Australia’s democratic backslide

Australia’s democratic backslide. By Saxon Davidson.

There is a phenomenon in political science called ‘democratic backsliding’, an academic description for how lawful and democratic means can be used by politicians and bureaucrats to undermine democratic norms.

The three main methods employed by ‘backsliders’ are polarising the public, transferring power from the legislature to the executive, and the use of excessive police force.

Backsliders know that an overly and purposefully polarised society is less likely to turn to democratic and peaceful methods to resolve issues, and more likely to resort to conflict.

Secondly, taking power away from the legislature and giving it to the executive further limits an agitated citizenry’s power to enact change. Examples of this are extensive constitutional changes or awarding political power to the executive or judiciary through Parliament, even if it comes at the expense of elected officials.

To sustain this, backsliders will then typically turn to the police to sustain the undemocratic regime against their ideological and political opponents. …

Example 1, Covid:

The most severe case of backsliding during the pandemic was the lockdown regime implemented by Premier Daniel Andrews in Victoria. In this instance all three backsliding techniques were used; the suspension of Parliament and unilateral control he had of government policy; the divisive tactics he used to pit Victorians against one another; which made the violent response he allowed from police towards peaceful protestors acceptable to his supporters. …



Example 2, the Voice:

The proposed Voice to Parliament … embodies two of the three used backsliding methods, with the exception being use of police force. …..

There is nothing more polarising than dividing people based on race, and yet the referendum will do just that …

Should the Voice be put into the constitution, it would be a permanent polarising force. Unlike Andrews’ pandemic law, which could still be repealed by the legislature.

The Voice to Parliament would most likely function as a form of executive government, making arbitrary decisions for all Australians and putting those decisions into law. Whether their abilities be effective or through influence does not matter. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has already set the bar for their influence, stating that it would take a ‘very brave government’, to ignore a recommendation from the Voice.

Western democracies have turned into administrative states. It’s already happened — no pretending any more.

The administrative state has its own political party — the Labor Party, Democrats, etc. It is the bureaucracy, owns the media, and funds the academy. Everyone else is deplorable, racist, and now a white supremacist.

They call it “our” democracy, by what they really mean is that it’s theirs.