16 November 2005 : DOME objections answered


Letter to 809 Australian parliamentarians

Dear Parliamentarian,

You have seen my three letters inviting you to vote in the DOME of Conscience. All the reasons expressed to me for not voting are answered here. The identity of those who contacted me directly is not disclosed. However you are now invited to tell everyone your reasons for not voting.

1. Concerned about use of simple placards


"I am concerned about the possibility of being misinterpreted in your poll because the system oversimplifies opinions on complex matters".


Every stand can be expressed in its simplest form. Every book has a title. A carefully crafted simple opinion placard can give a clear view of where you stand without risk of misrepresentation. Nevertheless each opinion placard has a dedicated discussion board to the right of the placard. You can post every speech you ever made here.

In this organic style of poll people are not limited to a set number of choices. For example in the DOME you can see Reverend Dr Gordon Moyes has voted for, "Freedom to live is every child's right". It is quite clear where he stands on this issue. Yet some others may want to vote for the same issue in a similar direction yet think this statement needs to be qualified for them. In this case they can submit another placard, it might say something like, "Abortion law should be stricter but the mother's health must be considered".

2. Concerned about polling method


"The style of questions/propositions didn't appeal to me".


There are no questions. Just opinions competing for votes. In this forum all parliamentarians have equal control over the voting agenda. No parliamentarians should decline to vote because they do not like the opinions on display because they can add to the list of voting options any time. It's very easy to add another opinion - just click the "Submit New Opinion" button and type it in. It appears immediately. Then any parliamentarian can vote for it any time.

3. Not convinced people care what parliamentarians think


"If people are not interested in knowing who their MP's are, I am not convinced that they are going to be interested in what they think!" This comment is a response to comments in my 10 November 05 letter, " . . most of your constituents do not know your name . . imagine a major sporting event where the scoreboard was hidden from view. The public would soon lose interest. A live, transparent, scoreboard of issues before the parliament does not exist. If it did many more would be engaged. It may make a dramatic difference".


The same people would not be interested in the players on the sporting field either if the players kept the scoreboard hidden from view.

4. Too busy


"My first priority is to meet with more of my constituents face to face where we can have dialogue about the issues of local and national importance. Thus, I respectfully decline to participate in your on-line site only because I have a duty to meet those priorities".


You would also agree that the first priority of elected officials is to represent all constituents and ensure that democracy remains strong. Apparently most constituents do not know the name of their elected representatives. Clearly face to face meetings connect only a small percentage of constituents with their elected representatives. Just a minute or two of each lawmaker's time each month to vote in the DOME is all it will take to create a live scoreboard of issues before the parliament. This issues scoreboard has great potential to reach the masses, engage many more people and make democracy stronger. How could those few minutes be better invested?

5. Few are voting


"It appears that there has only been one vote."


Who do you expect should be voting before you and why should they not expect you to vote before them? In this Australian DOME of Conscience forum the more than 800 people registered to vote are all elected officials, community leaders. In a forum of leaders no one should be waiting for others to vote first. If the idea has merit all leaders should lead with votes of support.

6. Concerned about honesty in voting


"I am far too busy dealing with the real to have spare time to deal with the hypothetical. I think you are also likely to get the answers pollies think they should give rather than what they really would do".


Your concern that some parliamentarians may not be honest with their views is a real issue, not hypothethical. This illustrates a very good reason to support the DOME by voting in it.

7. I do not want to vote on some of the issues in the DOME


"I do not want to vote on abortion."


You do have to vote for all issues and you are not expected to. You vote for only those issues foremost in your mind at the time. The forum is configured to allow each person to vote for, at most, ten opinions at any time and you can vote for more than one opinion on the same issue.

To see my earlier letters click here.

To vote click here. You will be signed in automatically.

If you are still NOT ready to vote click here to tell people why.

To get a glimpse of how a DOME can look with a few more voters visit www.ukdome.com and see candidates for the UK Parliament voting in the DOME in the leadup to the May 05 election.

For the history of this initiative see the DOME home page at www.domevote.com. It mentions the launch in the Federal Parliament, some of the people who have voted in it and others who expressed public support.

It's the DOME-ocracy Of Mass Enlightenment.

Ralph McKay
Founder -- DOME of Conscience