How does Australia compare: what makes a leading democracy?

Two paradoxes for Australian democratic governance
Politics Public opinion Democracy Public trust Australia

Democracy 2025 has partnered with the Trustgov Project to investigate how Australian attitudes towards issues of trust and democratic practices compare both with other mature liberal democracies and nation states in our region.

To understand your own country, and the quality of its democratic governance, it is valuable to be able to place its experiences in a comparative context. This report does that using the most recent data from the gold standard World Values Survey and the authors use it to explore whether Australia is a democracy in a position to lead.

The quality of democratic governance has come into sharp focus during the global crisis precipitated by coronavirus. Although Australia will beat the pandemic, is the Australian system of governance robust enough to win the trust of its citizens and enable them to negotiate the measures necessary to contain, eradicate and recover from the virus in good time? Are other democracies responding more effectively to the challenge?

The quality of democratic governance is also important in determining the standing of a system and the extent to which it can offer leadership across the world and with its regional neighbours.

This report finds many positives that reflect the standing of Australia as a long-established liberal democracy. Citizens in Australia have a comparatively high sense of the achievements of their democracy, its importance and its delivery of freedoms. They do not perceive their political system to be as prone to corruption as citizens of many other countries.

Yet notwithstanding the lack of focus on corruption, Australians exhibit greater distrust in their political system compared to many other countries. What they lack in trust in politicians contrasts with their degree of trust in science.

Publication Details
Access Rights Type:
Democracy 2025 Report no.6