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Australian Politics

In this game, power is not given, power is taken. Because Austalian politics is dominated by two parties - the conservative Liberal Party and the center-left Labor Party - they are able to act as gatekeepers to the political scene. Noam Chomsky suggested that the best way to maintain control of public opinion is not to determine a single official position and ensure all media conform to it, but to set a very narrow spectrum of allowable political views, but allow the most vigorous controversy within it.

No Australian prime minister has seen through their full three-year term since John Howard's 11-year leadership came to an end in 2007. All have been ousted by their own party amid poor showing in opinion polls. Ther were quite considerable ideological cleavages within both major parties, but it was a particular problem in the Liberal Party. This split between progressives and conservatives meant that no leader since John Howard had really been able to bridge that gap.

There was a period of unusual political instability in Australia since former Prime Minister John Howard left office in 2007 after 11 uninterrupted years. The country has since gone through six prime ministers, neither of whom have served a full three-year term, thanks to intraparty squabbles as power changed hands between the Liberals and Labor, including two stints in power for Labors Kevin Rudd. Turnbull himself toppled Tony Abbott for the party leadership and the prime ministers post in a similar challenge in 2015.

There are growing doubts as to whether the institutions of democracy in Australia are adequate to the tasks at hand. The major parties, the primary instruments through which voters organised their thinking about politics and expressed their choices, were anchored in distinct social bases that have now broken up. brittle party system. Major party membership dwindles as public affiliation with them weakens, causing greater voter volatility and a brittle party system.

The left oscillates between technocratic, illiberal public policy and a reactionary and curious neo-primitivism, rejecting the benefits of technological advancements such as fracking and necessary workplace relations changes to compete in a globalised economy. The right promotes a reactionary trinity of discourse: anti-asylum seeker, anti-ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation], and anti-anthropogenic global warming. The right is also attempting to assert the primacy of the individual by attacking disadvantaged minority collectives, such as refugees or Indigenous Australians.

Public debate in Australia is essentially conservative, if not actually rightwing. The political class tends to lean right, especially on economic matters, and to be considered "serious" one must adhere to rightwing precepts, or at a minimu, not promote leftwing views. Television in particular is less about wide-ranging debate than a sort of anodyne neutrality that ultimately by default give credence to right wing views.

Forcing uninformed voters to have a preference for people they do not know, empowers candidates who represent the system that elected them, not the people. Australians to one degree or another believe politicians do not listen. Politicians do not need to listen, because they know only too well that voters ability to hold them to account has diminished to the stage where the franchise to vote has very little power.

Members of parliament are given quotas of money to raise. If a Members has given $50,000 to somebodys campaign fund, he comes into your office and asks you to support a piece of legislation, its going to take a very strong person to say no. People spend enough money to get access to ministers in a government.

Paul Strangio wrote in 2014 that "The symptoms of this national political malaise, we are routinely reminded, include destructive partisanship, the corrosive influence of powerful vested interests on public policy, and growing electoral volatility that is a manifestation of a poisonous cocktail of greater voter caprice and disillusionment with a cynical and myopic political class and declining major parties".

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 18-09-2018 18:37:31 ZULU