Visit the museum on UN International Day of Democracy
On 15 September, the Museum of Australian Democracy is supporting the United Nations International Day of Democracy. To commemorate this important day, museum general admission will be free of charge and all visitors will receive a memento of their visit. The museum will also be flying the flag of the United Nations at the front of the Old Parliament House building for the day and if you visit after dark, you’ll see the iconic building turn UN blue.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the International Day of Democracy on 8 November 2007. The UN states, ‘Democracy is as much a process as a goal, and only with the full participation of and support by the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals, can the ideal of democracy be made into a reality to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.’ Since 1988, the General Assembly had adopted at least one resolution annually dealing with some aspect of democracy. Member states at the World Summit in 2005 also reaffirmed that ‘democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.’
Australia has a long and proud history at the United Nations. Australia is a founding member of the United Nations and Australians were instrumental in helping to formulate the United Nations Charter. The first president of the UN Security Council was Australian Norman Makin, a former Labor MP and Minister who also served as Australia’s Ambassador to the United States from 1946-51. At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Julia Gillard on 3 September 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said about Australia’s contribution: ‘Australia is one of the strongest supporters of the United Nations. I highly commend the work of Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, for her leadership to work together with the UN in addressing all peace and security issues, development and human rights and [to] always make a very important contribution.’
Housed in one of Australia’s most-loved buildings and former home of both government and Parliament, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House brings the journey of Australian democracy to life—presenting its past, present and possible futures. The UN International Day of Democracy is an ideal day for Australians to pause and reflect on Australia’s achievements and the work still to be done. The past year has been an extraordinary year for movements towards democracy worldwide. This important day is also a time to think about those who are still striving for democratic rights and freedoms we perhaps take for granted.
For more information about Australia’s role in the United Nations, contact the United Nations Information Centre for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.