Democracy HacksBeing a Kiwi/Australian/Canadian (that's KAC), I have some direct experience with a few different electoral methods.
I enjoyed the 180 democracy hack about "Proportional Representation". Wearing my Kiwi hat, I'd say that it's a good way for minor political parties and assorted odd-balls to get a foot in the door. But let's be clear, Party votes are usually filled by a Party apparatchik... so in that regard nothing changes.
The simple fact of the matter is that no form of voting can select politician's who are truly representative of the general population. (Politician's are a breed of their own.)
HACK # 1 In order to obtain a group of politician's which is truly representative of the total population, I suggest that Senators be selected randomly from the pool of all adult Canadians. (I'd be open to the idea of also including children, would you?)Many people already seem to think that the Senate is a waste of space --- so it seems sensible to experiment with them. If we didn't like the results of our experiment, try a new one. If all else fails, get rid of the whole institution.
HACK # 2 I also like the preferential/transferable voting used to select members for the lower/upper houses in Australia.I suspect that our Canadian politician's (or at least the party in power) might look more favourably upon hack #2 than upon proportional representation --- it would be interesting to canvas their views...
My final hack would be to institute a narrow form of direct democracy --- which is made possible by the electronic era. Presently, all legislation gets its final approval from a representative of a Royal from a foreign nation (Royal Assent).
HACK # 3 Replace Royal Assent of each legislative bill with a direct electronic vote by the entire voting-age population. Perhaps such voting should be made compulsory? I'd suggest that a clear majority (say 70%) should be required in order for the bill to become fully fledged law. A lesser majority might result in the bill becoming provisional law, requiring a vote each year to decide whether to keep it or ditch it.
Well, HACK # 3 would certainly give people some real power over the rules that govern their own lives. Would that inspire them to take enough interest in order to participate? If not, well that's a valid choice also. Perhaps we really don't need government...