Greater Melbourne
City Portrait

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The Melbourne Doughnut

Explore how well Melbourne is tracking as a place that supports people and planet to thrive.

Dimension profile

Political Voice


Political voice is a defining feature of Australia’s democracy. It is central to ensuring that people have a say in, and influence over, decisions that affect their lives. Political Voice extends beyond voting and traditional forms of engagement with formal structures and institutions. Representation and participation in our modern, democratic society must be well-understood, including the roles of technology, the environment and the future in shaping meaningful public engagement, participation and decision-making.

Principles for Political Voice in a regenerative Melbourne

Political voice in a regenerative Melbourne must be:

  • Inclusive of a diversity of people, perspectives and values, including voices for nature and the future
  • Based on honesty and transparency to facilitate reconciliation and openness to address difficult challenges
  • Represented through meaningful actions that prioritise social good for citizens over the long term and, as a result, quality over quantity of engagement between communities and policy- and decision-makers

What we want



Everyone, including nature, has equitable influence over decisions that affect their lives

What we're measuring 2030 Target Now

Proportion of people rating local government performance on community consultation and engagement as 'Poor' or 'Very poor'

Under 10% 17%



Public engagement and decision-making are relevant, participatory and accessible for all

What we're measuring 2030 Target Now

Voter turnout in local government elections

Over 85% 78.9%



Residents have a high level of trust in the city’s democratic structures

What we're measuring 2030 Target Now

Edelman Trust Barometer index score

60 /100 48 /100

Placing Political Voice in the system

Local to global connections

Political voice in Melbourne is reflective of the social and political structures at both state and national levels. Likewise, political participation in Melbourne influences the direction of state and national action and, through our foreign policy, global activity. Within Melbourne, participation and engagement in political processes and decision-making can happen at smaller scales, such as a neighbourhood or municipal (local government area) level. At a more granular level (street, development, neighbourhood, municipal), decision-making is more participatory, and at a larger geographic scale (municipal, state, national), it is more representation-based.  Forms of participation and forums for political voice therefore vary by scale.

Learn more

How was this dimension developed?

The Political Voice dimension of the Greater Melbourne City Portrait, including the conceptual framing and data selection, has been developed in collaboration with sector experts from academia, government and industry. A detailed description of the City Portrait methodology is outlined in the About section of the website.

Where can I access the data?

Data for Political Voice, along with the other Social Founation dimensions are available in the Social Foundations Dataset.

For Ecological Celing dimensions, see the Ecological Ceiling Dataset.

Where can I find more information on Political Voice in a regenerative Melbourne?

The City Portrait is informed by extensive research and resources on Doughnut Economics and related frameworks, as well as sector-specific research associated with each dimension. More detailed research that has informed the Political Voice dimension is available to explore via Altiorem's library.

How can I get involved?

To get involved with ongoing development of the City Portrait or learn more about Regen Melbourne, email