Justice Beech-Jones on parliamentarians

‘The overwhelming majority of parliamentarians are not motivated by an intention to enrich themselves or their families. Instead, they act in what they believe to be the best interests of the electorate, cognisant that the most likely reward for their service is persistent criticism and ultimately electoral rejection. The continuity and relative strength of our parliamentary democracy is a product of their efforts and the maintenance of public confidence in their honesty. All the work of parliamentarians can be destroyed by the wilful misconduct of only some of their members. Corruption by elected representatives consumes democracies. It destroys public confidence in democratic institutions. It opens up consideration of alternative modes of government, especially those that offer an illusion of security and order.’

Excerpt from  sentencing remarks by Beech-Jones J in R v Obeid (No. 12) [2016] NSWSC 1815 (15 December 2016).

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One response to “Justice Beech-Jones on parliamentarians

  1. ‘The overwhelming majority of parliamentarians are not motivated by an intention to enrich themselves or their families. Instead, they act in what they believe to be the best interests of the electorate

    It’s so painfully clear that Beech-Jones is not speaking on this side of the Atlantic. He is absolutely correct, and I would happily repeat his words to every single one of my friends.

    In the US, however, the picture is quite different. Almost all of the “parliamentary” representatives of one part have been bought by powerful interests, and so too have far fewer but still far too many representatives of the other.

    Corruption by elected representatives consumes democracies.

    Exactly. Democracies are fragile things and need constant tending, and they can easily be destroyed not just by corrupt demagogues but also by people whose idea of factual information is who they’d like a beer with or what they saw on yesterday’s Facebook: oo, er, flying saucers, gawblimey.

    Like

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