Reform steps for direct democracy
Citizens are only free and self-reliant when they take charge of their own lives and can exercise power as the final arbiters over their elected government, according to the eight attributes of a ‘competent society’ (Table:15). They must enjoy the rights, privileges and freedoms of speech, association, life, property, contract, equality before the law and religion; Their rights must be inviolate to manipulative practices, entry, search, seizure, and monitoring, by any arm of the state, or other body, except to combat traditionally recognised criminal behaviour and clearly imminent threats to national sovereignty. These rights must be universally respected as natural and unalienable by individuals and public bodies alike. They cannot be compromised by possible threats, or claims to special rights by any public body, private entity, or special interest group. The first order of business must therefore be to make these rights explicit and ensure they are woven into the fabric of society. That can be done in these ways:
Ensure they are taught as first principles at all levels within the education sector, coupled to the understanding that human rights have to be exercised in ways that are socially responsible. The aim is to ensure everyone can realise their full potential and exhibit all the adult attributes identified by Dr Rossiter (Table 15).
Introduce a system of people’s adjudication on rights issues, in disputed circumstances, at the local level, in the first instance, as part of the judicial reforms described later.
Introduce Binding Citizens Initiated Referenda (BCIR) at the local and national level, in the expectation that it will be used by the people to protect their rights and re-introduce traditional values in situations of widespread concern or national importance.
Keep human rights issues affecting the nation away from the existing courts. Because human rights belong unalienably to the people, resolving constitutional issues affecting human rights and freedoms must be decided by the people through referenda. Any written constitution, or alternate set of laws and conventions must make this explicit. The judiciary may still resolve rights issues at an individual level, but not on any class or national basis. Such decisions will not be extrapolated to carry the force of law in any general sense. Existing human rights legislation must make recourse to constitutional referenda explicit, while unequivocally acknowledging the natural, unalienable nature of human rights.
All efforts to centralise power on the basis of efficiency or cost savings should be resisted as unnecessary and opposed to the principles of freedom and democracy. Where this has already happened constitutional activists can call for all governance structures to be returned to the people through referenda.
Promote and preserve an economic and socially independent populace based on stable families, inviolate property rights, education, certainty of contract and open justice. This should include, but is not limited to, the right to affordable property ownership, open opportunities to engage in family supporting enterprises and the right to live free of any imposed ideology. A global economy must respect local economic and social resilience. Free trade agreements must not be allowed to subvert the best interests of local or national economies. The goal is a ‘competent society’.
The individual rights of citizenship must be balanced by each citizen’s reciprocal responsibility, regardless of their role in society, to help sustain stable, safe, prosperous and healthy local communities. Government’s role is to step in and ensure local communities, failing to meet acceptable standards of social responsibility, are assisted to the point where they can do so.
Parents must take responsibility to raise children who will be assets to a free society, by treating rights and freedoms as a privilege and a responsibility, not a licence. They must understand that raising children is about garnering their respect and their understanding of citizenship in a civil society. Monogamy and having children, at least equal in number to population replacement levels, should be actively promoted as a social good and a social responsibility.
Public servants must not be required to waive their right to free speech, protest and free association, providing they exercise these rights outside the hours they must devote to their workplace responsibilities. They must not be forced to undertake duties that conflict with their religious or other genuinely held beliefs.
The monitoring of electronic communications, written communications, public movements and internet use must be restricted to criminal activity and the defence of the nation. The right to privacy must not be compromised for economic, information gathering, or other reasons, providing this right does not preserve injustice, aid espionage, or facilitate terrorism.
The need for governmental secrecy will be strictly limited and otherwise subject to full disclosure procedures. The terms of reference for inquiries of national significance will be set by a non-partisan body, independent of government and shall be open to challenge in the courts.
The rights and freedoms associated with citizenship should be treated as a privilege that carries social, cultural and economic obligations. Where an individual distains those responsibilities their rights and freedoms should be subject to corresponding controls determined and governed by their local communities.