4 Responses to Is there a crisis in Australia’s democracy?

  1. Chris Mulherin says:

    Thanks Bob: this is a debate that must be had and a cause that must be pushed. Real leadership in both politics and journalism seems to be obscured these days in Australia behind the majority poll-following ‘leaders’ who are followers in disguise. Keep up the good work.

  2. Bob Simpson says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    You know AMEP wants to help improve and sustain personal and social flourishing of all Australians, across our society. Crisis in our democracy only damages that. I agree we need leadership if this is to be achieved, and at this time.

    Differently to you, I don’t know that it will come from politics and journalism, until after it comes from leaders in areas that make this country flourish. To cause change these leaders will need to be highly disciplined, courageous, and selfless for the common good.

    Politicians need to listen and represent what they hear are the needs of the Australian people.

    Journalists need to challenge the business models of media organisations: and, facilitate the contest of ideas, and publish content that is complex, controversial, unpopular, and poses difficult and painful questions.

    To facilitate these I think we need leaders to lead the leading the thinking and practice of politicians. Leaders from education! Leaders from commercial and social enterprises, investors, managers, and workers, all leading for the common good! Leaders from the law and justice ensuring the law works for the common good! Leaders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics calling us to new horizons. Leaders from the arts to creatively and metaphorically explaining these new possibilities; for the common good! And, we probably need religious leaders to authentically explain how their desires for the people and belief structures could contribute to our common good.

    Promising starts are being made! But we need more motivated leaders to build a movement!

    Chris, maybe, we should make a list of tasks that would bring this about. Might be food for thought.

    AMEP is working on one part! We’re trying to change the media narrative in favour of ‘flourishing’, for Australia’s common good.

    Let’s keep in touch!

    Bob Simpson

  3. Keirnan Fowler says:

    Thanks for this article Bob. Thought provoking stuff. I think Reece’s comparison of political parties with cartels is a striking one – particularly when he notes that “there is no equivalent of the ACCC to demand change to the structure of this system”. For media outlets and political parties alike, our current system lacks an arbiter that could intervene on the public’s behalf and in their interest. I guess in the case of political parties it is assumed that the public will eventually reject a stale party as irrelevant, although recent history in Australia suggests it could take generations for new parties to arise in their place. To me the most interesting question is: How could our system be different so as to address these issues?

    • Bob Simpson says:

      Hi Kiernan,

      I appreciate your thoughts.

      The comment about the ACCC got me thinking. These big political parties e.g. Liberal Party of Australia, The Australian Labor Party, and the Nationals and Greens are voluntary associations organised for the benefits of their members. Accordingly, I wondered if they are registered with the ACNC. I found there’s no record for the first three. Not sure about the Greens. This article on this very subject in the Australian Review of Public Affairs, out of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at The University of Sydney is informative. Keeping the party under control: The legal regulation of Australia’s political parties.

      I’m beginning to be very interested in processes that corrupt the public trust principle; which I think if held strong, could be a vital protection of the ‘people’ in our Australian democracy.

      In this overall regard, you might be interested in the site of the Accountability Round table.

      How could our system be different so as to address these issues? Good question! Maybe we could begin a conversational discourse through this site. Keep encouraging us.

      As a side comment, I’m often amazed at the silence of leaders in ethical and moral institutions, which are the fabric of our democratic processes, e.g Church leaders whoever they might be, the Journalists’ Union, etc.

      Food for thought and continuing discourse.



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