There is an old Taoist saying that the along the lines that the better the government the less the people notice them. What does that say about Australia’s politicians?
The place of the politician is to legislate on what the people want, not on how it should be done. The first needs to be the will of the people, and the second, how it should be done, they have no idea.
An example of democracy working properly was the introduction of legislation to limit the pollution emitted from motor vehicles. In the 1972 Vehicle Emission Standards where introduced and progressively tightened since. (Department of Infrastructure).
The people through the parliament legislated that motor vehicle emissions would be subject to new standards and then the motor industry worked out how those standards could be met. That is democracy in action.
Neither side of the political divide in Australia has the slightest idea what to do about climate change. Nor should we expect them to. Solutions to technological problems need technological answers.
If we are to cut carbon emissions to acceptable levels the answers will come form scientists, engineers, architects and other technocrats working together. In order for technocrats to find solutions to the problem of climate change they need direction.
The way to give technocrats direction is to legislate standards. “By 2015 the maximum carbon emissions per gigawatt of power produced shall be …..”” By 2020 it shall be …… ” That is all the technocrats need to fix the problem. Given the standards that need to be met those with the expertise will find a way to meet them.
Politicians arguing about the price of carbon, or about planting more trees is totally pointless because I doubt if there is a single politician in the Australian Parliament who has the slightest understanding of the technological issues involved. Australian politicians are a bunch of Nero’s fiddling whilst the planet burns. Just pass the standards and let those who know what they are doing get on with it.
Another issue where the politicians need to step aside is the NBN. Malcolm Turnbull may have had a little to do with the internet when it was Web 1.0, a few simple text pages with no interactivity, but that was long ago. Now we have Web 2.0 with its social interaction and we are on the brink of Web 3.0.
3D printing linked to the Internet now makes it possible to download data from the other side of the world and ‘print’ (construct) the object locally. It may sound like science fiction but on-line shopping with the object we buy materialising in our homes without any physical delivery is now technically possible. What is technically possible now will be commonplace in a few years.
It will require a massive data transfer speeds for web 3.0 to work properly. Do any of our Pollies have the slightest idea how to deal with that one? Turnbull’s Web two and a half is not adequate to meet today’s needs and if the NBN is adequate when it is finished it will not be adequate for long. With the NBN it is a case of too much power is never enough.
What is need is for those who have the expertise to understand what is happening and make intelligent guesses about what form of internet we will need to be given the responsibility of telling our politicians what is really needed. If we mess this one up the results could be very expensive and potentially chaotic for Australia.
If the place of politicians in our live is examined we could well think that they are continually messing things up because they are constantly making insane statements and decisions about things they nothing about. They also prevent those who do know what they are doing getting on with it.
Our politicians know nothing about climate change. Our politicians know nothing about the Internet. They know very little about anything. But that does not prevent them from being good representatives of the people if they could remember what their position is supposed to be.
Politicians are not required to know the answers. Their job is to give direction, by way of legislation and according to the will of the people to those who do know what they are doing. Then it is the place of the politician to step aside and let it happen.
If politicians understood their place in a democracy and stop seeing politics as a stepping-stone to power we would all be much better off. We could also get things done.
Vehicle Emissions Standards. Australian Government. Department of Infrastructure and Transport. .pdf file retrieved from https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/environment/emission/index.aspx