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The stages of democratic growth.

Democracy has evolved in Australia in distinct stages.

1, 2, 3, 4, ...5

  1. First there was the opening up of the right for male British subjects over 21 to vote and then to stand for election in the colonial Parliaments beginning in 1856 in South Australia and lastly in 1896 in Tasmania.
  2. Second was the securing by some women of the right to vote (as early as 1894 in South Australia and as late as 1908 in Victoria), followed by the right to stand for election (as early as 1895 in South Australia and as late as 1923 in Victoria).
  3. The third stage began in 1924 with the relaxing of the discriminatory anti-native provisions in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902. 
  4. However, electoral participation for Indigenous Australians, whether male or female, took much longer to achieve with the fourth stage of democratisation in the grant of voting and standing rights to Indigenous Australians federally as late as 1962, and in some states later.
  5. The fifth stage in democratic growth is to ensure balanced gender representation in parliament in both the upper and lower houses.