I find most articles on ‘democracy’,  ‘populism’ and such like quite confusing.  There is no clarity in just what is meant by the terms, and, as I have written I think Senator Pauline Hanson is confused not only by the terms but as to her Constitutional role in the Senate.

An accurate definition of the word ‘democracy’ is surely “the power of the people”? As to 'populism' - surely that relates to the will of the people clearly expressed?

But of course the power-hungry have a diametrically opposed understanding of what the people want or a clear expression of their will:  they believe the sort of power that people want is the power of government to determine the terms under which the people shall live.

In 1929 the Lord Chief Justice of England Lord Bury defined the British tradition of the Rule of Law (The New Despotism): 
(1) "no man can be punished, or can be lawfully made to suffer either in his body or in his goods, except for a distinct breach of law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary Courts";
(2) "every man, whatever his rank or condition may be, is subject to the ordinary law of the land and the jurisdiction of the ordinary Courts"; and
(3) "the general principles of our Constitution are mainly the result of judicial decisions determining the rights of private persons in particular cases brought before the Courts" (p. 20).

Michael Lane in “Power and Freedom” comments on Lord Bury’s explanation:
Note that item 1 is a negative definition of rights. It says that what is forbidden is specified in the law, all else being permitted. The rights of man are in number as the stars. A positive declaration of rights has the disadvantage that is compromises all rights not mentioned in the declaration.

The ordinary Courts deliver justice based on four principles:
(1) the judge is known and personally responsible for his decisions,
(2) the case is conducted in public,
(3) the result is based on known and established principles uniformly applied (due process), and
(4) all parties are fully and fairly heard (pp. 31-32).

One does wonder how the actions of the 2016 Human Rights Commission and the treatment meted out to those three Queensland University students under Section 18C of the Racial Vilification Act would stand up against the four basic principles of ‘justice delivered’. 

Read the full paper here:

Senator Rod Culleton and the High Court