Mark Chou

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Over the years, the Lowy Institute’s annual poll has uncovered a number of unexpected and concerning trends about Australian attitudes. However, one of the most alarming findings during the last decade of polling has been the revelation that a significant proportion of Australians are largely apathetic towards democracy. In the 2012 poll, for example, when the Lowy Institute first published findings on its democracy question, only 60 percent of respondents agreed that ‘Democracy is preferable to any other kind of government’. Twenty-three percent, on the other hand, said that, ‘In some circumstances, a non-democratic government can be preferable’. Finally, a further 15 percent of Australians responded by saying that, ‘For someone like me, it doesn’t matter what kind of government we have’ (see Hanson 2012, 13). More troubling still, the Lowy poll found that those least sympathetic towards democracy were Australia’s Generation Y population (18- to 29-year-olds)—with only 39 percent of young people in Australia holding the view that democracy was the most preferable form of government. By contrast, a not insignificant 37 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds were found to believe that a non-democratic government could be preferable under certain circumstances.

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Journal Article

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