1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2013   
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Measures of Australia's Progress


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

Measures of Australia's Progress (MAP) presents a view of Australian life divided into four main areas: society, economy, environment and the new area of governance. During our latest consultation, we asked Australians about what is important to them for national progress for each of these areas. The consultation found that governance was an important part of the overall picture of Australia's progress and Australians sought to identify the aspects they felt were most important to aspire to (or aim for) to achieve good governance. While there are limitations around the availability of data for the new area of governance, we have sought to provide indicators that will capture the spirit of, and measure, these aspirations for progress in this area. The statement at the top of this page is the overall aspiration Australians had for governance.

In the context of MAP, governance refers to the systems, processes and institutions which govern, run, protect and regulate our activity. For example, from our justice system to groups run by community members - many areas of our lives are influenced by some form of governance. More specifically, governance refers to the way in which the processes, systems and institutions that organise our society are managed, and the way people are included in making decisions about things that affect their lives. Good governance means that institutions are efficient, responsive and accountable and enable societal function and progress.

The idea of governance goes beyond the functions of Government. Our State, Territory and Commonwealth governments undertake many governance activities; however these are only one part of MAP's broader view of governance as an activity that is carried out by many organisations throughout society.

What did Australians say?

Australians wanted governance systems and organisations to be easy to interact with and access. People thought that governance systems and processes needed to be open, honest, unbiased and trusted by society. They wanted these systems to uphold people's rights, allowing them access to justice and providing and supporting laws that protect all Australians.

Governance systems that allow people to have a say in decisions that affect their lives are important. Access to information that supports participation and informed public debate, freedom of media and freedom of expression were also seen as an important part of how our society operates. Responsibility was seen as an important aspect of governance for institutions in carrying out their governance activities appropriately, and for individuals to take opportunities to participate and influence governance processes that affect them.

Main themes of governance

Our recent consultation agreed on five main themes Australians thought where important for progress in the domain of governance and where possible, MAP provides progress indicators for these themes and their elements. As there are many newly emerging areas of interest from the consultation process, we don't have measures for all of these as yet. However, MAP is an evolving product and we will seek to fill data gaps as suitable measures become available.

To see the governance measures included in MAP, click on the themes below to see how Australia is progressing in that area:

  • Trust - Australians aspire to institutions and governance processes they can trust and hold to account
  • Effective governance - Australians aspire to governance that works well
  • Participation - Australians aspire to have the opportunity to have a say in decisions that affect their lives
  • Informed public debate - Australians aspire to well-informed and vibrant public debate
  • People's rights and responsibilities - Australians aspire to a society where everyone's rights are upheld and their responsibilities fulfilled