Across the world, trust in democracy is in retreat.
Urgent action is needed.
Democracy 2025 is strengthening democracy in Australia through research, dialogue and innovation.
Democracy 2025 is an initiative of the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) and the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra (UC-IGPA).
Democracy 2025 is a centre for excellence based at the spiritual home of Australian democracy — Old Parliament House, Canberra.
Bringing together business, government, the public service and the community, our key objective is to bridge the trust divide by:
- rolling out innovative best-practice solutions to the liberal democratic challenges faced across Australia and the Asia-Pacific
- creating active, engaged and informed citizens
- positively influencing democratic leadership, capacity and practice
- promoting excellence and innovation in democratic governance
Democracy is in trouble
Democracy is on the retreat globally. We have now entered what the Pew Research Centre has termed a global ‘democratic recession’ (Pew Research Center, 2017). Satisfaction with democracy is tipping around the world — there are now more authoritarian regimes than full democracies (Kellogg, Varieties of Democracy Project, 2018).
Australia has not been immune to this worldwide phenomenon. Despite 25 years of economic growth — which traditionally means increased satisfaction — Australians have grown more distrustful of politicians, sceptical about democratic institutions and disillusioned with democratic processes.
Source: Australian Election Study 1996 to 2013 and Democracy 2025 from 2014 to the present
MoAD’s recent research, Trust and Democracy in Australia, shows in 2018 satisfaction in democracy has more than halved in a decade and trust in key institutions and social leaders is eroding.
By 2025 if nothing is done and current trends continue, fewer than 10 per cent of Australians will trust their politicians and political institutions — resulting in ineffective and illegitimate government, and declining social and economic wellbeing.
Why does this matter?
Weakening political trust erodes civic engagement, reduces support for evidence based public policies, promotes risk aversion in government, and creates the space for the rise of authoritarian-populist forces.
Trust is the glue that facilitates collective action for mutual benefit. Without trust we don’t have the ability to address complex, long-term challenges. Trust is also closely tied to democratic satisfaction.
The restoration of political trust in Australia is critical to the health of our society and to the defence of liberal democracy more broadly.
How Democracy 2025 is making a difference
We are igniting a national conversation about our democratic practice and building a new generation of democratically engaged Australians.
Democracy 2025’s six core programs will be delivered in partnership with national and international leaders in their fields.
Public Trust Index
The creation of a Public Trust Index will set a baseline for the measurement and improvement of Australian democratic practice and integrates the four key elements that influence public trust — integrity, transparency, accountability and participation — into a single democratic dashboard.
Ignite Learning program
MoAD’s onsite schools’ learning programs currently reach 85,000+ students each year. Through Ignite, a new digital-based education program, we aim to reach every student in Australia.
As a first for Australia, the Democracy Lab will bring together the public, experts, politicians and government officials at Old Parliament House to co-design solutions for some of our big national challenges and experiment with new forms of democratic innovations.
Trust Building Public Leadership Program
Co-designed with government, business and community sector leaders, this innovative program specifically aims to improve trust systems in Australia and integrity in governance.
Transformative exhibitions and events
Interactive and engaging, MoAD’s exhibitions and events will showcase core concepts of Australian democracy and highlight our latest research, providing a unique space for visitor experiences and responses.
Australian Democracy in the Asian Century
By building strong regional partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region to generate research, education and engagement, this program aims to enhance the quality of democratic practice.
To receive information, reports and updates about future Democracy 2025 events subscribe to the Democracy 2025 mailing list.
16 October 2019
How Australian federal politicians would like to reform their democracy
Watch Dr Helen Haines MP, Tanya Plibersek MP, David Sharma MP, Professor Mark Evans, Michelle Grattan and Professor Gerry Stoker discuss the findings from How Australian federal politicians would like to reform their democracy at Parliament House on 16 October. The video was produced by our digital partner, contentgroup.
16 October 2019
Revealed: how Australian politicians would bridge the trust divide
5 September 2019
Liberalism and Australian Democracy: Lessons from History – A talk by Dr David Kemp
In August, MoAD hosted a free public talk by the Hon. Dr David Kemp, Chairman of the MoAD Board, who reflected on the contribution of liberalism to Australia’s democratic story and asks what we can learn for the future.
The public talk is part of the Democracy 2025’s Future Democracy series, was held in the House of Representatives Chamber in the spiritual home of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.
5 September 2019
New D2025 report: APS deliberative jury
An Australian Public Service (APS) deliberative jury was convened at Old Parliament House in February to consider the question, ‘What key elements of democratic trust are broken and what needs to change to create a trusted APS?’ The jury’s recommendations are outlined in the latest report by Democracy 2025.
20 July 2019
Australians’ faith in politics has collapsed – how can we reimagine democracy?
Australians like democracy, just not the version we have.
30 May 2019
New Democracy 2025 report: Co-design and Deliberative Engagement: what works?
The report examines how co-design and deliberative engagements are rapidly changing the way governments around the world grapple with complex public policy problems.
22 May 2019
The Policy Space
The Polls May Have Been Off, but the Australian Federal Election Exposed a Growing Geographical and “Chattering” Divide
15 May 2019
The Policy Space
To Rebuild Trust in Politics, We Need to Place Trust in Citizens
25 March 2019
The APS’s role in restoring public trust
6 March 2019
ABC Radio, The Focus
Democracy in crisis - why trust in politicians is at a record low and can it be fixed?
6 March 2019
Democratic Conversations: Ireland’s constitutional mini-publics
Professor David Farrell, University College of Dublin, Dr Nicole Curato, University of Canberra and Dr Simon Niemeyer, Australian National University discuss how the Republic of Ireland has been a trailblazer in the use of deliberative mini-publics for important topics of constitutional reform, including marriage equality.
25 February 2019
Trust in politicians and government is at an all-time low. The next government must work to fix that
Democracy 2025 – the collaborator of choice
Delivering this hugely bold and ambitious project can’t be achieved alone. We are bringing together government, public service, academia and the media. Democracy 2025 is supported by the expertise and cutting - edge thinking of our Founding Principals:
- Professor Mark Evans, UC-IGPA Director Democracy 2025
- Formerly Director of the Worldwide Universities Public Policy Network and Vice President of the Joint University Council for the Applied Social Sciences, he specialises in the study, design and delivery of democratic governance.
- Daryl Karp, CEO and Director of MoAD
- Chair Council of Australian Museum Directors, non-executive director SBS and Australian Children’s Television Foundation. With a focus on innovation and transformational change, she was recipient of the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Awards in Public Sector and Academia Award – Australian Capital Territory.
- Professor John Dryzek
- Director, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, UC-IGPA, Laureate Professor, he is known for his international contributions in the areas of democratic theory and practice and environmental politics
- Professor Patrick Dunleavy
- Director of the Democratic Audit of the United Kingdom, London School of Economics, UK, he is a political theorist specialising in the fields of public policy and government.
- Michelle Grattan AO
- Political Editor, The Conversation and Professorial Fellow at UC-IGPA. In 2004 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to Australian journalism.
- Virginia Haussegger AM
- Director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation and ACT Australian of the Year for 2019, she is an award-winning journalist and gender equality advocate.
- Sean Innis
- Director of the Public Policy and Societal Impact Hub, Australian National University, he was Special Adviser to Australia’s independent Productivity Commission in 2016, and has more than 25 years’ experience in public policy.
- Professor Gerry Stoker
- Centenary Professor, Centre of Governance, UC-IGPA. Author of Why Politics Matters: Making Democracy Work, he has a focus on public participation and public service reform.
- Dr Nina Terrey
- Partner at Thinkplace. Specialising in the transformation of complex services she advises senior executives on how to take a human-centred approach to managing change.
Democracy 2025 resources
- Submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy (September 2019) (PDF, 1MB)
- Democracy 2025 Report No. 4. Defining the Challenge, making the change (September 2019) (PDF, 1.5MB)
- Democracy 2025 Report No. 3. Co-design and Deliberative Engagement: what works? (July 2019) (PDF, 1.4MB)
- Democracy 2025 Report No. 2. What lessons can we draw from international experience for bridging the trust divide? (December 2018) (PDF, 1.8MB)
- Democracy 2025 Report No. 1. Trust and Democracy in Australia (December 2018) (PDF, 17MB)
- Democracy 100 You Can Make a Difference. Towards a Charter For Australian Democracy? (PDF, 3.9MB)
- Delivering Digital Government: the Australian Public Scorecard (2017)
- How Australians Imagine Their Democracy: The "Power of Us" (2016) (PDF, 5MB)
- Who do you trust to run the country? (2016)
Please note that unless otherwise stated, the Australian data presented in these reports prior to 2014 are drawn from the Australian Election Study. This is a fantastic public resource for monitoring attitudinal data on democratic issues.
Blogs and case studies
- Watch the Gov 2.0 Taskforce Ten Years On, 1 November 2019
- Watch the APS Deliberative Jury, 14-15 February 2019
- Watch Dr Helen Haines MP, Tanya Plibersek MP, David Sharma MP, Professor Mark Evans, Michelle Grattan and Professor Gerry Stoker discuss the findings from How Australian federal politicians would like to reform their democracy at Parliament House on 16 October. The video was produced by our digital partner, contentgroup.
- Collaborative practice repository – Participedia is a global on-line community dedicated to crowdsourcing, cataloguing and evaluating public participation interventions.
- The Polls May Have Been Off, but the Australian Federal Election Exposed a Growing Geographical and “Chattering” Divide
- To Rebuild Trust in Politics, We Need to Place Trust in Citizens
- Introducing Democracy 2025
- Trust and Democracy in Australia - Democratic Decline and Renewal
- A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: Exploring Political Trust
- Micro-institutions in Liberal Democracies: what they are and why they matter
- ABC Radio, The Focus, 6 March 2019, https://www.abc.net.au/radio/perth/programs/focus/trustinpolitics/10876434
- 2ser 107.3, 28 February 2019, https://2ser.com/federal-election-and-the-trust-divide/
- Radio Adelaide, 28 Feb 2019 http://radioadelaide.org.au/2019/02/28/do-we-trust-our-politicians/
- The Conversation 25 February 2019, https://theconversation.com/trust-in-politicians-and-government-is-at-an-all-time-low-the-next-government-must-work-to-fix-that-110886
- Content Group, 25 January 2019, https://contentgroup.com.au/govcomms/ep-25-bridging-the-trust-divide-with-mark-evans/
- 2SER 107.3, 9 December 2018, https://2ser.com/federal-election-and-the-trust-divide/
- The Conversation 5 December 2018, https://theconversation.com/australians-trust-in-politicians-and-democracy-hits-an-all-time-low-new-research-108161
- The Guardian, 5 December 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/05/australians-no-longer-trust-their-democracy-survey-finds
- Sydney Morning Herald, 4 December 2018, https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/in-freefall-satisfaction-with-democracy-hits-new-low-20181204-p50k4d.html
Democracy. Are you in?
We can't achieve this bold vision on our own.
Active citizenship is the key to strengthening our democracy.
To receive information, reports and updates about future Democracy 2025 events subscribe to the Democracy 2025 mailing list. If you would like to get involved with Democracy 2025 contact Professor Mark Evans by email firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @MarkEvansACT