How you can restore functioning social democratic governance now

Jan 12, 2024
Large group of people forming Australia map and national flag.

We need to return to being Citizens with Power to ensure fair forms of governance and reduce levels of political distrust.

Our futures will require that we decide to elect those who commit to include public support for social needs-of citizens. We are NOT just customers who purchase, but citizen members of democratic societies, with needs that cannot be marketised fairly.

The post WW2 Democratics’ governments accepted the broadened activities to meet citizens’ needs. However, by the seventies there were increasing pressure to adopt neoliberal economics modes of governance. These are based on marketised modes that seriously diminish the social government.

Since the 80’s, these quantified economic models have increased. Social, community and public services were tendered out to private managers with profit motives. These have grown until the present day, with governments reducing most non-market based needs.

The social wellbeing policy reforms offered fair forms of delivery as well as fair based broader choices and developments.

The current adherence to recent economy based ideological modes of privatised markets is unfair. The limited choices of sellers is to ‘customers’. These customers have few rights of choices. The choices are usually price based, ignoring social needs.

The sources of these problems are extensive unfair privatised access to what were once public services. Too many once public provisions now fail to meet necessary citizen rights and needs!

So, equity and fairness have been lost as major political parties emphasise ‘choices’ by customers’, not needs of citizens. These feel neglected as too often they are not supported by many elected MPs. These changes to what voters once expected as rights to quality public services contribute to their rising distrust of those to be elected. This results in many democracies experiencing damaging levels of voter distrust.

The last decades have embedded market-based models of neo-liberal governance. Citizenship rights have been lost. Its fairness roles of rights and obligations can no longer make nations socially habitable.

So, there are fewer democracies internationally that are functional, stable, and fair. Australia hasn’t shown adequate political trust in recent years. Even the recent shift to the ALP has not yet mended decades of distrust of our past GDP limits to growth. This trust deficit was recently validated by the Head of ANU reporting his serious concerns for more positive futures!

Can we restore functioning social democratic governance?

How can we restore the development of national social wellbeing by the election of political representatives who will accept the need for fair democratic societies? The last decades have seen shifts of political powers, so voters fail to have choices of MPs who recognise their responsibility for the social wellbeing of all!

We need to restore our citizen rights to fair go policies. Social democracies, well designed, offer voters social as well as economic programs. Essential goods and services are delivered based on varied needs via those we elect.

Governments and non-profit community providers need to return to deliver welfare and wellbeing services on needs bases. The less essential choices can still be delivered by markets so there is continued access to those goods and services that are not just essential but can meet diverse tastes and needs.

However, from the 1970s the varied Neoliberal power groups shifted most democracies to use market models to reduce spending on public services and welfare.

There is a lack of questioning why those power groups only use GDP as the measure of progress. It is a sign that they still ignore all the unpaid work people contribute, mainly females. These contribute to wellbeing and political trust so need to be recognised/funded. Their exclusion is toxic if we need social wellbeing measures.


We need to set up lobbying networks to restore the social agendas of those we elect. We should establish networks of local and linked trust-based activists/ supporters who would be able to ensure the distribution of these ideas to those in and with power individually, not another formal grouping.

Interested? Let me know if you want to see social wellbeing re-integrated into future political agendas. 

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