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Westminster Meet Digital: understanding our Evolving Democracy

The Westminster system of parliamentary government is widely credited with a high capacity to adapt to social and cultural evolution. Yet the reality is that in recent years governments the world over have struggled to keep up with the rapid pace of change – especially change associated with the rise of digital culture and technology. We are at an at once exciting and alarming juncture. The challenges and opportunities introduced by the rise of digital culture and technology, along with shifting public expectations, an evolving public sphere, and associated pressures for change in our governments and public institutions, may even suggest a fundamental challenge to the traditional relationship between the citizen and the state – a push to rethink the social contract in modern industrialized democracies. Tensions are reaching a breaking point. This paper is about those tensions.