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Chapter 2: Trust and Democracy in Australia
Summary and Main arguments of the chapter
Australians should take pride in enjoying an established system of democracy that has given citizens the right to freely express themselves. Nonetheless, the effect of democratic governance in Australia may also be painting a grim picture. For instance, there is a growing distrust between those who have been placed in authority and those who are not (Stoker, Evans & Halupka 2018. The main evidence presented by the authors is the fast rate at which citizens’ satisfaction levels towards democracy are declining.

Key arguments from the author
The author notes that there is also a receding trust for authority in politics. Members of the public also feel that the government has gradually lost the capacity to address issues affecting the nation (Ganghof 2018). Hence, civilians no longer pay allegiance to democracy. Several citizens are seeking new political machinery to represent their views and values at the national level for the sake of the future. In July 2018, a national survey was carried out to determine the degree of trust towards political systems and the state of democracy in Australia (O’Malley 2007). The authors note that political trust “is a relational concept that is about keeping promises and agreements” (Evans, Grattan & McCaffrie 2019, p. 33). Australia has also faced a democratic decline for some decades now. However, such type of reduction has been replicated across the globe as witnessed by the surge of resistance movements and uprisings. Moreover, political integrity and empathy seem to have been lost since the country has become more divided than a few decades ago (Stoker, Evans & Halupka 2018).

In the past year, several cases of espionage and foreign influence in Australian politics had become common. A senator resigned because he accepted money from a businessman who had close ties to the Communist Party of China. Foreign media correspondents in Australia are now considering whether to register even if they work according to strict journalistic rules (Pietsch & Martin 2011). So far, there has been no such registration for foreign correspondents in Australia.

Strengths and weaknesses
The main strength of chapter two is that the author explores both milestones and missing links in the system of democracy as applied in Australia. The chapter also addresses aspects of gender and democracy such that there are higher chances of females being dissatisfied with democracy than males. In chapter two, there were no outstanding weaknesses noted. The chapter fairly balances off in reporting the growing political divide. A journalist rhetorically asked on Facebook: “Australia is a democracy, isn’t it”? The Canberra call is part of a whole range of laws and measures aimed at reducing democratic rights in Australia.

Personal Substantive comments
The 2001 terrorist attacks in New York led to a raft of new laws in Australia, and hence, there have been cuts in freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of movement, the right to demonstrate – all fundamental rights that underpin democracy. This also includes laws against “outside influence,” which in particular curtail the rights of journalists in Australia. According to the activist group Get-Up, reporters are at risk of life imprisonment if they publish information that, in the government’s eyes, damages national security. This fact already applies if the journalist’s information leads to loss of faith and trust in Australia, according to the Sydney Criminal Lawyers. One of the laws also extends the definition of “national security” to economic goods and trade. It is now an offense to report anything that could harm Australia’s reputation internationally.

Chapter 27: The Revolving Door of Australian Prime Ministers
Summary and Main arguments of the chapter
Mary Walsh begins the chapter by noting that citizens have lost their trust in the Australian government as witnessed in the August 2018 leadership spills. As a result, the nation has been perceived as a coup capital, contrary to the expectations of civilians. The “revolving door of prime ministers” is the main bone of contention. In 2008, the position of prime minister held by Turnbull was successfully refuted and defended (Walsh 2019). The internal party politics within the Liberal Party was evident, bearing in mind that the conservative Peter Dutton was the one who brought the contention despite being among the key members of the party (Parker, Sahdra & Ondaatje 2019). Turnbull lost his premier position on the 24th of August 2018, and the terms of the campaign became a critical concern during the elections.

Key arguments from the author
It remains to be seen whether Morrison’s Liberal Party and the National Party can continue to govern alone or whether they need the support of independent MPs in Parliament. Opposition leader Bill Shorten, 52, admitted his defeat on the election night (Williams 2017). He congratulated Morrison on the surprise win by phone. However, the disappointment at Labor is quite considerable. The party had been leading the polls for two and a half years until the election day. Even the first poll projection had put it in the lead. However, on election night, Shorten stepped in front of his followers, admitted defeat, and announced his resignation.

At least four mandates went to the independent candidates. If the center-right alliance fail to get the majority, a minority government would be possible with the support of the independents. In the election campaign, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer presented himself as a guarantor of Australian growth. There has been no recession there for 28 years. The party leader of the Liberals also made it clear that the economy and the preservation of jobs, for example, in the coal industry, are more important than the ambitious goals in the climate change fight as Labor wanted. Due to the election victory, which many in his party did not expect, Morrison had a stronger position in his camp than ever before. The 51-year-old has only been a government leader since August 2018. At that time, he came into office after a revolt against predecessor Malcolm Turnbull. Morrison was Australia’s sixth head of the government since 2005. In the past decade, not a single leader has completed a full term in office. Australians were fed up with the many changes in the political scene, according to professor John Warhurst.

Strengths and weaknesses
The author connects the ideas in the chapter in a seamless manner. The reader can get the connection between the past and present political situation in Australia. However, the main weakness is that the chapter is quite brief in terms of the ideas covered.

Personal substantive comments
In the meantime, the Liberals have changed their rules for the election of the party leader. Now, Morrison has a good chance of spending the full three years in office until the next parliamentary election (Williams 2017). Only five of Queensland’s 30 seats went to the Labor Party . This regional weakness contributed significantly to the party’s election defeat. Queensland has long been considered Australia’s “Deep North.” It is noteworthy that the Labor Party paid little attention to the conservative state in the election campaign. Frustrated environmentalists have already called for a “Quexit,” the exclusion of Queensland from the Australian Confederation, to enable a more progressive environmental policy.

Evans, M, Halupka, M & Stoker, G 2019. “Trust and Democracy in Australia,” From
Turnbull to Morrison: The Trust Divide, Melbourne: The Trust Divide, Melbourne:
Melbourne University Press, pp. 332-338.
Ganghof, S 2018. “A new political system model: Semi‐parliamentary government”, European
Journal of Political Research, 57(2), pp.261-281. Available from:
March 2020].
O’Malley, E 2007. “The power of prime ministers: Results of an expert survey”, International
Political Science Review, 28(1), pp.7-27.
Parker, P, Sahdra, BK &Ondaatje, M 2019. “Individual Differences are a Better Predictor
of Moral Language Use in Australian Prime Ministers’ Speeches than is their
Political Party”, Institute for Positive Psychology and Education. Available from: . [4 March 2020].
Pietsch, J & Martin, A 2011. “Media use and its effect on trust in politicians, parties and
democracy”, Australasian Parliamentary Review, 26(1), p.131. Available from:
March 2020].
Stoker, G, Evans, M & Halupka, M 2018. Trust and Democracy in Australia: Democratic
decline and renewal. Available from: . [4 March 2020].
Walsh, M 2019. “The Revolving Door of Australian Prime Ministers,” From Turnbull to
Morrison: The Trust Divide, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, pp. 17-35.
Williams, B 2017. “A gendered media analysis of the prime ministerial ascension of Gillard and
Turnbull: he’s ‘taken back the reins’ and she’s ‘a backstabbing’ murderer”, Australian
Journal of Political Science, 52(4), pp.550-564.

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