Implementing reforms for the 'people's representatives'

Citizen participation in the ‘body-politic’ must be preserved by keeping all of the institutions of local and national government close to, easily accessible by and accountable to the people they are there to serve.  All decision-making and policy formation must be open to public scrutiny.

All national and local government legislation, key decisions, or issues of national or local importance shall be open to binding referenda (BCIR), initiated by either the government or the people.  The people will be provided with high quality and balanced information and all government policy documents, to inform their voting decisions.  In pre-determined national emergency and disaster situations government exposure to referendum may be postponed for up to six-months.

BCIR, at the local and national level, must be held on receipt of a valid petition, signed by [say] 1000 eligible voters at the local (about 20,000 citizens) and 100,000 at the national level (increased incrementally for nations with more than ten million people).[1]

A referendum that would restrict natural and traditional human rights cannot be allowed to proceed unless it is about sedition, terrorism, crime or a serious issue concerning social responsibility. Media coverage of any referenda must not be designed to influence the result. 

All markets and community services must be kept free of injustice, theft, fraud and corporate, local government, or national government monopoly control, except where the people, by referenda agree to private or public controls. 

Existing formed and constituted political parties will be disbanded and made illegal.  The practice of solidarity ‘whipping’ will therefore become redundant.  Candidates for elected representative office at district, state and national level will stand on their own policy platform and in their own right. Groups of elected representatives can still agree to cooperate on an ad-hoc basis to achieve specific legislative or policy goals.

Candidates will only draw on a standard government funded electioneering budget, which must be repaid after the election irrespective of the result.  The use of any other funding will result in heavy penalties and dismissal from government, if the candidate had gained office. The size of this budget will reflect the nature of the representative office – electorate, county, state, upper house and head-of-state.

Being a people’s representative is a privilege and a social service, not a career choice.  Representatives must be re-elected every 3-4 years using a staggered electoral process.  A people’s representative may only be so for 6-8 consecutive years, after which they must take at least one electoral cycle sabbatical before seeking re-election. Representatives shall not enjoy financial or other benefits beyond their period of public service.

A national executive will be selected, by ballot, from the whole pool of the people’s elected representatives.  All voting by representatives will also be by secret ballot. A head of state may then be selected by secret ballot from the executive.  Under republican systems the head of state can be selected using a separate electioneering and voting process.

The people will have the right to recall an unsatisfactory [as suitably defined] representative, replacing that person by means of an in-term election. Specific grounds (like a broken promise) should trigger a judicial recall order, or electors may, for other reasons, invoke a recall by referendum.

Defined ‘special powers’ exercised by a head of state or government will only remain legally valid for up to one month before going to the people, through a referendum, for approval.  The results of any use of a special power (e.g. to declare martial law) may also be subject to later sanctions by the people through referendum.

Proven collusion between media and politicians to subvert or influence the will of the people will be met with heavy penalties to maintain the independence and impartiality of national media.

[1] Presumably a fool-proof way of conducting referenda on the internet is possible, although it is still, as far as I am aware, paper based in Switzerland.