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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Democracy

DEMOCRACY, GOVERNANCE AND CITIZENSHIP GLOSSARY

ASX200

An index that tracks the top 200 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The top 200 companies are based on their market capitalisation i.e. the number of shares on issue multiplied by the current share price.

Civic participation

Participation in civil society. Civil society is 'the non-government and not-for-profit groups and organisations that have a presence in public life, expressing the interests of their members and others in society' (World Bank 2006).

Enrolment

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) maintains and updates the Commonwealth electoral roll - a list of eligible persons who are registered to vote in Australian elections. You cannot vote at an election unless your name is on the electoral roll. Australian citizens over 18 years of age (with a few exceptions) must enrol to vote.

British subjects, resident in Australia, who were on a Commonwealth electoral roll as at 25 January 1984 can also vote in Australian elections.

Federal Parliamentary election candidates

The number of people standing as candidates for election at Australian federal Parliamentary elections, including both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Gross national income (GNI)

This measures the total domestic and foreign value added claimed by residents. GNI comprises Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plus net receipts of primary income from non-resident sources. It is the aggregate value of gross primary incomes for all institutional sectors, including net primary income receivable from non-residents. Gross National Income was formerly called gross national product (GNP). GDP is the total market value of goods and services produced in Australia within a given period after deducting the cost of goods and services used up in the process of production but before deducting allowances for the consumption of fixed capital.

IDEA framework for democracy assessment

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) was founded in 1995 and is an intergovernmental organisation with 21 member states including Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, Spain and Sweden. IDEA’s role is supporting sustainable democracy in both new and long-established democracies and they have developed a framework for assessing democracy built around 14 key dimensions (IDEA 2001):

  • Nationhood and citizenship: Is there public agreement on a common citizenship without discrimination?
  • The rule of law and access to justice: Are state and society consistently subject to the law?
  • Civil and political rights: Are civil and political rights equally guaranteed for all?
  • Economic and social rights: Are economic and social rights equally guaranteed for all?
  • Free and fair elections: Do elections give the people control over governments and their policies?
  • Democratic role of political parties: Does the party system assist the working of democracy?
  • Government effectiveness and accountability: Is government accountable to the people and their representatives?
  • Civilian control of the military and police: Are the military and police forces under civilian control?
  • Minimising corruption: Are public officials free from corruption?
  • The media in a democratic society: Do the media operate in a way that sustains democratic values?
  • Political participation: Is there full citizen participation in public life?
  • Government responsiveness: Is government responsive to the concerns of its citizens?
  • Decentralisation: Are decisions taken at the level of government which is most appropriate for the people affected?
  • International dimensions of democracy: Are the country’s external relations conducted in accord with democratic norms, and is it itself free from external subordination?
Informal vote

A vote where the ballot paper was completed incorrectly and so not included in the final count (in most countries this is called an 'invalid vote'). An individual may cast an informal vote because the electoral system is too complex (for example, they may be confused between state and federal voting) or because they want to make a deliberate protest or express disillusionment (AEC 2003).

Involvement in civic and political groups

The proportion of people involved in civic and political groups, including the following:
  • Trade union, professional / technical associations
  • Civic group or organisations
  • Environmental or animal welfare groups
  • Human and civil rights groups
  • Body corporate or tenants' associations
  • Political parties
  • Consumer organisations
Management/committee work

Participation in management committees and functions, which involves making decisions about the direction and operation of an organisation. Examples include: sitting on a board, being an office bearer, being a member of the management board of a community welfare organisation, treasurer for the local church, managing a service or program, program planning.

Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Official development assistance (ODA) is a statistic compiled by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to measure aid. The DAC first compiled the statistic in 1969. It is widely used by academics and journalists as a convenient indicator of international aid flow.

Volunteer

Someone who willingly gives unpaid help, in the form of time, service or skills, to or through an organisation or group. The reimbursement of expenses in full or part (e.g. token payments) or small gifts (e.g. sports club T-shirts or caps) are not regarded as payment of salary, and people who received these are still included as voluntary workers. However, people who received payment in kind for the work they did (e.g. receiving farm produce as payment for work done on a farm, rather than cash) are not included as volunteers. The Voluntary Work Survey asked about voluntary work done in the 12 months prior to interview, excluding voluntary work done overseas.

Voter turnout

The number of people who voted in the election calculated by dividing the sum of formal and informal votes by the final enrolment figure.

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