Democracy is a political system, which is merely a form of government that is derived
from the people. The term democracy originated from Greek origins. Held (1996)
illustrated “democracy is derived from demokratia… *where+ demos *mean+ (people)
and kratos (rule)”. Therefore, rule by the people is a core foundation to democracy in
organising a political system. Thus, people have the right to elect their government.
Additionally, democracy offers political equality to the people by giving them
opportunity to participant politically and to voice their opinions in political matters.
This powerpoint will examine the principles of democracy focusing on representative
democracy. Exploring issues such as the election system, freedom and equality and
limitation to representative democracy in a contemporary political system.
According to the theories of democracy saw prospects of freedom and equality.
Under this democracy, as David Held (1996) argued it will “achieve one or more of
the following fundamental values or goods: political equality, liberty, the common
interests, a fair moral compromises, binding decisions that takes everyone’s interest
into account, the satisfaction of wants, efficient decisions”. Initially, democracy is
grounded in promoting equality and freedom to the citizens in political participation.
Thus, citizens are free and have the rights to express their political opinion so that
their needs are heard or being fulfilled. By comparison, Anna Phillips (1993, p. 123)
portrayal that democracy promises “a common good or a general will”. Further on,
Pateman (1970, p.14) establishes that ‘political equality’ ensures that participants
have “opportunity of access to channels *their+ influence over leaders”. It goes
without saying that, democracy is endorsing freedom and equality of the citizen,
ensuring equal right to the citizen including diversity.
One principle of liberal democracy is representative democracy. Representative
democracy is an indirect form of democracy where citizens elect a member of
parliament to represent them and to act in political participations upon their behalf.
This is done so through an election method where citizen vote for a parliamentary
candidate, someone who they think will best represent them and will serve their best
interest overall. This form of democracy is widely adopted in various countries such
as Australia, United States of America and so forth. This form of democracy may
seem positive at first but there are several issues that are brought forth to this
principle of representative democracy.
Under the model of representative democracy brings issues such as the relationship
between the representative and the people that are being represented. For instance,
electing a poor representative and lack of connections between the people to the
representative. Mainly, it results in whether the elected representative acts politically
to the interest of the people that are being represented. This is a complex situation, if
a representative has no connections with the people then the citizens that are being
represented will be misled and their political interests will be diminished due to that
particular candidate not having the capacity to understand the communities interests
and needs. Take the case of Australia democracy, where Tony Abbott evidently broke
many election promises particularly the budget issues, increase of tax and many
more. This clearly, shows how representative democracy is an ineffective form of
government and that democracy concept is viewed as a negative in promoting
freedom and equality due to the citizen voices being lost in the process.
Electing a poor representative can result from the process of voting itself. Voting
systems are sometimes viewed as complex. For many citizens voting is deemed
challenging, resulting in the process of voting relating to how one should vote on the
ballot paper. Therefore, not understanding how to vote may certainly sabotage the
elections score or even electing a wrong candidate. Secondly, election can potentially
corrupted especially in regards to bribery. So, election choices are not balanced.
Crouch (2004, p.1) emphasis that election should be “free and fair”. Lastly, electing a
poor representative arises from the influences of media. The media plays a huge role
within an election and it can impact hugely upon the voting result. Media is an open
medium to give influences to how people vote; shaping citizen ideology towards
certain political issues so that citizen will vote for that political party. Not only this,
media channels are said to flavor one political party over another in general. Thus,
media are giving false hope to the citizen, resulting in electing poor representatives.