Democratic Decline & Renewal in Britain, Australia & NZ
Summary of book review:
Harvard University's Peter Hall reviews the book Democratic Decline and Democratic Renewal: Political Change in Britain, Australia and New Zealand by Ian Marsh, University of Tasmania, and Raymond Miller, University of Auckland.
Marsh and Miller argue there are several common problems being experienced in all three well-established democracies:
- Declining voter turnout
- Significant declines in party membership and participation
- Governments that are increasingly more interested in mobilising consent than engaging citizens and inspiring public debate
The authors see the excessive centralisation of power within the executive as a key driver of these issues. In response, they propose institutional reforms including:
- The establishment of more powerful legislative committees to specialise in specific areas of policies, separate from the party and the government
- Voting reforms, modeled on recent changes in New Zealand, to ensure more and varied voices within the legislature
Thumbnail image: Dean Browne/Flickr.