Abstract
The Australian political system is in some ways democratic, and in some ways not. The relationship between Prime Minister, Parliament and electorate seems to me the most democratic part of the system. The undemocratic features include bicameralism, federalism, monarchy, and some others. In calling certain features undemocratic I don't necessarily mean they're bad. For the views of 19th century liberals on whether democracy is a good thing, and if so subject to what limitations (if any), and several similar questions, see Liberal Democracy . My own view is that democracy (in the sense of deciding by majority vote) is not an absolute or basic political value. There is no guarantee that democratic decision making will produce justice for racial, linguistic, religious and other minorities, or that it will produce just and wise decisions about relations with other nations (e.g. on war, trading policies), or about environmental questions and other matters affecting the interests of future generations . Democracy needs to be tempered by culture or by institutions, e.g. by a liberal legal tradition, by education, by a Bill of Rights (perhaps), by special representation ("over"-representation by democratic standards) of minorities, etc. These things are connected with the "liberal" tradition, rather than with democracy. There is no reason why individuals or minorities should not press for such balances to democracy, undeterred by any opposition from the majority -- there is no political obligation " to conform to majority views. Having got that off my chest, I will look at Australia's political institutions from a democratic point of view: How democratic are they?
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