Australia was once a world leader in democratic innovation — from the pursuit of an eight-hour work day in the 1850s to the suffragette movement in the 1890s — but now, have we lost our way?
Here are the 15 ideas we want the winner of the May 18 election to pursue:
- Review of parliamentary terms to provide more certainty and improve government decision-making.
- Appoint a genuinely independent Speaker of the House and President of the Senate.
- Trial changes to seating arrangements in parliament to encourage more civility and constructive dialogue.
- Introduce more "free votes" in the parliament through a new parliamentary convention.
- Real reform on political donations and campaign financing.
- More stringent transparency requirements for political parties.
- Trial of AEC-issued candidate information packs that give voters more information about local candidates.
- Undertake a process after each election that gives citizens a chance to communicate how we can improve elections.
- Commit political parties to the same standards that companies are bound by when they advertise during election campaigns to promote better truth in advertising.
- Comprehensive and continual training in policy, ethics and procedures for MPs and ministerial staff.
- Commit to stronger regulation of lobbyists.
- Independent selection process for senior appointments to the Australian Public Service, the judiciary and major statutory bodies.
- Trial a citizen jury that would allow a small representative sample of the community to explore a major national issue in depth.
- Lead a national conversation to renew Australian democracy and update the Constitution.
- Lead a national conversation about the operation of the Australian Federation.
Report co-author and new Democracy director Iain Walker said it wasn't good enough to say the system was broken if we don't then try to fix it.