Technology, Inequality and Our Evolving Democratic Culture: Is Australia at Risk of Democratic Decline?

While technological advancements buttress the expansion of modern democracies, in recent decades the hastening pace of technological change is propelling stable democracies in chaotic new directions. While Australia is rightly considered a healthy and stable democracy, many drivers of democratic decline are increasingly present. Three entwined trajectories are of concern. First, technology-enabled automation, globalisation and market liberalisation together are propelling job polarisation and inequality; second, this may be facilitating political polarisation and declining trust in political institutions that fail to address the concerns of those left behind; third, technology is directly disrupting Australian political culture, supercharging polarisation, amplifying distrust and distorting our ability to conduct rational and truthful debates – hampering our ability to address the above problems. We outline reforms that may help address these core drivers of democratic decline.