Monday 24th of June 2024



The ethos of Your Democracy is its essential character, its DNA. It is worth stating at the outset of the project for the same reason that the elements of a pre-nuptial contract are worth discussing at the beginning of a relationship: at the start of every partnership, anything is possible - or so it seems. Just think of falling in love. Our ethos statement is like a pre-nuptial contract, which may help us think through possible eventualities which might arise before we start working together on this project.

The ethos of Your Democracy is stated here in the form of mission, vision and values - which is management-speak shorthand for the basic elements of an organisation's ethos. Like a pre-nuptial contract, it will be worth little more than the paper it is written on if it isn't based on a series of genuine, trusting conversations.

Our vision reflects our long-term aspiration; the mission is a concrete statement of the ends we seek to achieve, whose specificity should help us stay focussed on what matters, guide our evaluation of what we actually achieved, and work together collaboratively and cooperatively regardless of our individual differences. Our values guide us in every day management and will be honoured in pursuit of our mission.

What's your democracy ethos? What you'll find on the site now is just a conversation-starter for an ongoing thread that will be revisited periodically to help us stay in tune with each other's thinking as the project evolves.


To provide a safe, readily accessible space for Australians who care about our democracy - however they vote and whatever political philosophy they support - to actively help preserve and enhance it.


To harness the desire of Australians to actively defend our democracy by providing the means for them to do so in the way they wish and to help such Australians to connect to and work with others across Australia and the world with the same desire


(1) Respect for the dignity of everyone who participates in Your Democracy

(2) The right of everyone committed to Your Democracy’s mission and vision to participate provided they do not disregard or abuse the rights of others to do so

(3) Transparency, fairness and honesty in Your Democracy’s operations

(4) Ethical and legal conduct at all times

(5) Plagiarising, defamation and the abuse of other participants for personal or financial gain are NEVERS and may result in the exclusion of perpetrators from participation in Your Democracy

Framing Debates

Perhaps we should add something about framing in there as well - like others in the US have done.

"To reframe the debates in Australian politics in a way that promotes the values of social justice, equality, and moving forward as a society"

Except in better language - which someone else may like to suggest.

Actually . . .

Actually I think, you should not use the words "Our vision" cos that is not true.

It's YOUR vision, and even so I am only a member for a few days. That has become very clear to me!

Guess YOU need to change to make this site work. It's not us who will bend to your will!


I want to pick up on the use of "DNA."

As a person involved in protein chemistry it always surprises me that we always talk about DNA as if it were the only and all encompassing blueprint for life as it happens.

It is not, and although the instruction for making proteins does emanate from DNA, that's all they are - the instructions. The interesting stuff, at least at the molecular level happens AFTER the proteins have been expressed and made - they interact and things happen differently post transcription.

A bit like politics really I suppose. The original instructions get modified, things mature, change.



Which part of the vision do you not share, Wolf?

Please clarify

I'm not sure what you mean, Wolf. Could you please expand a little? Thanks.

Smile, you b*stard! You're still alive, aren't you?

Clear Thinking

I hope this site achieves the aims of all the good people behind its creation. The opportunity to discuss issues openly without the bias inherent in commercial news services should be liberating.

In The Age today Pamela Bone talks about the invasion of Iraq. She does a good job of explaining the pro-war case in terms of the outcomes for the Iraqi people and it being the least evil option.

My problem with the debate as presented in the media is the pro-democracy versus isolationist framework. Many of the powerful motivators including the US neo-conservative ideology, access to Iraqi oil and the fact that the US supported Saddam for 20 of his 30 years are never mentioned. Pamela Bone says we should "move on."

I agree with her that people of goodwill wish for the best outcome for the Iraqi people. But in reality, that outcome (if it happens) is only a byproduct of US stategic policy, not the prime focus.

The US are quite happy to "bomb people back to the stone-age" and spray depleted uranium all around to achieve their aims. The three western leaders were prepared to tell what they knew were probably lies to justify that invasion because they had another strategic agenda.

This is a big problem for democracy - these politicians think that the ends justify the means. If you have to lie to your electorate, restrict existing democratic freedom and kill people in another country to achieve a policy outcome, perhaps you have the wrong policy.

I am very much alive :)

I am very much alive, and I consider the word 'bastard' as a compliment in this case!

What I simply mean is that I don't like to be edited. And it seems that a lot of emphasis is laid on 'editing', just because Margo has a vision of running the site like a newspaper. I don't need another 'Murdoch.' I want to say what I think - nothing more, nothing less.

I think I answered that above:)

I think I answered that above.


In which way have you been edited?

Participatory Democracy

What an exciting milestone, Margo. The well liked and established US based Personal Democracy sets out its vision and mission along a similar lines as your site:

Technology and the Internet are changing democracy in America. We envision this site as one hub for the conversation already underway between political practitioners and technologists, as well as anyone invigorated by the potential of all this to open up the process and engage more people in all the things that we can and must do together as citizens.

Over the coming weeks and months, we are going to experiment with various ways of nurturing and expanding this conversation, ranging from blogging to investigative journalism, interviews, profiles and guest columns. The focus is going to be on new tools, processes, uses and trends--not on scoring partisan political points. We value your input and ideas.


Democracy in America is changing.

A new force, rooted in new tools and practices built on and around the Internet, is rising alongside the old system of capital-intensive broadcast politics.

Today, for almost no money, anyone can be a reporter, a community organizer, an ad-maker, a publisher, a money-raiser, or a leader. If what they have to say is compelling, it will spread.

The cost of finding like-minded souls, banding together, and speaking to the powerful has dropped to almost zero. Networked voices are reviving the civic conversation.

More people, everyday, are discovering this new power. After years of being treated like passive subjects of marketing and manipulation, they want to be heard. Members expect a say in the decision-making process of the organizations they join. Readers want to talk back to the news-makers. Citizens are insisting on more openness and transparency from government.

All the old institutions and players - big money, top-down parties, big-foot journalism, cloistered organizations - must adapt or face losing status and power.

Personal Democracy, where everyone is a full participant, is coming.

The Personal Democracy Forum is your place to meet the people who are making that change happen, discover the tools powering the new civic conversation, spot the early trends, and share in understanding and embracing this dynamic new force.

Rules of PD: Criticize ideas? Yes. Criticize people for holding those ideas? No.

At the same time humour and emotive symbols should not be frowned at; if we become so risk adverse that we become robots then we fail to appreciate the power of the Theatre of the Absurd.

Good luck to one and all,


Wait and See

Wolf, your comment about another 'Murdoch', I believe, indicates you miss the point quite considerably. Having an open editorial policy, an open mission statement and a lack of advertisements means that this site has nothing in common with any 'Murdoch' publication, which is subservient to many forces. As the policy points out, editing is not done in order to censor but to facilitate, but you may as well test this out for yourself and see what will get you censored and what won't. Editing material can enhance the strength of less articulate arguments and can allow people with less confidence to know that their writing is checked before potentially embarrassing typos are made public. It can also be used negatively but let's wait and see.

Reframe This

This site claims to be in the forefront of alternative Australian political thought and expression. A site that has a restricted comment policy is no better than a newspaper that edits it's letters to the editor. So, you don't like the message, you don't approve the comment, no-one reads it, everyone here continues on their merry way. Just like Webdairy and the Idiotmedia sites. Frank and forthright are clearly only reserved for your political opinions and views, not others.

where is this Vision?


To harness the desire of Australians to actively defend our democracy by providing the means for them to do so in the way they wish and to help such Australians to connect to and work with others across Australia and the world with the same desire.

WE are working across the world to defend the injustice, dealed out to Corby. What do YOU hav to say?

Maybe I missed your Statement, 'coss I still think this site is hard no navigate?

Why don't you stand up at the right time, against the Howard Government, and just type to us "Those 3 Apes need to be put back into the tree, they fell out off by accident, before they became Human beings?"

Guess your annual income prevents you from actually being true to yourself?

why not tell as we see it?

Why not just tell as we see it?

Once again, YOU want to edit me?

Don't I have my own voice, without having to worry about what YOU think?

All your points read like being written by John Howard!

Am I missing something

Quite some time ago Wolf, I decided, in another place, that it is better not to drink before posting.

I know I am probably politically naiive, but what exactly has Corby got in common with democracy? That the AFP made it possible for her and the Bali Nine to face a foreign jail has nothing to do with democracy per se, but rather with the delinquent view of an immoral AFP commissioner holding hands with an immoral Prime Minister. That is not a democracy issue it's a moral issue.

Strong words-little evidence

Perhaps you can share the Zen energy you are getting CB?

When did you begin to feel that people didn't see your efforts on the published page?

You sure are missing something !

Don’t tell me!

I figured it out for myself. :)

You are Andrew Bartlett incognito!

I am glad you finally quit the booze… However, I think the damage to the little grey cells is permanent now. :(

Let’s see how you perform in the next 12 months, maybe I have to change my opinion.

Andrew Bartlett Incognito

Thank you for that Wolf. In fact the specific issue I was raising is that when one is in ones cups as it were, one tends to make errors of fact and grammar and spelling etc.

As I understand it, your posts don't get edited for content, they get edited for clarity.

I guess this is well demonstrated by your moving into a personal thread about Ms Corby in an area devoted to issues relating to democracy and as I said earlier, Corby isn't a democracy issue it's a morality issue in terms of what Keelty et al will do to have a voting presence in an Asian grouping, where he has no place being since he has no knowledge at ground level of what actually happens there, outside of the fact that on occasion rather stupid Aussies use dope etc whilst visiting, and occasionally want to bring some home.

I suspect that if you were to suggest a thread on the moral turpitude of Howard's gang, the site would look at it, since it is appropriate to the site, just not to the thread you are posting it in. Perhaps you could begin your own topic under "In the News" where it would be appropriate, and would likely be read by many folks who see Corby et al as issues that Australia should face up to.

In terms of CB's rather blustery approach to editing, I would strongly approve of his identifying anything edited in his posts on bahalf of the Minister for "Justice" or whoever he is the front man for. For my money CB I would suggest you post away and as long as it makes some sort of sense, and isn't personally abusive, all it would do is create a little zest in an otherwise quiet zone on the site.

Whilst I defer to those who know better, my view is that even meaningful bluster is appreciated, since this site isn't party political, in spite of what others, including yourself may feel. The fact is the site has quite a few folks who admit to voting with the right of the house (even though several now regret it).

But of course, this is just my opinion.

Democracy ethos

Just joined,

Democracy to me means 'embracing the thoughts and beliefs of others that that I most abhor' not necessarily liking what others believe however respecting the right of others to believe and express an alternative or contrary position/belief.

I am a disillusioned person wandering, to some degree aimlessly, trying to find a corner in this world, where people actually care about the planet and all those on it, regardless of their particular innate qualities. I struggle with accepting the current apparent political will of the western world.

Perhaps, I am naïve and unrealistic in my expectations of others and the real nature of the human race is that we are inherently incapable of living at peace with each other. Greed and the seeking of power seem to the be forces that consume us all to some degree. Democracy is a concept that I struggle with continually, as what I believe and what I do are constantly in a state of tension.

The greatest tension I have in all of this is the abuse of others by those who claim a high moral ground or the political mandate. This site claims no political allegiance, I am not sure this is possible. I believe that I am in the left sphere of politics and have difficulty in accepting someone of the right could share a common view with myself other than on a superficial level. I also believe that everything we do is political.

I found this site after reading ‘Breaking Ranks’ by Peter Cabban and David Salter; I was searching for a contact point where I could pass on my thoughts and appreciation of his efforts.

This site may be the corner of the world I am looking for or it may be what ‘wolf’ implies it is. I hope it is the former.

Regards David

Welcome David

Hopefully this site is the little corner of the world where ideas can come clean, despite some awful yet grinding cartoons.

Most of the blogs herein express in various means — from the horrified , the well informed, the satirised and many other forms of expression — the despair at the destruction of proper democratic processes. Action is limited a group but as individuals, realising that we are not alone in the fight against greed and selfishness, we can defeat the problem. Should we convince just one person each to vote the other way, we would win hands down. But it's a hard slog trying to find the chink in apathy's armor or unsettle rednecks from the seat of their bulldozers...

Please read the blogs that have been posted for nearly a year now and contribute as much as you can. We need you.

Breaking ranks

Whaddya know! I grabbed Cabban's book for my flight to Brisbane. Will have to look for the connection to YD.


Great to see this blog Margo, I followed your blog at Fairfax for a while.

I have an issue that I would like to raise but can't decide where to start it on this blog, there doesn't seem to be a category where energy would be at home. Can someone advise?

Topics within the energy issue might be:
future of oil - oil depletion
alternative energy resources
nuclear energy
planning for an oil free future - time to transition etc
and so on

Along with the effects of climate change energy is a critical topic, we've seen what Katrina did to petrol prices in the USA. Rising demand coupled with shrinking oil resources is an important issue for all of us, you wouldn't know it though with the Howard governments laclustre approach to the issue.

I give oil 30 years, after that we will be in dire straights.

Hamish: Hi Bluemarble. Don't give up on Your Democracy, but fyi, Margo is now at

Democracy in Iraq

To try institute Democracy in a country that has been at war since before the birth of Christ is folly. I may not agree with everything Saddam did during his reign but compare his "regime" to the farce that followed in the wake of his arrest. It was safer for people to walk down the street in Baghdad with Saddam than it was to walk down the street in Sydney.

Saddam instituted religous tolerance and didnt take crap from landowners that felt they could do what they wanted because they could restrict food from the people.

He ruled with an Iron Fist and with religous/political extremists groups to keep in line. He had to do what a ruler had to do.

It's not like he had WMDs to threaten them with 

"Were on a mission from aussies who care."

.... when I first looked at this website I noticed that the home page had an action messages from some people who were trying to organise some action against xmedia ownership....... I had been trawling the activist websites looking for that kind of spark - searching for the best place to pour my energy....unfortunately when I went back to the website it was full of news/blogs ie:noise.......I was lost again......would you consider making a section dedicated for mission action discussions/tools only? Don't need to get rid of the other stuff just put it somewhere else?...but it appears to me that there is no other website that focuses on organising action....

* a clear process for processing ideas toward a member vote on mission selection :-)

* a single mission planned and divided into project phases [xmedia ownership mission is a nice start] :-)

* a dedicated discussion forum for the mission - edited to exclude non-relevent entries (edits and relevance could be debated and voted on for ex/inclusion) :-)

* a skills database of members to assist mission planning :-)

* mission dissection into activity and tasks assigned to special task teams :-)

* routine meetings (one sunday a month?) for members local to eachother :-)

if you can provide the tools needed to organise an agile activist project from the ground up you would be the first ... I say single mission because we would need to practice first so one focus is best.....

in any case these are just ideas if you like the ideas send me a woohaa and lets get this party started :-P

in any case well done for all members and visitors ....the first step to making a change is caring which brings you here.....

cheers - Jack


why not begin with the truth?

why not admit that australia is an oligarchy, wherein ordinary people play a political role similar to sheep on a station?

by using the phrase "our democracy " in reference to australian political function, you make impossible the attainment of actual democracy, simply by assuming that what we have, is 'it'.

you legitimize the rule of the oligarchy by calling them our 'democratically elected leaders' when in fact they are simply our masters, who ride the elephant with pinpricks, bribes, lies, and bigger lies. 

democracies do not have elected leaders, they have servants whose mandate is to carry out the wishes of the electorate. the electorate achieves it's aims through referenda, which set law and policy, and choose operational plans.

australia is in fact a 'conquered society'. the political mechanisms which run the state were devised to regularize and perpetuate the will of norman warlords over the 'cast-down ' people, who were called 'subjects' in the latin working language of the clerks.

the holders of this power have evolved, from warriors, to landowners, to merchants and industrialists, to the professional brokers who style themselves 'politicians'. but the function and structure of government remains what it was meant to be be: a device to 'farm' the populace, and broker the special interests of those with significant political power, chiefly the rich.

calling australia "our democracy" means that you have submitted to that variety of brainwashing which george orwell developed in '1984' as 'newspeak', and 'doublethink'. 

until you have a clear understanding of what australia is, you cannot change it in a productive way. until you know what is possible, you can not form a useful opinion of what you want. all that you can do, and all that this site does- is whinge. if you want to do more, get some education, at least enough to break out of the lies and delusions that australian education imposes on it's children, and continues to impose on all with it's media.

finally, dont imagine that you can change anything without great and continuing effort. bringing actual democracy to australia may well be impossible. those who think democracy is desirable, even necessary to the survival of the human race, are few. those who are content to whinge about the character of our masters are the vast majority.  

so far, the second sort is equally well represented on this site. 


we are also more than the second lot...

Yes we whingealot... But we also work tirelessly behind the curtain of this satirical front, to reconstruct a better way for us to live and interact... The complexities of social constructs from business, stock exchange, work and entertainment, etc., the speed of events including climate change and the amazing ability of those who spruik us to believe that their soap powder is better than the one we're using now, makes it we have to work very swiftly in changing public perceptions... as even pure democracy is only a perception of being part of a group. We have to uphold better justice, less moralizationing and more ethics, more understanding of human frailty under the assault of the powerful, we have to achieve peace through peaceful means — even if there are Neanderthals out there trying to kill us. The massive problems facing us, in the next five years, will determine if we have reached a humanity that understands and manages carefully its position properly on this lovely planet, or if we are just a bunch of bragging thugs escaped from our natural origins because we suffered early loss of hair... while burning and slashing our way toward the future of the idiots...

aggressiveness and receptivity...

Yes we whingealot...
Aggressiveness and receptivity are the motivartors in all our relationships, including that of democracy building... More on these two important subjects in a while...

guilty .....

Yes Al, we do seem to ‘whinge’ a lot on this site.

But hopefully, in the process, we also inform, provoke & participate.

Whilst the term “democracy” suffers from a good deal of abuse, it is widely accepted that it can take different forms, including direct participatory & representative models.

Like it or not, Australia follows the representative model of socio-political governance. Whilst our system has been & continues to be corrupted & abused by powerful sectional interests (the oligarchy), surely that has only occurred with the consent of the sheep of this nation?

Whilst you & I might think that a direct participatory model of democracy would be less susceptible to the corrupting influences of the elites, the real problem is not the elites, but the people themselves. If the vast majority of people are so disinterested, apathetic & self-absorbed, that they tolerate the corruption of our current system, would changing the model overcome the problem?

Given your willingness to belittle our feeble efforts, perhaps you could enlighten us as to your own success in improving the quality of our democracy?

"representative" democracy?

i won't laugh, it's too serious. there is only democracy, and various forms of oligarchy. if you are unable to see,or unwilling to admit, the damage you do to the ideal by linking the word to contemporary society, then you're the problem, not the solution.

asking what i've done to advance the understanding of the ordinary ozzie  is, i suspect, argument 'ad hominem', but i'll answer anyway-

i've done what i am doing, trying to lift the fog of doublethink from discussion so that knowing where we are, and where we want to be, will lead to "what must be done".


"Laughter is the essence of mankind"

I think it was Voltaire who wrote this. Of all the "libertinanteers" of democratic people, Voltaire knew the power of the subversive words, with a large twist of satire. His works predisposed people to discover "freedom" and did thrust a country towards change — the French revolution of 1789, which included the storming of the Bastille prison on the 14th of July. The peasants were sick of eating cakes! Sorry. bad joke.

Al, you are a good trooper. You are forcing us not to forget the suffering and the difficulties — which we don't really, as, in our advanced age (talking for myself here), we've seen blue murder, the Nazis, the concentration camps and their results, Communism triumphs and failures, Vietnam from one end of the binocular, and our own fiablility in trying to make the world a better place... but we still try under the massive onslaught of those who encourage the easiest option of them all — greed at all cost under the guise of moral and economic values. A better place does not mean having more technological mod cons, although they do help, but to have and maintain good relationships with our fellow travellers... And these include our animal friends (and I do not mean just pets but all species), as well as other humans, our mates in a very fragile environment.

Democracy is but one fragile way to formalise this but democracy as we know can be held to ransom by a majority often careless, even with the smallest margins, of people who are buying what we believe is the wrong product. War, lies, fiddles all promoted with an illusionary irresistible carrot. Yet, everyone these days is too busy making a buck to survive "better" and most are unable to see that often the buck that is being made is at the expense — and even the lives of other people, in very direct and indirect complex constructs. I cannot wear that.

Al, please lift the double think from discussion as much as you can... we need you to do so. As long as you realise that not everyone is at the same place than you or I are, not everyone wants to go where you and I want to go and that there is a million contradictory way as to do "what must be done"...

All this goes back to personal and societal management of what I alluded to in an earlier post; Aggressiveness and receptivity. The two main factors that drive survival in all life-forms. More of that when I have distilled the complexities of what I have already written over many years on this important duality which is at the source of war, friendship, love and understanding of what we choose. In choice we enter the greater world of stylistic expression, action and acceptance.

Keep prodding us, Al

Do we really exist?

To ID. and yourdemocracy. I think it is appropriate that I apologise to you and the editors of yourdemocracy for my often made mistakes. The editors of both sites have been extremely patient and I truly appreciate that. At my age it is a wonderful feeling to be able to express my opinions, albeit how radical they may seem, using real citizenship rights to think and reason. In my lifetime perhaps, opportunities to be more influential have been lost due to, as my Union mentor told me, "You are too honest". So you can imagine how much it is appreciated that at almost 79 years of age, I can finally have my say - whether right or wrong - to a group of people who are prepared to listen. What a pity it is that while we are in such a minority - it is frustrating to see so many injustices being committed without having any real influence to do anything about it? Nevertheless, you people in the "hidden basements of genuine objection" make subscribers like me, feel that my “military” service for my country was not wasted. NE OUBLIE.


thanks Ernest ....

Thanks Ernest for your honest sentiments .... certainly no need to apologise around here.

And thanks for your contributions: we only wish we had more to share.

rat in the ranks of the Zionists

Diaspora Jewry needs to let go of idealised Israel

Jeff Halper

April 10, 2009

A funny thing happened to me on my way to synagogue in Sydney; my scheduled talk was cancelled.

Granted, I am very critical of Israel's policies of occupation and doubt whether a two-state solution is still possible given the extent of Israel's settlements. But this hardly warrants the demonisation to which I was subjected for weeks in the pages of the otherwise respectable Australian Jewish News.

The uproar caused by the prospect of my speaking to the Jewish community in Australia is truly startling to an Israeli. After all, opinions similar to mine are readily available in the mainstream Israeli media. Indeed, I write frequently for the Israeli press and appear regularly on Israeli TV and radio.

Why, then, the hysteria? Why was I banned from Temple Emanuel in Sydney, a self-proclaimed progressive synagogue.


This is the threat I represent. What befell me in Australia is just a tiny episode in a sad saga of mutual exploitation to the detriment of both Diaspora Jewry and Israel. The lessons are three: Diaspora Jewry must let Israel go, get a (Jewish) life of its own, and return to its historical commitment to social justice and human rights. It may wish Israel well, but it must support an end to Israel's occupation and a just peace with the Palestinians. As for me, I'm going home to Jerusalem to continue the good fight.