Brexit, referendums and deliberative democracy

Date & time
1–2pm Thursday 4 April 2019

Phillipa Weeks Staff Library

ANU College of Law
5 Fellows Rd Acton

Dr Matt Qvortrup, Coventry University


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Presented by the ANU College of Law Visitors Committee and Research Office

ANU College of Law Research Seminar
Matt Qvortrup

'We want another referendum but one based on facts', wrote the philosopher A.C Greyling recently. In an ideal world, referendums (like all other democratic exercises) should be grounded in discussion. But the impression is that referendums, rather than being exercises in deliberation, are the very opposite. In this talk, I consider if referendums have ever been compatible with the ideal of deliberative and discursive democracy? If there are mechanisms that can make referendums more deliberative and if we should have referendums even if they violate the norms of deliberative democracy? The talk will be based on recent referendums in capitalist economies, with a special reference to Brexit.


  • Dr Matt Qvortrup »

    Dr Matt Qvortrup is an internationally recognized political scientist with a strong presence in the world of practice – in politics, diplomacy and in the media. Described by the BBC as ‘the world’s leading expert on referendums”, is currently Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Coventry University, he recently presented the BBC Radio 4 Analysis Program on the "the death of democracy'

    Matt earned his doctorate in politics from Brasenose College, Oxford University, and holds a qualification as a lawyer from the University of Law, London. Having received Oxford University Press Law Prize 2012 for his research on referendums, he was awarded the BJPIR Prize by the Political Studies Association in 2013. He is joint editor of European Political Science Review. Matt also writes til reviews for Philosophy Now.

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