus change coming down from the top of our current power system is unlikely.
So what I propose is a 'bottom-up' approach, whereby citizens in each region can start to organise their own 'citizen' parliaments.
These parliaments can be used as kind of 'shadow parliament', to maybe demonstrate what decisions each community would have made (or would like to see) for various issues (eg: fracking, forest clearing, water use, etc). These decisions could then be used to inform our current formal parliamentary decision-makers, as an indication of the will of the community. In this sense, it could be used to either guide decision-making, or highlight inconsistencies between what decisions representatives make in parliament and what communities would like to see. I also suspect that the formation of such citizens' parliaments will assist in building stronger communities, and could well serve as decision-making bodies in times of emergency. And perhaps one day they could become the official representative law-making body in Australia. In that sense, the creation of citizen parliaments provides a model of an alternative form of democracy that could feed into proposals presented at a constitutional convention, should one be held.
In short, the broad principles of the concept are as follows (with further details in the article linked to below):
Purposes of the Proposal
The proposed 'alternative' system may serve the following two main purposes:
1. Offer an alternative decision-making forum where communities can make their own decisions in contrast to (or perhaps in support of) the current official structures. Kind of like a community 'Shadow Parliament'.
2. Provide a community decision-making framework that can be transitioned to, if needed in an emergency situation.
It is intended that this system can also provide a model for a possible feasible replacement for our current representative democracy, should communities ever hold a constitutional convention. As mentioned above, it can start with a very small group of volunteer participants, but it is designed to be 'scalable' should it get more popular.
Here is the basic idea:
- Parliaments should be formed of people selected for duty in the same way people are selected for juries. No political parties, no donations needed or allowed. No political campaigning by representatives.
- Parliaments start as a meeting of 5 or more people, then expand in number as interest grows.
- The parliamentary members can vote on laws, but cannot introduce new laws, although they can facilitate the drafting of laws as proposed by non-parliamentary members.
- The parliaments are relatively small, and have complete authority in their region (i.e. this is not a federalised system, but more a system like the City States of Renaissance Europe).
- The proposal provides a framework constituation which allows each community to develop its own unique structures within it. For example, there is no predefined legal system specified in the framework, thus communities could implement English style Courts or European style courts (eg: based on the Napoleonic Code), or any combination of these for different purposes.
For details please see: