Separation of Powers

Last week, in response to a suggestion that an independent body be established to evaluate infrastructure projects, the Treasurer, Joe Hockey said, “ The thing I’m always wary of is setting up a new independent body…where you just give them money and they determine where the money goes, because ultimately, as a person elected by the people of Australia, I’m accountable for that.” “ If you set up a body that has no accountability – none – no shareholders, no elections, no nothing – and they are spending billions and billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, I instinctively don’t like that.” Well I beg to disagree. I think it is essential that regulations should be administered by a separate pr

The Virtue of Tolerance

Tolerance is an important virtue in a modern liberal democracy. This has been highlighted by the current brouhaha about ultra-Orthodox Jewish men refusing to sit next to women on planes. Formerly, many societies shared common cultural and religious beliefs. Nowadays most societies are pluralist. The political culture of such democratic societies is marked by a diversity of opposing and irreconcilable religious, philosophical and moral disciplines. It is important to realise and accept that such views can be reasonably held. Consequently there is a need to embrace often conflicting values. You need to tolerate others' views even if you do not agree with them. Moreover, you need to avoid infli

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Peter Francis Fenwick       Writer      Melbourne     Australia