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Democracy goes missing in action as politicians obfuscate, avoid and patronise

Jean Ker Walsh writes in The Conversation (8.6.16) about voters feeling increasingly disengaged from political leaders and elected representatives. The author argues that many voters feel ‘completely powerless in the election process and their engagement with democracy; they talk in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ and of not being respected by those in power’.

‘As we pass the halfway mark of the 2016 federal election campaign (how long is it since you heard so many grown adults effectively asking “are we there yet?”), key message scripts and political performances are daily in evidence.

‘Media reporting is following form, making news out of slips of the tongue and the inability of serial offenders to stay on message. The election narrative is being written and rewritten by a mix of commentary and dog-whistling.

‘The pollsters are in full swing counting voter intentions. But for those clinging to the view that Australia is a democracy, there are rather more pressing questions: how are citizens receiving what is being pushed at them? And what sense they are making of it all?’

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