Bongiorno, Frank: Politicians’ inability to speak freely on issues that matter leaves democracy all the poorer

Bongiorno, Frank

Politicians’ inability to speak freely on issues that matter leaves democracy all the poorer‘, The Conversation, 21 June 2016

The author notes the poor quality of political debate in Australia, particularly during the current election campaign, but also historically and in general. He links it to the excessive emphasis on parties (both sides) as ‘teams’ and the consequences of straying from the party line. This is not necessarily the only way to fly in a Westminster system – as experience at Westminster shows.

All [Australian] parties demand tight discipline, in parliament, the media and election campaigns such as our present one. Those few who dissent risk their preselections … [The author yearns for] the more vigorous and deliberative democracy that a weaker party discipline and more open debate would bring in their wake.

Other material by Frank Bongiorno on party politics can be found by searching the Honest History site using the terms ‘Bongiorno’ and ‘Dyrenfurth’.

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