No meaning or control: Democracy’s future in the face of domestic and foreign influences

As Australia gears up for a series of state and federal elections and the United States is in the grip of the 2018 midterms , this is an opportune time to ask some powerful questions about the shape democracies are taking. Internally, there are stresses from demographic shifts and a populace increasingly exhausted by the behaviour of politicians and the hyper-partisan character of politics in general. Externally, foreign governments and private actors like Facebook are being recognised as increasingly active in democratic processes. How can we find meaning in what's happening, and what happens when control seems beyond the grasp of political leaders let alone the citizens?

In this public seminar a panel of national security experts will provide a summary of her experiences of the US midterms and their outcomes, consider the shape democratic nations are in from the geopolitical perspective and explore the relations between technology and democracy.

Dr. Jennifer S. Hunt is a lecturer in the National Security College and a research associate at the US Studies Centre. Publishing on comparative national security policy in the US, Australia, and the Arab Gulf, her research portfolio examines the intersection between defense, energy, and economic security issues.

Along with her academic areas of specialisation, Dr. Hunt also publishes on applied research methods. Together with Dr. Zina O'Leary, Workplace Research: Conducting small scale applied research, was published by Sage in 2016.

Dr Adam Henschke is an applied ethicist, working on areas that cross over between ethics, technology and security. He is a lecturer at the National Security College (NSC) and a research fellow with Delft University of Technology (TUD) in The Hague, The Netherlands. His research concerns ethical and philosophical analyses of information technology and its uses, military ethics and on relations between ethics and national security. He has published on surveillance, emerging military technologies and intelligence and cyberspace. He is also interested in moral psychology, experimental philosophy and their relations to decision making and policy development.

Associate Professor Matthew Sussex is the Academic Director at the National Security College. His main research specialisation is on Russian foreign and security policy, but his interests also cover: government and politics in Eurasia; strategic studies; terrorism and counter-terrorism; energy security; and Australian foreign policy. He is particularly interested in contemporary trends in violent conflict, especially in 'hybrid' warfare and in the evolution of propaganda.

Image by Keith Bacongco