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For several years now, polls by organisations like the Lowy Institute have been telling us that Australians aren’t particularly impressed by our democracy. This seems a startling revelation. But it shouldn’t be.
With five prime ministers in five years, Australia’s democracy hasn’t exactly been stable or functional of late. Yet there’s more to Australians’ dissatisfaction with their democratic system than Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott.
Lecture - Lowy - Director - Alex - Oliver
In a 2014 Australian parliamentary lecture, Lowy polling director Alex Oliver advanced other theories said to explain Australians’ ambivalence about democratic politics. Most had to do with the state of our democracy or society. But Oliver also put forward the interesting idea that non-democratic powers in our region are influencing Australians’ view of democracy at home:
… nations with different political systems, particularly in our region, are seen as successful despite being non-democratic, and present a somewhat viable, even attractive, alternative to our imperfect democratic system.
Countries - China - Australians - Systems - Successes
In particular, countries like China offer Australians “aware of these different political systems and their successes” a political blueprint not necessarily “wedded to the ideal of democracy as the only viable form of government for a successful nation”.
Oliver’s theory is an interesting one. For her, it’s quite plausible that Australians who are sick and tired of our democracy’s immaturity, epitomised by revolving-door leaderships, are looking at more stable authoritarian systems like China for answers.
Book - Intellectuals - China - Today
Shouldn’t this worry us? Not according to an important new book by one of the leading Western intellectuals working in China today.
In The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy, Daniel Bell argues that contemporary Chinese politics has become defined by a system of political meritocracy that might offer solutions to some of democracy’s most enduring woes.
Bell - Scholar - Theory - China - Years
According to Bell – a Canadian scholar who has lived and taught political theory in China for the past 12 years –...
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