Political self-interest the scourge of Australian democracy

Self-interest on the part of politicians and voters is at the core of a crisis in democracy that’s risking Australia’s cultural, economic and social fabric – and there’s no easy solution in sight.

That’s a nutshell take on an expansive dissertation by Paul Kelly, editor-at-large of The Australian, who delivered Flinders’ flagship 2017 Dean Jaensch Lecture on the topic of “The Crisis in Australian Democracy”.

As one of Australia’s most authoritative and respected authors and journalists, Mr Kelly was invited to deliver the annual flagship lecture in recognition of expertise built over almost 50 years of trenchant analysis of Australian politics, public policy and international affairs, spanning Australian Governments from Gough Whitlam to Malcolm Turnbull.

His thought-provoking exploration of the current citizenship imbroglio, the ongoing coalition leadership tensions, the emergence and growing influence of new and select political interests, the role of the media in politics, and community expectations of politicians prompted a lively question-and-answer session at the lecture’s end.

Mr Kelly is a regular television commentator and author of nine books including the End of Certainty on the politics and economics of the 1980s; Triumph and Demise on the Rudd-Gillard era; and The March of Patriots, providing a re-interpretation of Paul Keating and John Howard in office.

The Dean Jaensch Lecture is a key feature of Flinders’ public engagement program for the College of Business, Government and Law.

It pays tribute to Flinders University’s notable Professor of Politics and respected political analyst Dean Jaensch, whose particular interests include electoral politics, voting systems and behaviour and political parties.

Professor Jaensch’s work and profile have made him a household name throughout Australia as a political analyst and commentator.

The lecture aims to stimulate or continue public discussion on aspects of political science and public policy.

Flinders Associate Professor of Politics and Public Policy, Haydon Manning, said the lecture attracts such esteemed speakers because of Professor Jaensch’s high standing as a “fair and objective commentator” on state and national politics.

Watch the 2017 Dean Jaensch Lecture.

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