INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DEMOCRACY: Celebrating democracy as humanity’s finest achievement
By Daniel White
15 September 2014 – International Day of Democracy
The defining issue of the 21st century is how does the world of order deal with a growing world of disorder. According to Thomas Friedman from the New York Times in his recent article entitled “Order vs. Disorder, Part 3”, Friedman notes the growing threats posed by the world of disorder that include events in Iraq (i.e. IS), Syria, Ukraine, the Ebola outbreak, Climate Change and that the UN’s refugee agency just announcing that the “number of refuges, asylum seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era exceeded 50 million people.” In light of this growing world of disorder how does a country like Australia in the world of order seek to preserve and expand the world of sustainable order in the 21st century.
To meet this defining leadership challenge of our time Australia should embrace one of its defining characteristics, which is democracy. Each year the 15th of September marks the International Day of Democracy, however many Australians forget our rich democratic history. Australia was the first country in the world to be born out of a democratic vote back on 1 January 1901, it is the oldest and most stable democracy in the Asian region, it is one of only 10 countries in the world that embraces compulsory voting; and Australia has a vibrant democratic spirit with Australians regularly voting on a daily basis on votes run by Triple J Hottest 100, the Logies Awards, The Voice or X Factor. In the 21st century Australia as one of the leading democratic countries in the world could use the brilliance of democracy to preserve and expand the world of order by engaging young people on democracy.
To celebrate democracy as humanity’s finest achievement Republic Earth & the Labor for an Australian Republic Group launched a creative new idea and book for the 21st century called “Republic Earth”. The idea is to create a global online democratic community called Republic Earth. Republic Earth is an educational, social, political, economic and technological ideology that aims at the establishment of a full global democracy that values all aspects of humanity around the world. Within the ‘imagined community’ called Republic Earth there are 7.2 billion people, between 6,000 and 7,000 languages and 370 million indigenous people living in 90 countries around the world.
Republic Earth appreciates that in the coming years people will increasingly reach, and relate to, people far beyond our own borders and language groups, sharing ideas, doing business and building genuine relationships. The origins of Republic Earth are inspired by Australia and cities like Melbourne and Sydney, which have developed robust multicultural societies that have been enriched by greater diversity. According to Sacha Payne, ‘More than a quarter of Melbourne’s population was born overseas with Victorians speaking more than 260 languages and dialects, coming from 200 different countries and sharing 135 different faiths’. The goal of Republic Earth is to encourage a global proliferation in awareness of other cultures and peoples around the world for the greater benefit of humanity.
The twin pillars of Republic Earth are democracy and the notion of the Republic, a state without a monarch where the people are sovereign. Currently in the modern world 135 of the world’s 206 sovereign states use the word “republic” as part of their official names. However, not all Republics are “full democracies”, which allow the people to be fully sovereign. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index there are only 25 full democracies and of those there are only 13 Republics in the truest form of the word (The 13 Republics are: Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Austria, Ireland, Germany, Malta, Czech Republic, Uruguay, Mauritius, South Korea, United States of America and Costa Rica). Despite all our talk of democracy and republics, it is clear that in most so called ‘democratic’ countries in the world we do not have rule by the people for the people and in most so called ‘Republics’ the sovereignty is not fully in the hands of the people. This is a reality that needs to change; as everybody’s democratic voice deserves to be heard in a community where the people are sovereign.
The Republic Earth concept also aims to assist Australia in becoming the 14th fully democratic republic in the world and help it establish an Australian head of state; but the Republic Earth concept will hopefully broaden out to other countries and gain momentum worldwide, with valuing democracy and the fullness of humanity as the keys to long-lasting peace and enjoyment for all peoples on planet Earth. This week Scotland will vote to become an independent nation, however it is disappointing that they are not seeking to become a democratic republic, as Queen Elizabeth II will remain the head of state of Scotland if they vote to become independent.
In the coming years hopefully more nations will understand like Australia in the world of order that embracing the notions of democracy and the republic and helping to create a global online democratic community called Republic Earth is just one way we can preserve and expand the world of order in a growing world of disorder in the 21st century.