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Evaluating Democracy Reform Proposals

Evaluating Democracy Reform Proposals

(Originally posted in ), last updated May 1, 2018

Author: Nick Merange

There are several promising democracy reforms being developed at the moment, some based on technology while some are not. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather an overview of the most significant efforts I'm aware of after being exposed to several as part of Designing Open Democracy. The descriptions, evaluations and summaries here are rough and open to further revision, readers are encouraged to provide suggestions as to what things should be included and excluded in the following summaries or how I might consider adjusting my evaluations and why.

The primary goal here is to provide a rough evaluation of these interventions, their relative strengths and weaknesses in comparison to each other and our existing democracy according to certain criteria of what we're after in a good democratic system. The following comprises a list of interventions I'll be considering here.

The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in a Post-Truth Era - Professor Gillian Triggs (Hosted By University Of Melbourne Law School)

Professor Gillian Triggs presented a public lecture on Friday 23 March 2018 on the topic, "The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in a Post-Truth Era".

Audio Recordings:


A Charter will also allow Australia to meet its international obligations and resume its leadership position globally and regionally as a good international citizen. Above all,
Australia could return to the rule of law and to the principles of legality upon which
our democracy is based.

Open Government Partnership Australia (Canberra, Thursday February 22 2018)

Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18 comprises 15 ambitious commitments that promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. This website contains information on our Plan and progress towards its implementation.

Details in

This may be of interest to the Accountability Round Table group as they are interested in combating corruption.

Proposed (Initial) Strategy of Designing Open Democracy

Rationale & Vision Designing Open Democracy so far has centered on the niche topic of “Democratic System Reform” and is a gathering of minds to think about ways that our current system could be improved, without endorsing any particular system.

While this topic is very interesting, we are at a juncture where we are trying to work out exactly what is group is and what we are trying to do. We are also aware that there are other groups with similar goals and we want to carve out a niche which teams up with rather than double ups existing efforts.

This could go in any number of directions: * A. Are we just fans of the idea who just want to talk about it for our own enjoyment? or * B. Are we trying to actually change the current system?

Making politics work- Real representation and accountability

Rand Strauss thoughts on real representation:

I know little about Australian politics. But I think it's similar to politics elsewhere- it was never designed.

In general, representative democracies are dependent on representatives (people who know what constituents want) being accountable (serving constituents, reporting to them and being judged by them.)

The main component here is "accountability" which is a relationship. Actually, there are two important relationships, the one between the politician and the voters, and the one(s) between each voter and all voters together.

Relationships require communication. We don't have a communication system that supports either of these, and we've never designed one (until now- see below).