Parliamentary Democracy Essays

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Reynolds can quantify the gap between her own motivations as a centre-right political activist and the community she serves.

‘A lot of younger voters today don’t really identify with left or right,’ she says.

Before her current representative role she was deputy director of the federal Liberal Party.

She knows the political environment is in the midst of a significant transition.

A similarly constructive impulse could be found on electoral reform.

A Liberal senator, Linda Reynolds, and a Labor man from the lower house, Andrew Giles, with the support of Lee Rhiannon from the Greens, decided to try again to reach agreement on the regulation of political donations after they had tried as a group, and failed, earlier in the year, to do so in the joint standing committee on electoral matters.Malcolm Turnbull, under pressure to differentiate his public offering from Labor, was retreating into slogans: ‘Blackout Bill’, ‘Brownout Butler’, as if the prime minister of Australia had suddenly developed a sideline in training the household cockatoo.We were also at the midpoint of the postal survey on legalising same sex marriage, a government-by-opinion-poll experiment inflicted on the country because the Liberal Party couldn’t resolve its internal differences.That’s not a question you explore lightly, to satisfy a passing intellectual whim.It’s a question you explore only when the public interest demands that you explore it.Reynolds told me candidly that the cross-party group had an obligation to try to push through the points of disagreement because people were tired of failure.Many Australians were now of the view that their political system ‘stinks’.You’ve literally got half the population who could take or leave democracy, and we’ve got to look at how you re-engage that generation.Reynolds is a voice of experience when it comes to the practicalities of political campaigns.Legalising same sex marriage (or not), stopping the Adani coal mine (or not).Reynolds thinks demography is nudging the country away from partisanship and into civic activism.


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