Media Releases

Media Release: Is democracy broken?

Archbishop of Melbourne and guests to discuss the future of democracy

May 16 2017 

Is democracy broken?

Collapsing support for traditional major parties and the rise of both nationalism and populism have marked democracies across the globe in recent years. The most mixed Senate in Australian history, Brexit, the election of US President Donald Trump, the French rejection of the main centre-left and centre-right parties, and the increasingly authoritarian rule of Turkish President Recep Erdogan are recent examples.

Voter apathy has been rising, combined with or perhaps sparked by a massive loss of confidence in key institutions, from governments and the media to churches and big business.

What does this mean for democracy? Are people giving up? Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier is concerned at the decline in mainstream media, who can no longer cover the news as even five years ago, and in the concept of the common wealth. Australian National Living Treasure and former Labor Party president and cabinet minister Barry Jones believes now is a time when politicians must show courage, but he is not confident it will happen.

Philip Freier, Barry Jones and Victorian Law Council president Fiona McLeod will discuss the future of democracy in the first of the Archbishop’s Federation Square conversations for the year tomorrow, Wednesday May 17, moderated by public commentator John Cleary.

Entry is free, and the media are welcome.

Deakin Edge Theatre, Federation Square, 7.30am (morning, please note), Wednesday May 17.

For more information, contact Barney Zwartz,, 0422 373 891.