What is “Democracy”

The Museum of Australian Democracy provides resources on democracy.

At its simplest, “democracy” means government by the people and rule by the majority.

In Australia, supreme power is vested in the people and is exercised by them through a system of representation involving periodically held free elections.

For a concise and informative explanation, please watch our 10 minute brief explainer and the following discussion with The Honourable Anthony Whealy QC, Chair of the Centre for Public Integrity and Saffron Zomer of the Australian Democracy Network.

There are different models of democracy around the world. Australia is a liberal, constitutional and representative democracy.

A liberal democracy is one that champions the development and well-being of the individual.

A constitutional democracy has its form of government enshrined in a written constitution. The Australian Constitution provides the basic rules for the operation of Australia being: the Legislature (the Federal Parliament), the Executive (Governor-General and ministers) and the Judiciary (the High Court and other courts).

A representative democracy provides for eligible people to vote for candidates to carry out the business of governing on their behalf. 

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