2014 Lowy Institute for International Affairs Poll of Australian attitudes

The tenth annual Lowy Institute Poll, released on Wednesday 4th June 2014  the polls reveals that only 60% of Australians, and just 42% of young Australians 18-29 years of age, believe that ‘democracy is preferable to any other kind of government’.

When asked to choose between ‘a good democracy and a strong economy’, only a slight majority of Australians - 53% - choose a ‘good democracy’. When asked their reasons for not preferring democracy, the strongest responses are that ‘democracy is not working because there is no real difference between the policies of the major parties’, and that ‘democracy only serves the interests of a few and not the majority’.

For the third year in a row, the Poll reveals the high number of Australians, particularly young Australians, who are ambivalent about democracy. However, the results dispel the notion that apathy is the main reason for this ambivalence. Neither is the attraction of another, more authoritarian type of system the main driver of their disenchantment. Lack of choice and a sense that both major parties are too much alike seems to be the issue.