©2018 by polity.

  • Alex Wok

Direct Democracy

Edited by Marc Eastmure


  • The functioning of the Australian government is fundamentally entwined with the existence of political parties. Primarily, the role of the political party is to aggregate the complexity of public opinion into coherent representative bodies that can link abstract political views with concrete government action. Democracy, loosely defined as government for and by the people, is characterised in Australia by the holding of free and fair periodic elections that elect public officials to represent us in parliament. This is what is called ‘representative democracy’ and while it is the most familiar form of democracy, is not the only form.

  • 'Direct democracy', as reflected by the name, is a form of democracy that seeks to give citizens the power to have a more direct role in the making of public decisions. It does this by allowing the public to make authoritative decisions on laws by having the public vote directly on legislation (as opposed to having public representatives like your MP vote).



Would direct democracy be an improvement

over our current system of government?

read more:

  1. ABC, ‘Young Australians are engaged in political issues, but unsure how democracy works'; News.com.au, ‘Switzerland’s direct democracy: The country where everybody votes on everything; Museum of Australian Democracy, ‘Who do you trust to run the country?: democracy, trust and politics in Australia

  2. Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, ‘Threat of referendum ‘sword’ keeps politicians in check

  3. ABC, ‘Election 2016: Flux Party runs Senate candidates who will vote based on app polls

  4. The Conversation, ‘Australia needs to lead again on democratic innovation

  5. Sydney Morning Herald, ‘The democracy question: the dubious rise of the referendum

  6. The Conversation, ‘Are Elections Ruining Democracy?’; Democracy Renewal, More Frequent Elections and 'Voter Fatigue'’

  7. Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, ‘How to reconcile direct democracy and international law’; ABC, ’The Tyranny of the Majority: A Plebiscite Betrays Liberal Principles