Printer Friendly

All power to these people fixing our democracy: OUR DEMOCRACY IS BROKEN YET THE ROAD TO POLITICAL ACTIVISM CAN SEEM DAUNTING. WHY DO WE NEED TO BE DEMOCRATICALLY ENGAGED AND HOW DO WE GROW OUR COMMUNITY SO THAT EVERYONE HAS A SAY? MEET SOME INSPIRING PEOPLE LEADING THE WAY.

I'M A GREAT BELIEVER that the people affected by decisions need to be involved in making them. People can and should participate and be involved in the decisions affecting their lives, their communities, their workplaces, their traditional lands, the places we love to visit and enjoy and the climate our children will inherit.

The ways in which we can contribute to the outcome of these decisions are varied and dependent on rules, some formal--like Australia's system of being simultaneously a federation, a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy--and some less formal, like the rules of power and influence.

Australians have had a worrying freefall of trust and satisfaction in the ability to influence decisions in the formal rules of our parliamentary democracy. A study by the Museum of Australian Democracy and the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra revealed that satisfaction with government in Australia has crashed over the past decade from 86 per cent to an all time low of 41 per cent.

Throughout my career in community organising, when I talk to people not currently politically active about how to change the things that concern them,

whether it's that next pay rise or action to stop climate damage, the thing I hear most is, 'Well, I only vote once every few years and my local MP won't listen to me if I'm just one person.' There is a marked difference from that state to the moment someone decides to get engaged with an organisation like ACF, usually through a powerful conversation with a volunteer. I'm most inspired when I get to hear and see the things our community leaders say and do. Their views on democracy and people power stand for themselves in their profiles. I know that if we work together, we'll argue for better formal rules to have a say, but we'll also work within the democratic system we have to create a better world for us and all those who come after us.

LIZR EEN

ACF COMMUNITY CHISHOLM. GROUP LEADER

"I'm a little cynical about many MPs interest in adequately representing their electorate. Many of the people I speak to in Chisholm have wondered if Julia Banks has been interested representing the people in her electorate--which is maybe apparent in her move to run in Flinders. I'm pleased to see her change of heart on climate change now that she's left the Liberal Party and I assume she is reading the community mood. That says to me we need to work even harder--we need to be more direct in our demands, and do more organising to grow our movement bigger and stronger and make sure those demands are heard."

JASON MODICA

MILDURA DEPUTY MAYOR, ACF RIVER AMBASSADOR

"Through my years of being an activist, and then a local politician, I have found that deep community engagement is the basis of representation. There is no democracy without the ongoing practice of debating your political differences. If discussion is open and considered there should be an ease of communication between voters and the elected. This is the basis for generating thoughtful community-driven outcomes through the three levels of government in Australia."

KATE ARNOLD

ACF COMMUNITY MACNAMARA, GROUP LEADER

"ACF Community Macnamara has given me the opportunity to join forces with people who are as equally passionate about protecting our biosphere. We find ourselves with a climate change emergency and it's becoming increasingly urgent that people become more actively involved in the democratic processes which have so much influence on our lives and the world around us."

By ACF Community Organising Program Manager, Teryn Crick
COPYRIGHT 2019 Australian Conservation Foundation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Crick, Teryn
Publication:Habitat Australia
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Apr 1, 2019
Words:602
Previous Article:10 principles for a healthy democracy.
Next Article:Mine games: the hidden players: AGAINST A BACKDROP OF RISING GLOBAL TEMPERATURE RECORDS, HOW IS THE POLLUTING ADANI COAL MINE STILL A VIABLE OPTION?...
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters