The future of Australian democracy
Australian Parliamentary Democracy
Eminent speechwriter Graham Freudenberg AM nominated the preservation and enhancement of Australian parliamentary democracy as Gough Whitlam's life-long cause, 'from which all else flowed'. Whitlam was a great parliamentarian, and he deliberately cultivated parliamentary skills because he believed that the parliament’s authority, process and outcomes were central to Australian democracy.
This public policy work area draws on the historical foundations of our Parliamentary system to facilitate responsible Parliamentary government in the 21st Century.
In his Oration, Bret Walker SC spoke to “the need to require our elected representatives and especially their executive delegates in the Ministry and Cabinet, to allow us sufficient information to check them, test them, and remind them of their representative capacity…this irreducible need for information about government is not to be seen through an individualist prism: it is not a personal right, but rather an imperative of a representative, parliamentary democracy.”
Twenty-five years on from the first release of Michael Pusey's work Economic Rationalism in Canberra, five diverse authors including Pusey himself reflect on how economic rationalist ideas - now more commonly referred to as neoliberal ideas - have shaped policy and debate in Australia.
Gough Whitlam was a master of rhetoric. Professor Yeatman explores the central importance of political rhetoric for creating civil possibility, for articulating and therefore continually creating institutions such as the parliament, the political party, the public sector and the federal system of government.
Examining the role of legislation in catalysing and embedding social change, this paper delivers a succinct history of the Racial Discrimination Act, its passage through Parliament, and its impact on Australia today.
Younger voters are the wild cards in the Australian electoral game. They are having a profound influence on the electoral landscape; an influence that has gone largely unrecognised.
Dr Brooker’s analysis of the voting intentions of young people at the Federal level is an indepth probe of the Newspoll Quarterly Data over the fourteen-year period from 1996 to 2010. It is worth stressing that this data is voter intention rather than actual votes.
The challenge is not simply to listen to what young Australians think, but to give due weight to what they are saying, to find a way for the voices that are unheard to be heard, to support, encourage and acknowledge the contribution of young people to civics and democracy in Australia.
It is clear that the aspirations of many young people to participate in the civic and political life of the nation are as strong as perhaps they ever were. It is critical that policy makers and governments understand how our young people imagine their democracy of the future and the part they wish to play.
This paper offers valuable insights into the aspirations of young people, their experience and the changes in how they do participate in community and political life. It highlights several powerful questions; not least of which is the extent to which these emerging forms of participation influence particular decisions or the political environment more generally.
To celebrate the arrival of touring exhibition The Way of the Reformer | Gough Whitlam in his Century in Broken Hill, the Hon. John Faulkner, Chair of the Whitlam Institute, will speak at Trades Hall about the legacy of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and the government he led.
What has happened to the project of Indigenous self-determination initiated by the Whitlam Government? Join us for a one-day symposium to reflect on the project of Indigenous self-determination and its various dimensions, presented by the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University and Nura Gili, UNSW Sydney.
“If everyone thinks outside the box, what happens to the box?”
Fixed four year terms – are they as logical and straightforward as they seem? What are the real or perceived obstacles, and how can they be overcome?
Indigenous Australians make up 27% of the national prison population – a statistic that has almost doubled from 14% at the time of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Almost 79% of Indigenous Australians in custody have been in prison before.
The Honourable Michael Kirby – jurist, academic and former Justice of the High Court of Australia, has warned that holding a plebiscite on same-sex marriage legislation would set a dangerous precedent in this country.