How the Democracy Disconnect Works in Australia



The People Versus the Political Class: The Distance Between Us and Our Rulers is Getting Bigger
The Monthly


The author argues there is a growing gap between citizens and politicians in Australia, as evidenced by growing public distrust with politicians and an increasing policy disconnect between what Australians want and what the political class offers them.

He highlights a number of policy issues such as privatisation, gaming and industry policy that are continually proposed by the major parties, but whose content is at odds with what the public states it wants.

The article highlights the difficult balancing act faced by politicians in making policy decisions that reach beyond immediate popular opinion.

He argues that growing citizen distemper with mainstream politics and the major parties is feeding directly into greater support for minor and micro-parties.

He states: 'All over the Western world the two-party stranglehold on government is starting to loosen, and small and micro-parties are tapping into a powerful anti-political sentiment ... The political class is already taking measures to ensure the success of these micro-parties is never repeated ...'

'The smaller parties may be confused, ropey and occasionally crazy, but that doesn’t sound much different from the rest of us. They’re also robustly democratic in a way the major parties aren’t.'


Thumbnail image: Parliament House, Canberra. Alex Proimos/Wikimedia Commons

Richard Cooke

The Monthly

Published Date
June 1, 2014