Teal MP joins panel for forum on rebuilding trust in democracy

Newly elected Curtin MP Kate Chaney, who was part of the wave of candidates who turned ‘blue’ seats ‘teal’ at the last Federal election, will join a panel at The University Club of Western Australia on August 31 to discuss the future of Australia’s democracy.

As the dust settles on the election, the panel will tackle topics such as threats to democracy, the role of powerful interest groups and citizen action on issues such as climate change.

Ms Chaney will be joined by Professor Ullrich Ecker, from UWA’s School of Psychological Science, Dr Lachlan Umbers, from UWA’s School of Humanities, and Lenda Oshalem, from communication group SEC Newgate.

The discussion will be moderated by Professor Shamit Saggar, Director of UWA Public Policy Institute.

Ms Chaney said candidates with strong community support had ‘reclaimed politics’ from the major parties and they had a lot of work to do to rebuild trust in the system.

“Greater transparency about who is funding political campaigns, a federal anti-corruption commission and a more level playing field for community candidates will help rebuild trust in our politicians and political processes,” Ms Chaney said.

Professor Ecker said misinformation and divisive campaign tactics could lead to disengagement.

“We need to better regulate political advertising and campaign funding to increase meaningful voter engagement,” Professor Ecker said.

Dr Umbers said Australians were increasingly dissatisfied with their democratic institutions but there was cause for optimism.

“The design of the Australian system, compulsory voting in particular, means – unlike most other countries – our governments can’t afford to neglect the interests of socio-economically disadvantaged citizens who would otherwise be far less likely to participate,” he said.

Ms Oshalem said participation was crucial in democracies and people needed to be inspired to get involved.

“This will mean changing how we politic to welcome fresh thinking, authenticity and better community representation,” she said.

Book tickets to If Voting Wasn’t Compulsory, Would You? Civic Participation and Democracy here.

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