Psst! Want to bet on the fall of democracy?

By | 2010/08/01

I was sickened to read in “Parties bey they will lose” (Sydney Morning Herald) that:

Election betting is on track to reach record levels across the country. More than $1 million in head-to-head bets have been placed with Centrebet alone.

This obsessive need in Australia to bet on anything and everything that has any indeterminate result is bad enough in terms of the social problems it causes. It goes to a whole new level of inappropriateness though when we consider the notion of betting on the outcome of a democratic election.

Why?

Democracy is not something to be gambled with, and by extension, gambled on. It is thus far the closest thing to truly representative government society has come up with thus far, and it should be respected, not trivialised. It also should be as clean and honest as possible. Introducing betting ads an unseemly, seedy and easily corruptible nature to the event, and robs the people of their right to a fair and balanced election. After all, according to the SMH article:

SENIOR Labor figures have placed significant bets on the outcome of the federal election, with some punting against their own party. A major betting agency said bets had been placed on members of the opposing team to win marginal seats in NSW and Queensland.

How corrupt is that? How monumentally pathetic and disrespectful of the electorate is this? For goodness sake, even our sporting institutions ban players and people involved in a games/events from betting on those games where they have influence on the result of.

I believe this needs to be urgently addressed, and at least one of Australia’s elected officials has his head screwed on in this respect:

Senator Xenophon is demanding an independent inquiry into political punting and will expand the terms of reference of a Senate inquiry into sporting and online gambling to include tougher regulations on election betting: ”To say it is a personal choice is an insult to the electorate.”

It’s more than an insult to the electorate; it’s a corruption of the electoral process, and I’d like to think that this violation of electoral rights will be stamped out ASAP.