Government effectiveness is fundamental to the health of a democracy both in terms of providing material security for all its citizens and maintaining popular trust and faith in political institutions.

Alt text In general terms, when we talk about governmental effectiveness, we’re talking about the actual capacity of governments to formulate, implement and deliver quality decisions, policies and services, as well as how we perceive these actions. It is fundamental to the health of liberal democracies both in terms of providing material security for all its citizens and maintaining popular trust and faith in political institutions.

In day to day life, the quality of governmental decision-making can be experienced by individual citizens, families and communities. When governments – and their decisions and actions - are tested, we may find ourselves judging their performance on the basis of a few key factors.

  • adherence to principles of justice, equity and human rights
  • capacity to provide economic security and social stability for all
  • transparency and freedom from political influence
  • credibility, in terms of expertise and knowledge
  • consistency with broad government strategies and programs that have been voted for by the public

In the early 21st century, Australian governments are showing signs of transforming to improve the quality of governmental effectiveness. The challenge remains to better involve the public, who is a natural, legitimate, knowledgeable and powerful partner in these processes. This will require efforts to increase citizen trust and engagement in politics and our democratic system. It will also require creating (and restoring) pride in both the public service as well as volunteering. Lastly, involving the public means it needs to be easier for people to understand and provide feedback on government policies and programs.

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