Since 2012, the Lowy Institute Poll has included a question, asked by the Pew Research Center in a number of other countries, to determine Australians’ attitudes to democracy in this country. The results have been consistent and thought-provoking. This year, in a result almost identical to those in earlier years, 62% of Australians say ‘democracy is preferable to any other kind of government’. One in five (20%) say ‘in some circumstances, a non-democratic government can be preferable’, and 15% say that ‘for someone like me, it doesn’t matter what kind of government we have’.
In earlier years, the responses of younger Australians belonging to ‘Generation Y’ (those born between approximately 1980 and the mid-1990s) suggested that this age group felt quite differently about democracy than their elders. In 2012, only 39% of these young Australians, then aged 18–29 years old, expressed a preference for democracy.
This year, it is the response of a broader group aged 18–45 years which differs from older Australians: only 47% of that group say democracy is preferable, compared with 76% of those aged 45 and older.