Governments from separate jurisdictions are essential to ensuring effective governance. Australia has the benefit of being a liberal democracy since it was conquered by Britain. One of the first nations in Europe to uphold individual liberties and rights, which are essential components of liberal democracy was the United Kingdom (Fenna, 2009). A political system that combines democratic institutions with liberal ideas, such as individual liberties and market-based economic production processes, is known as a liberal democracy (Carson & Kerr, 2017). Within a liberal democracy, the Australian political system that constitutes the government has historically been defined by two-party preferences. The fundamental philosophical disagreements between the two sides concern social security, which raises people’s standards of living (Boreham et al., 2004). Australia’s liberal democratic system makes different efforts to enhance the well-being of its residents. This essay examines if and how the Australian system enhances people’s well-being, meaning their rights and freedoms.
Ensuring the needs of the citizens as a whole and of individuals to operate efficiently is typically linked to the well-being of people. When assessing how successfully a democratic system increases well-being, several elements are taken into consideration. The provision of communal social amenities like public infrastructure, recreational facilities, and other fundamental necessities like health care, housing, and education may also be among the variables (Hirst, 2002). Governments put social policies into place to guarantee the effective allocation of these resources and facilities. And this strategy is implemented following the political climate at the time. The Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal National Coalition Party are Australia’s two main political parties (Vrome et al., 2020). These political parties influence the public agenda and advance their political ideologies, enhancing the welfare of the populace.
The foundation of Australia’s Liberal Democratic administration is the respect for fundamental constitutional liberties and the rule of law. The rise of human rights advocates and civil society has made it possible for the government to guarantee that all citizens’ rights are upheld. Any citizen, regardless of political party, has fundamental rights in a liberal democratic system where everyone is considered to be equal before the law (Fenna, 2009). People are free to travel, practice their religion, and associate with any other established groups as they see fit. The Australian government strengthened the enjoyment of rights and freedoms by introducing changes via its institutions (Hirst, 2002). Voting and participating in elections, which were traditionally reserved for the wealthiest classes of society, are guaranteed to all people. Different representation in parliament also enhances minority groups’ well-being (Carson & Kerr, 2017). However, as the majority always holds the majority of the political power, this arrangement has come under fire for being ineffective.
The Australian Liberal Democratic administration is enhancing the welfare of its constituents by putting into place established public accountability and service initiatives. The conventional civil service is defined as a full-time workforce that works for an impartial, semi-independent bureaucracy (Hirst, 2002). In a liberal democracy, citizens are free to have different beliefs or ideas and to vote for whatever candidate they want as their chosen leader. This has caused prejudice, nepotism, and corruption in the major institutions connected to public service in many democratic countries (Smith, 2019). The Australian system, on the other hand, places a strong emphasis on technological efficiency and objectivity in the implementation of laws and the delivery of services.
By leveling out economic and social inequalities, favoritism and prejudice are, in theory, absent. The majority of governmental institutions report to a minister, but the permanent secretaries oversee daily operations, ensuring that services will continue to be offered even in the case of a change in leadership (Maddox, 2005). It might be countered, nevertheless, that it is frequently hard to pinpoint how policies affect these organizations. Despite its independence, the civil service is heavily influenced by the government in power, which can harm minority welfare.
A major element in ensuring that leaders are responsible for upholding people’s well-being is the perpetual turnover of leaders, which is a hallmark of liberal democratic democracy. Candidates for office are chosen based on their track record, the policies they have pursued, and the values that they and their party uphold (Fenna, 2009). These objectives must be met following the elections since the general public is the primary assessor of the effectiveness of the activity. A person loses their position in government if they don’t safeguard the welfare of the people (Maddox, 2005). Giving the public the power to request and choose individuals who uphold these ideals would thereby improve liberal democracy.
On the other hand, Neoliberalism, a political philosophy derived from classical liberalism, is the dominant political discourse in Australia. The minimum state incursion, the operation of the free market, individualism, and the deregulation of public assets in favor of private ones are important aspects of Neoliberalism (Heywood, 2009). Neoliberal principles and well-being-focused social programs are at odds with one another. Neoliberalism places a strong emphasis on the individual and their right to pursue the classic liberal goals of owning property, earning a profit, and acquiring wealth on the one hand. The existence of social programs that guarantee the well-being of residents through cash transfers and the provision of essential services like free healthcare and education, coupled with an anti-state attitude, is directly at odds with this (Smith, 2019). Individual liberties and rights have been safeguarded by state and federal legislation since the start of globalization in the 1980s, as determined by the dominant neoliberal political rhetoric.
The degree to which the fundamental liberal democratic ideals of freedom, equality, and participation are upheld in Australia, which is a liberal democratic system in name only, is still up for dispute. While certain funds are provided by the government following taxpayer expectations, these monies are few and represent Neoliberalism’s opposition to excessive government expenditure and interference (Vrome et al., 2020). However, the state’s services are geared toward serving the needs of society rather than those of businesses interested in making a profit and expanding their private property.
Another issue is that outside of the three periodic state and federal elections, there is little public engagement in the political sphere, which leaves governmental procedures and policies vulnerable to influence. It is crucial to remember that after three years, citizens vote in elections, leaving public policy vulnerable to influence from groups with personal agendas (Smith, 2019). The welfare of the populace is harmed by this. The extension of all people’s liberties may be hampered by well-known and strong interest groups like the media, the financial industry, and the mining industries (Hirst, 2002). An economy driven by capitalism and the free market prioritizes the private interests of individuals with market power. Private companies can influence legislation by altering contract rights and employment laws to control the economy (Smith, 2019). After all, individuals with a lot of power may impose laws that support their activities, thus, they benefit the most from a liberal government.
In conclusion, the reasoning above makes it quite evident that liberal democratic governments are essentially established to safeguard citizens’ well-being. This Australian form of government aims to maintain the government’s transparency and guarantee that all citizens, regardless of political inclinations, may access services. The legislative and the executive branch of government work to uphold minorities’ rights and freedoms. It is also obvious that the system has several issues that have a bad impact on the well-being of the populace. Some Australians are caught in a cycle of inequality as their fundamental rights can be violated or turned into commodities due to the disparity between democratic rights of well-being and the ideological demands of neo-liberalism (Vrome et al., 2020). In some circumstances, the prevalent ideology of economic development may be irreconcilable with a corrective social policy approach to a fair distribution of financial justice and equitable sharing of resources.
As a result, it is impossible to say with certainty if Australia’s free democratic system genuinely enhances its residents’ quality of life. This will most likely be a hot topic for a very long time. Without question, the Australian government works hard, but it also has ups and downs. Through the essay, it became evident that the well-being of the citizens is in a constant struggle between the interests of the big players such as corporations, and democratic values inclined in the government. This inner conflict may turn out in a double-edged sword for the citizens, with one side will ultimately prevail.
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