Key elements of parliamentary democracy have been set aside and taken over by the National Cabinet comprising the Prime Minister and the State Premiers meeting weekly.
This has occurred at a time when public trust and satisfaction with Australia’s democratic arrangements are at an all-time low. There has been widespread despair at the quality of our political leadership.
The new model of government based on collaboration between state and federal governments, across party lines, appears to have been effective for the crisis – but is this sustainable? Is there accountability? How can we maintain our democracy in these challenging times?
Locally-based public policy think tank, the Newcastle Institute, is hosting a special online forum (webinar) to provide different perspectives about maintaining democracy during and after the COVID-19 crisis on Wednesday 13th May, 2020, from 7 to 8pm.
Committee member, Dr. Ross Kerridge, said Newcastle Institute has brought together three national experts to discuss the challenges of politics during the pandemic and the longer-term implications for our democracy.
The panel for this webinar will be:-
· Dr John Hewson, former leader of the Liberal Party, now Professor at the Australian National University and Chair of the Commission for the Human Future.
· Cheryl Kernot, former leader of the Australian Democrats from 1993-1997 and then Labor Shadow Minister from 1998-2001.
· Professor Jim Jose, Professor of Politics at the University of Newcastle
‘The COVID-19 global pandemic may be a threat to our democracy” said Dr Kerridge. “But it is also an opportunity to change the way we are governed.”
“Those countries without trust in governments, low accountability, and poor cohesion have seen worse health and economic outcomes”.
“This webinar will look at how our governments have responded to the pandemic, and ask are there lessons that may have a more positive impact on our confidence in democracy”, Dr Kerridge said.