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The Victorian Election: Are States Filling the Democratic Void?

makeAhistory.comWhere the feds are failing, the states have an opportunity to pick up the slack, writes Alison Pennington.

A destructive and cynical politics is on the rise across the world with emergent right-wing populism a warning of what happens when people lose faith in political institutions.

In Australia, the Coalition government has been characterised by ongoing austerity, the retrenchment of public resources and capability to the tune of billions of dollars, but complete paralysis on just about every other policy reform (most visibly including massive inconsistency on energy and climate policy). This has led to a democratic void in Australian society.

Meanwhile, the recent victory of the Andrews Labor government on a bold social democratic platform of long-term investments in services, education and infrastructure projects (some with a 2050 completion date) gave Victorians a secure, positive vision of a more balanced, stable society – and voters endorsed that vision strongly.

How is it that these two wildly different scenarios of political life can exist alongside each other?

Many commentators have explained the Victorian election result as a mere by-product of the Coalition’s ongoing crisis (with subsequent warnings about the future of the federal Liberals). But

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