How to Reinvigorate Democracy
The federal government has flagged the possibility of holding a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Opinion divides on the appropriateness of such a plebisite: would it be a chance to broaden participatory democracy in Australia or would it be a ducking of parliamentary responsibility?
Democracy Renewal Researcher, James Cahill, Director and Co-founder of New Democracy Foundation, Lyn Carson, and Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law at the Queensland University of Technology, Peter Black discuss these issues with ABC Radio National's Sunday Extra presenter Jonathan Green.
Cahill, Carson and Black agree that there is a growing dillusionment with the political process in Australia, which is making it necessary for political institutions to develop better, more innovative mechanisms to re-engage the people and restore voter trust in the political system.
However, Carson cautions that plebisites alone may not be the most effective mechanism to achieve this. Rather she advocates for deliberative democracy, where citizens come together to discuss, debate and deliberate on specific policy issues and frameworks. 'When we're talking about how we might integrate people's thinking with that of parliament, I think we have to look at mechanisms that involve a great deal of deliberation', says Carson.
Thumbnail image: Nick Webb/Flickr