Young Australians turn against democracy

The majority of Australian voters do not believe that democracy is the best political system, a troubling new poll has found.

The Lowly Institute's 2013 poll found just 48% of Australian voters under 30 prefer democracy over any other form of government.

Lowy Institute executive director Michael Fullilove said the poll showed a "disturbing complacency" among young people, although it is actually an improvement on 2012 results, when just 39% said democracy was the best system.

The findings appear to correspond to negative views of politics among British young people.

Eighty-one per cent of young British voters have negative view of political parties and MPs, according to research by Nottingham Trent University.

In the UK, however, that view did not correspond to a general disinterest in politics. Sixty-three per cent said they were interested in political matters and would consider voting in future general elections.

Other Lowly Institute polls in Asia suggest Australian young people are the least sympathetic to democracy. Seventy per cent of Indians and 62% of Indonesians believe democracy is the best system of government, as do 59% of Australians in general.

The Lowly Institute poll also showed highly liberal views among Australia's young people.

As a group, they were less likely to supporting spending more on defence and be more open to Asian immigration. They were the only age group not to back offshore asylum processing.

The poll found Australians felt closer to the UK than any other country. Great Britain scored 77 degrees on the researchers' 'thermometer'.

Neighbouring Indonesia was treated with suspicion with just 53 degrees, while North Korea scored lowest with just 31 degrees.