Bored with ‘old’ Australian politics? Look to Papua New Guinea

Why traditional politics will be with us for some time

Sean Jacobs, Online Opinion, 27 November 2013

Young Australians, it seems, are disenchanted with ‘traditional’ politics. They increasingly don’t like voting, are sceptical about democracy and prefer to be involved in political causes through social media rather than mainstream political parties.

Amid this discontent, which appears to be growing in developed democracies, British comedian Russell Brand has even called for a revolution. “Imagining the overthrow of the current [British] political system,” Brand confesses, “is the only way I can be enthused about politics.”

Brand’s thoughts may have struck a chord, but young Australians should not expect even minimal change in their political settings or institutions anytime soon. While an odd comparison, Papua New Guinea (PNG) – Australia’s nearest neighbour of seven million – illustrates the sturdiness and endurance of democratic institutions that are very similar to Australia’s. PNG’s Westminster democracy – a legacy of Australia’s colonial rule – has in fact persisted despite relentless instability and calls for change.

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