TITLE: Reforming Australia's Constitution and System of Government
Our democracy is a proud inheritance from previous generations. But what should modern Australians do to keep this Nation as good as it can be for us and our children? What would you do?
## Adapting to a New Century ##
Generations of Australians have put their faith in elected representatives and given them mandates to manage the country as they see fit. Many people wonder if this democratic model could be improved to give the public more say. Some also fear that as a nation, we are not doing enough to prepare for the challenges of a new and different century.
Across the country, there is high voter cynicism in the political process, especially among our youth. If voting were not compulsory, only around a third of young people say they would enrol and vote (Whitlam Institute, 2009). Many older people say they do not see the point of voting as nothing changes, no matter who runs the country.
Many citizens volunteer in the community but few set out to influence political decisions even though they have knowledge and skills to offer. Australians increasingly expect more of government and yet, are vocal after the fact when it doesn't serve them well. Modern Australians are from many different backgrounds and have different expectations and aspirations.
Less than two per cent of the adult population are now members of a political party. This steady decline has been occurring for decades in all major political parties. A shrinking group of people are deciding who our parliamentarians will be, with pre-selection increasingly controlled by political elites. Government is reliant on unelected political advisers and external consultants who are not accountable to the Australian people and who do not work transparently.
Laws are driven by political practicality and benefit. As a result, the public often bears the brunt of legislation made on the fly, in knee-jerk fashion, without proper consultation of stakeholders or citizens.
Because of overlapping jurisdictions, and with the Federal government collecting revenue that the States need to deliver some services, our federated system of government is constantly in strife. The Council of Australian Governments tries to smooth the relations between Local, State, Territory and Federal governments with varying degrees of success. But doesn't solve the ongoing power struggle that should have been settled at Federation.
## Tackling Common Concerns ##
People still want to engage when given the opportunity. Recent large-scale community engagement events such as the 2020 Summit, the Australian Citizens' Parliament, and World Wide Views on Global Warming have attracted many ordinary people, and encouraged them to think deeply about the future of our Nation. To be able to watch and take part in such assemblies and contribute to the discussion is a surprise to many,...