By Mark Evans*, Max Halupka* and Gerry Stoker*
The Australian economy has experienced twenty years of economic growth. A remarkable performance that is unprecedented both historically and in comparison with other OECD countries over the period. Yet during the same time we have also witnessed a decade of democratic decline. Only 42% of Australians are satisfied with the way democracy works, 60% of citizens describe the standards of honesty and integrity in Australia as low, trust in politicians and the political process are at their lowest level and remarkably Grey Australians are amongst the most disaffected! This is the group of Australians that have benefitted most from both the post-war settlement in terms of social entitlements (e.g. health, education and pensions) and economic conditions (e.g. growth, the property boom and superannuation). All the socio-economic data suggests that they should be pigs in clover. However, recent data on trust and democracy paints a very different picture.