1370.0.00.002 - Measures of Australia's Progress - Aspirations for our Nation: A Conversation with Australians about Progress , 2011-12  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/05/2013   
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Image - MAP, GovernanceGOVERNANCE

Australians aspire to a free society where governance processes are trusted and everyone is able to participate in decision making which affects their lives

Governance – systems, processes and institutions which govern, administer, protect and regulate human activity. It refers to the way in which these processes operate (e.g. how they are managed), and the inclusion of those whose lives may be affected, in decision-making activities. Good governance processes deliver efficient outcomes, are responsive and are accountable to society.


Australians aspire to institutions and processes they can trust and hold to account.

  • Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Trust in governance processes and systems
People felt governance systems and processes needed to be open, honest, unbiased and trusted by society. This related to both government and non-government bodies. People wanted governance processes to be free from corruption, favouritism and conflict of interest. They wanted government and private institutions to behave responsibly and with integrity in support of societal well-being. Where governance processes impact on society, people wanted information about this to be transparent to the public.

Effective governance

Australians aspire to governance that works well.
  • Effective governance
  • Ease of interactions
  • Protection
  • Seamless services
  • Balance between regulation and freedom
  • Resilience
Good governance and regulation, within both government and non-government sectors, was seen as an important means to national progress. People felt that good governance is effective and efficient. Many people in the consultation wanted the systems, processes and institutions that govern and regulate our activity, and protect our rights and freedoms, to be easy for people to access and interact with. They also wanted governance to be appropriate and to allow effective outcomes without overburdening people or institutions. People aspired to have their governance systems aligned, working together and adequately funded. They also wanted governance systems, processes and institutions to be strong and yet adaptable to change and to enable Australian society to bounce back from adversity.


Australians aspire to have the opportunity to have a say in decisions that affect their lives.
  • Involvement in decision making
  • Awareness and understanding
  • Access and opportunity
  • Taking responsibility
People saw it as important that everyone has the opportunity to participate in decision-making that affects their lives. People thought that participation was important at all levels of society, from formal interactions, such as with government or business sectors, to community level interactions. People felt they could participate in how society is managed by attending community groups, talking or writing to politicians, signing petitions, voting, and in many other ways. Participation in decision-making was also seen as a personal responsibility. For example, voting in elections was seen as important and therefore something Australians are required to do. For people to become involved in decision-making and governance, they need access to the information and places that support this. People discussed the value of participating in genuine consultation, where all peoples’ voices are heard, well considered and responded to. They also thought that timely decision-making undertaken by elected representatives was important and appropriate. Consultation processes were valuable and complementary to these decision-making initiatives.

Informed public debate

Australians aspire to well-informed and vibrant public debate.
  • Open and informed debate
  • Freedom to pursue and access truth/facts
  • A free media
  • Effective regulation
People in the consultation thought that public debate should allow a diversity of voices and views to be heard and considered, and that information should be reported accurately, clearly and not be biased by conflicts of interest. They saw public debate as occurring in many places, for example, through the media and electronic information sharing channels, as well as parliamentary and political debating platforms. For this to happen effectively, they thought that these platforms should be effectively regulated whilst allowing people the freedom to access information.

Peoples’ rights and responsibilities

Australians aspire to a society where everyone’s rights are upheld and their responsibilities fulfilled.
  • Rights and responsibilities upheld
  • National laws and standards
  • Access to justice
  • Freedom of expression
  • International conventions and laws
People felt that the rights and responsibilities of Australians, as defined and protected by national laws, were important. They also thought that international human rights conventions were important and relevant. Many people in the consultation aspired to have their rights upheld by Australian governance systems, and wanted justice systems and processes to be fair and accessible to all Australians. They saw this as a reciprocal relationship, with everyone having the responsibility to abide by Australia’s laws. People in the consultation also valued Australia’s democratic system of representational government as a means of ensuring rights and responsibilities are upheld.