SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

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SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Abdoa on Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:40 am

Acknowledging that Our honourable Union is based on democracy, and that it is our aim to make every member involved in the building of a better political system;

Aiming to make all members more aware and responsible for participating in the legislative process by increasing the presence of direct democracy in our system;

We hereby propose that every Act of Parliament be put to a referendum on the region's page on NationStates, the outcome of which can approve the text or send it back to Parliament for another reading. Parliament will be obliged to amend the text, vote on it a second time, and finally submit it to a second referendum. If no majority is reached, then the proposal shall be automatically erased. If the outcome of the referendum is successful for the proposal, the Act will be send to the President for final approval.

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Abdoa on Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:41 am

Debate will last until Tuesday February 14, 2017.

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Nassau-Windsor on Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:28 pm

How do the authors of this Bill see the relation between Parliament and the People after the possible acceptance of this Bill in Parliament?

Is it not Parliament that is Sovereign, exactly because of the democratic election of Senators?

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Thomolia on Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:43 pm

The senators will always be the representatives of the nations, and if a law proposal isn't approved by the Parliament, it won't reach the referendum phase, but, if yes, then all the members can express their own position towards the law proposal, in favor ofdo it or not.

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Nassau-Windsor on Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:51 pm

Thomolia wrote:The senators will always be the representatives of the nations, and if a law proposal isn't approved by the Parliament, it won't reach the referendum phase, but, if yes, then all the members can express their own position towards the law proposal, in favor ofdo it or not.

But why then have a Parliament at all? Why do we then not introduce a system in which any member of the region may come up with any proposal of law, upon which is then directly voted by all members? As surely, that would take out much of the bureaucracy and actually deliver direct democracy...

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Thomolia on Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:55 pm

Because the Parliament is important. It can prevent any dangerous and illegal laws from being passed and submitted to a referendum. It also has the vital duty of making laws which cannot be demanded to anyone. Every political system which is born from the union of two different ones, taking the best part of each of them is proved to be very successful.

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Nassau-Windsor on Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:06 pm

Thomolia wrote:Because the Parliament is important. It can prevent any dangerous and illegal laws from being passed and submitted to a referendum. It also has the vital duty of making laws which cannot be demanded to anyone. Every political system which is born from  the union of two different ones, taking the best part of each of them is proved to be very successful.

Right, let me try another point: wouldn't you agree that this legislative process takes way too much time to adapt new legislation is such a way that it actually becomes effective?

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Thomolia on Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:26 pm

It won't take much more time than what is necessary now. And we are almost never in need of urgent laws (just see the 'Tags' act, which is a syntom of the fact that we are desperately fighting for finding new ideas to be brought into Parliament), so it won't affect our communitarian wellness and dynamics. Two more days in exchange for a solid and strong feeling of unity and a more active participation to the political life, I think they're definitely worth it.

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Abdoa on Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:53 pm

Speaking as a person living in real life in a country with half-direct democracy, I would like to point out that frequently, when voters are only going to the polls for ballot propositions, turnout, even in a city, only barely reaches 15-20%. Now, let's be generous, and say that half of the nations in our region are active. That means a turnout rate of around 10%, perhaps a bit higher because of the union's name. Is it really worth the Founder's time to create and monitor a poll that will essentially turn into a rerun of the vote in Parliament with the senators making up the vast majority of voters anyways? This would also entail a massive revision of the law corpus to protect us from voter fraud, and, while I'm on that point, I would like to note that closing off the region every four days on average accordingly is awful for recruitment.

Second, Thomolia mentions that Parliament would still be essential to safeguarding the system. However, let me point out that Parliament is elected by the people, and so if a majority want an illegal law passed, they can just vote in the parliamentary elections.

Third, I would like to mention that this Parliament is most certainly not running out of good ideas. The Regional Tags Act is actually a very important measure for recruitment: As of now, we are not tagged, and therefore miss out on that part of nation migration. That Act also establishes more important precedent for how Parliament asks the Founder to do things.

Fourth, this I firmly believe that this bill cannot function without a constitutional amendment: Parliament is currently sovereign, meaning that even if it chooses to back this bill, it still has the right and obligation, constitutionally, to have the last word, creating an absolute myriad of complicated problems ending up with what we have now, except way more confusing and procedural.

Last, I object again to this bill because of its complete lack of specificity on how exactly this major change in how we operate would work. Not to be blunt, but this essentially means that LibDem, Nassau, or I will have to spend our time writing an amendment or yet another administrative bill in order for this system to be actually implemented, even though I dare say none of us are really in favor of this drastic system change.

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Abdoa on Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:33 pm

Also, one other point, the word "erased" genuinely frightens me because it establishes precedent for completely removing government actions from the record. This is how coups get legitimized.

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Libertarian Democracy on Sun Feb 12, 2017 5:13 pm

I agree with Abdoa and Nassau's arguments, but I also see where Thomolia is coming from.

My first concern is that Direct Democracy would obliterate the purpose and powers of Parliament. Basically the Parliament would become a writers' guild and no longer have legislative powers.

Second, I don't like the idea of having a gigantic, disproportional government. By giving every person the powers of a Senator, in effect, the government is 100% of the region. I believe that this kind of system is more like Anarchy than government, and could not possibly work.

But Thomolia makes a great point that regional activity is low. I just don't think that expanding government is a viable way to bring up regional activity. I think a better way to go about it would be to finally fill the Recruitment Council so we can have 24/7 recruitment. I also think RP initiatives such as the Map and Currency ideas would help as well. Also, encouraging people to get involved with The Union's Gazette would probably help too. I just don't think direct democracy would have the same positive effect.

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Abdoa on Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:25 pm

I agree completely with Libertarian Democracy, and, as a reminder to the Map Government Committee members, I think that your next step should be a regional poll of which map the membership would prefer out of all the proposed ones.

Also, I will talk with Sepharich MoC about perhaps doing more outreach for the Union's Gazette so that members can write articles. I don't actually think most people know the newspaper exists right now.

But again, I do not think that direct democracy, with its huge expansion of government and the obligations of citizens, is a way to permanently expand regional activity. All the regions in nationstates that have a government where everyone is a member of the legislature have abysmally low activity rates, probably mostly worse than with us. And lets be frank: between a third and a half of nations in every region will never log on more than once a few weeks, and eventually CTE after a month or two. Direct democracy may temporarily spike regional activity, but in the end will end up only bogging down the government process for those who really do want to get involved.

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Re: SO 2017-7 Direct Democracy Act

Post by Abdoa on Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:50 am

Debate closed, please go vote in the Voting Chamber.

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