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Testing Deliberative Democracy: The 1999 Australian Republic Referendum

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2014

John Uhr
Affiliation:
Reader, Graduate Program in Public Policy, at the Asia Pacific School of Economics and Management, Australian National University, Canberra

Extract

THIS ARTICLE EXAMINES AUSTRALIAN REFERENDUM PRACTICE WITH the aim of contributing to the growing international debate over concepts of deliberative democracy, defined in terms of democratic regimes structured to maximize community deliberation in public decision-making. Theories of deliberative democracy go beyond earlier approaches to participatory democracy by specifying in greater detail the nature of the deliberative process in which citizens should be able to participate and of the importance of institutions of civil society to an effective deliberative process. The focus on ideals of public deliberation ref lects the ambition of deliberative democrats (the ‘deliberati’ if you will) to ground political decision-making in norms of shared public reason. Where earlier approaches to participatory democracy investigated rights to political participation, current approaches to deliberative democracy also investigate responsibilities of political participants – particularly responsibilities to comply with norms of rational political deliberation.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Government and Opposition Ltd 2000

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References

1 See e.g. Bohman, James, Public Deliberation, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press, 1966;Google Scholar Gutman, Amy and Thompson, Dennis, Democracy and Disagreement, Cambridge, Mass., Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996;Google Scholar Bohman, James and Rehg, William (eds), Deliberative Democracy: Essays on Reason and Politics, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press 1997;Google Scholar Macedo, Stephen (ed.), Deliberative Politics: Essays on Democracy and Disagreement, New York, Oxford University Press, 1999.Google Scholar

2 An interesting exception is Eister, Jon (ed.), Deliberative Democracy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988;Google Scholar see also Manin, Barnard, The Principles of Representative Government, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

3 The republican case can be sampled in Uhr, John (ed.), The Australian Republic: The Case for Yes, Sydney, The Federation Press, 1999.Google Scholar Website samples of the pro-republic case are available through the Australian Republican Movement at http://www.republic.org.au and of the anti-republic case through the Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy at http://www.norepublic.com.au.

4 Galligan, Brian, A Federal Republic, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 1995;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Uhr, John, Deliberative Democracy in Australia, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 1998.Google Scholar

5 McKenna, Mark, The Captive Republic, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 226–63.Google Scholar

6 Details are provided in Uhr, The Australian Republic, pp. 191–6.

7 Details of the two referendum proposals are contained in Uhr, The Australian Republic, pp. 196–202.

8 Quick, John and Garran, Robert, Annotated Constitution of Australia, Sydney, Legal Books, 1976 (originally published 1901), pp. 985–95.Google Scholar

9 Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Constitutional Change, Canberra, February 1997, pp. 59–61.

10 Miles, Consider R., ‘Australia’s Constitutional Referendum’, Representation, 35:4(Winter 1999), pp. 237–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

11 Ibid; see also Sharman, Campbell, ‘Constitutional Politics in Australia’, ch. 6 in Bogdanor, Vernon (ed.), Constitutions in Democratic Politics, Aldershot, Gower, 1988, pp. 105–27.Google Scholar

12 House of Representatives, Constitutional Change, op. cit., pp. 92–4.

13 Richard Mulgan, ‘Defeating Defeatism’, in Uhr (ed.), The Australian Republic,op. cit., pp. 178–82.

14 Crawford, James, ‘Amending the Constitution’ in Craven, Gregory (ed.), Australian Federation, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1992, pp. 177–92.Google Scholar

15 Cited in Uhr, John, ‘Making Sense of the Referendum’, Papers on Parliament, 35:4 (03 2000), Canberra, Department of the Senate.Google Scholar

16 Ibid.

17 Reid, G. S. and Forrest, M., Australia’s Commonwealth Parliament, 1901–1988, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1989, pp. 241–8.Google Scholar

18 Quick and Garran, Annotated Constitution of Australia, op. cit., p. 988.

19 Referendum (Constitution Alteration) No. 2, Act no. 35 of 1912, section 2.

20 Cited in Uhr, ‘Making Sense of the Referendum’, op. cit.

21 Ibid.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid. The author is Senator Russell, assistant Minister in charge of introducing the bill for compulsory voting. See Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, 13 August1915, p. 5755.

27 Mulgan, ‘Defeating Defeatism’, op. cit., pp. 177–8.

28 Cited in Uhr, ‘Making Sense of the Referendum’, op. cit.

29 Uhr, The Australian Republic, op. cit., pp. 191–6.

30 See e.g. Evans v. Crichton-Browne, 147 CLR 169 (1981).

31 Marsh, Consider Ian, Beyond the Two Party System, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 1995;Google Scholar Brian Galligan, A Federal Republic, op. cit.; and Uhr, Deliberative Democracy in Australia, op. cit.

32 Barber, Benjamin, Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1984, especially pp. 267–90.Google Scholar

33 Fishkin, James, The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1995.Google Scholar

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