There’s no doubt that this little 23 page book has fair claim to be the start of CODE. I admit I’ve added “Church of Democratic Enlightenment” to the 2015 title page. But the thought was there, and it’s often the books that lay historical claim, because that’s where the thought is for all to see.
As the title page says it’s the book on my 2015 NSW State election campaign in the seat of Tamworth, which I must explain. In that campaign, I asked voters to “Vote 1 Heuston for Party Reform”. The book describes the policies of the campaign platform, like Rank and File Party Members Election of Party Leader, Public Funding of Elections, and a number of other measures designed to weaken internal party machine influence and outside elite influence like donations on parties, in favour of popular influence. The campaign’s goal was to get both major candidates to agree to support those reforms, to avoid a hostile preferencing recommendation using Facebook. Both did, by the Wednesday before polling day, and my campaign ended successfully that day.
Party factions are the main target of the book’s analysis, a murky internal focus but entirely CODE in its attempt to expunge elite anti-democratic influences from the parties. My speech to the Breeza forum near the end of the book notes the published evidence – Lowy Institute survey – that democracy was in trouble.
The birth of CODE, beyond just attacking anti-democracy, is on page 22: “It has for a long time seemed to me that the decline of formal religion left a gap that has het to be filled. That morality, as far as I can see, will necessarily be a democratic morality”.