Australian Democracy

Topics: Democracy, Australia, Indigenous Australians Pages: 8 (2607 words) Published: September 23, 2008
Research Essay on Democracy and Citizenship in Australia “Australia is an excellent example to the world of a democracy which values the participation of its citizens in all levels of government. Discuss”

In this essay I will examine the development of Australian society and subsequent rights given to Australian citizens, thus addressing the guiding question as quoted at the top of the paper.

Australia is run by a democratic system at all 3 levels of government (Federal, State and Local). Democracy means in Greek "rule by the governed". A democrary has key fundermentals that sustains that type of leadership. In a perfect democracy every citizen has equal accessible amount of power and freedom. In Australia everyone Australian citizen over the age of 18 has a single vote to elect persons seeking election to the relevant level of government. This is one great example to the world community of fair rights and freedom. Although a prime minister governs Australia, their power is indirectly only accessible through the people’s vote

Australia has grown since the first settlement on the Indigenous lands, we have created states and territories, education for our people and developed a safe community for people to live in. We have grown as a community and we have embraced our culture from this land and from the migrants to the country. In the beginning there were conflicts between the British and Indigenous people as the settlers occupied their traditional territory. This occupation issue has been festering over the years and has resulted in land claims similar to what has happened in Canada. From convicts to well educated and harmonious citizens we have become one of the most respected and multi-cultural communities, unlike other countries where there is discrimination of other cultures or totalitarian regimes in power. These along with lack of education are major reasons that lead to conflict and subsequent war within a country. In Australia we embrace our multicultural society and advertise this as an advantage for migrants to come to our country to boost our declining birth rate and ageing demographics.

Being an Australian citizen you have guidelines and responsibilities that you have to follow they are: - Obey the laws and fulfil your duties as an Australian citizen - Enrol on the Electoral Register and vote at federal, state, territory and local government elections and referendums - Serve on a jury, if called upon

- Defend Australia, should the need arise
From these guidelines you have to respect the law, vote for your leader, become a concerned citizen and defend your country if it is needed. These rights express the freedom and voice that you have in Australia. If an unelected leader ruled you, you wouldn’t have these rights and freedoms, which Australian citizens have.

The powers of the federal government are outlined in the constitution. The constitution also outlines the role of States, Judiciary and the Governor-General. This constitution can only be altered by a majority of the states having a majority of voters approving the proposed law, only 1 alteration to the constitution has happened in over 100 years and that was the granted of suffrage to the aborigines.

Comparing the Australian system to another country with a totalitarian regime ruling for example in China, there is an estimated 500,000 people that are currently enduring punishment without charge or trial. Whereas in Australia you would go through court to be judged by a jury to receive the punishment required (This is exemplified by the detaining of David Hicks in Guantanomo Bay without a trial, even though he may have committed serious crimes, he should have at least had a fair and proper trial shortly after his arrest). There has been harassment, house arrest and abuse of human rights in China due to protests against the government, an issue that Australia does not face. Another interesting comparison is Fiji a place I have...
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