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This chapter offers a reassessment of the contemporary feminist legacies of the late surrealist novel. Historically, scholarship has reached a moment where the late surrealist novels of Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) and Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012) now operate as active intertexts. Such legacies have become manifest in a new generation of contemporary novelists who identify as feminist: Chloe Aridjis (b. 1971), Kate Bernheimer (b. 1966), Ali Smith (b. 1962), and Heidi Sopinka (b. 1971). A range of feminist-surrealist stylistics in the contemporary novel become apparent. Self-reflexive framing devices such as transcription (daydreaming) and lecturing (epistemology) enable protagonists to take control of their voice or destiny in Bernheimer’s The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold (2001), Aridjis’s Book of Clouds (2009), and Smith’s Autumn (2016). Moreover, haunted texts and found objects serve as catalysts and/or disruptive plot devices in Sopinka’s The Dictionary of Animal Languages (2018) and Aridjis’s Asunder (2013) and Sea Monsters (2019). These novels mimic the surrealist techniques and the elderly characters found in Tanning’s Abyss/Chasm (1977/2004) and Carrington’s The Hearing Trumpet (1974). A comparative, intergenerational perspective ensures the historical authenticity of the surrealist novel, and acknowledges a critical inheritance of fictional, revisionary accounts of the avant-garde movement.
While conventional accounts of the political landscape highlight Australia’s well-established formal institutions such as the electoral system, parliament, federalism, the public service and judiciary, a holistic approach to the study of Australian politics must also include the political contributions of a wider range of citizens and the various ways in which governments attempt to structure their input.
The chapter begins with a description of the organisational landscape of citizens’ groups in Australian politics and summarises the main advantages and drawbacks arising from the active participation and engagement of citizens’ groups.
The relative merits and drawbacks of government-initiated opportunities for citizens to contribute to political debate and public policy are then discussed with reference to theoretical modelling of community engagement.
The final section of the chapter examines the new challenges arising from the growing citizen participation and demand for community engagement in Australian politics. The discussion of these issues demonstrates how the participation and engagement of citizens’ groups is evolving in 21st century Australia.
The Australian party system comprises many more parties than just the ALP and the Liberal-National Party coalition. As dominant as the big two parties are, they do not exercise a complete duopoly over the House of Representatives or the Senate. Indeed, with its multi-member proportional electoral system, the Senate has always offered greater potential for a much more diverse set of political parties to win representation, although this was not really realised until the 1980s. Generally, a party is considered ‘minor’ not only because of a small vote share, but also because of a lack of representational success in the lower house contest, or where success is confined to the proportionally representative Senate. While this labelling is contested (Kefford, 2017), it is a useful counterpoint to the ‘major’ party tag of Labor and the Coalition. This chapter discusses a number of the minor parties, their role and function in contemporary Australian politics and the growing number of independents.
You might expect a textbook on Australian politics to begin with a discussion of contemporary Australian politics taking place in a strangely shaped building in Canberra, or with a somewhat esoteric discussion of colonial parliaments. What we will explore in this first chapter are two connected ideas: what is politics and why do we study it. There will, of course, be an overview of the political institutions, as well as discussion of some important terms, and a peek at what challenges might lie ahead for Australian political structures.
So how should we think about with an examination of contemporary politics in Australia? We should begin with acknowledging that the politics we study now is the product, one way or another, of a series activities, actions and interactions that stretch far back in time. The real politics and history of Australia starts somewhere between 50,000 and 65,000 years prior to white settlement – although how far back is not clear. If we acknowledge the past, we can understand how it has shaped our contemporary society.
This chapter examines the role of the administrative arm of government known as the bureaucracy, public service or civil service. The first section of the chapter charts the origins and development of bureaucracy as a model of organisation, which contrasts with the popular, and largely negative, understanding of the term. Turning to the Australian context, the chapter then provides an overview of the Australian federal bureaucracy, the Australian Public Service (APS). In explaining the bureaucracy’s role, the chapter outlines a key activity: policymaking. It examines definitions and stages of public policy, noting that in practice these stages represent an idealised understanding of the policy work of the bureaucracy. In reality, the world of policymaking is often chaotic, ad hoc and subject to opportunities and political leadership.
New public management reforms and modern policymaking are then placed in a broader context of a shift from government to governance that has taken place in recent decades. The chapter concludes by discussing the challenges the public service faces in the 21st century.
When we come to think about what a democracy is, and how a nation might go about constructing a democratic government, an election is often the first thing we think is important in that process. While elections do not in themselves guarantee democracy, they are certainly seen as a key element, without which any regime will have a hard time calling itself a democracy. We need to be aware that there are a number of important provisos that allow us to call an election democratic or ‘free and fair’:
1. elections are held on a regular basis
2. a range of candidates and parties can participate
3. as many people as possible can vote freely for the candidate or party of their choice
4. a wide range of policies are debated in the public arena
5. there is a potential for a change in government at any given election.
Elections in Australia generall refer to the elections for the Commonwealth Parliament in Canberra, the state and territory parliaments, and at a local level for the councils and shires. This chapter will explore the nature of those elections, and some of the challenges facing the systems we use.
When we think about parliaments and the legislature, we often find ourselves casting our minds back to the first ‘parliaments’, such as the fora of Ancient Greece or the Althing of Norse Iceland. Broadly speaking they were similar – a group of people coming together to make laws. Parliaments and legislatures have developed considerably since those times to be complex bodies, but the key idea of a group coming together to make laws remains. At the same time we might also think that this collection of people is also somehow representative of democracy – but we need to be clear that just having a legislature does not itself mean you are democratic. A variety of other conditions need to be met before we would usually say that a country is 'democratic', though in the case of Australia this is generally a given. While other chapters will discuss the way parliaments are elected – the electoral system – and who gets to choose who the candidates are – the parties or individuals – this chapter will discuss the role, purpose and operation of the Australian Parliament, as it is the legislature that citizens, members of parliament (MPs) and parties all aim to attend and control.
In Australia, executive power is concentrated in the roles of the prime minister and the Cabinet – the body of senior ministers who provide leadership for the government and departments of state. Executive power is the capacity to ‘execute’ or implement political decisions and legislation. Although the Australian Constitution formally vests executive power in the Queen, which is then ‘exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative’ (Australian Constitution, Chapter 2, article 61), this executive power is chiefly symbolic. Real executive power resides in the elected government of the day, led by the prime minister and the Cabinet.
In this chapter, we begin with defining executive power and distinguishing between the political and administrative wings of executive government. We continue with a consideration of the functions that the executive government serves. The chapter then delves deeper into the heart of Australia’s executive government, examining the key features of the roles of the prime minister and the Cabinet, and the relationship between them. We end by considering the tensions between executive power and accountability.
In a democracy the people are said to lead. And yet within Australia’s liberal democracy, the people elect individuals to represent them. This sets up a unique role for political leadership. Debates about leadership churn are especially relevant in Australia given the number of political leaders that were replaced in the decade following the 2007 federal election.
Understanding the friction between leadership and liberal democracy provides us with a deeper grasp of our institutional setup. In considering political leadership in Australia, this chapter begins by considering the tension that exists between leaders in liberal democracies and the democratic institutions they work within. It then outlines some of the theories about leaders and leadership. It goes on to investigate and discuss Australian political leadership by considering the different types of political leadership in Australia. Following this, debates about recent leadership failure and supposed ‘poor leaders’ in Australia will take place. This chapter also deals with questions related to structure and agency as well as the political leadership gender gap in Australia.
According to liberal democratic theory, a free press is necessary for a well-functioning democracy. In its ‘ideal’ form, the news media play an essential role in informing the public sphere.
This chapter provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities for media institutions and political journalism in the digital age. It provides a better understanding of the Australian media’s contribution to the public sphere and its role to critically inform Australians about politics and policy. We do this, firstly, by examining the media sphere, including its production, content, and audience within various ‘models’ of media. We then look at a range of theories of media that accounts for its affect, use, and reception. We consider whether having fewer media proprietors affects diversity of voices or the quality of journalistic practice. Finally, we turn to the ‘new media’ political landscape by exploring not only how networks and social media platforms have affected the public sphere but also how media technologies have led to increased form of surveillance of the public.
This chapter provides an opportunity to engage in analysis of contemporary Australian politics and question some of the challenges chosen for further discussion in this chapter. It also aims to bring together much of the discussion through the previous 12 chapters. By highlighting some of the problems Australia faces, including climate change, a global refugee crisis, and a global pandemic, our goal is not to suggest that Australian democracy is broken beyond repair. All nations face similar issues, and so Australia is not unique in that sense. Indeed, we might still argue Australia is Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country – in both the sense of being ‘lucky’, and in the sense Horne intended it (Horne, 2008). But it is only by analysing the challenges we as a nation face, that students of Australian politics can truly evaluate the future of Australian democracy.
The global political environment in the twenty-first century is proving dynamic and challenging for Australian policymakers and political institutions. Australian Politics in the Twenty-first Century contextualises the Australian political landscape through an institutional lens. It examines the legislative and judicial bodies, minor parties, lobby groups, the media and the citizenry, providing historical and contemporary facts, explaining political issues and examining new challenges. The second edition has been updated to reflect the application of political theories in today's civic environment. New spotlight boxes highlight issues including marriage equality, COVID-19 and federalism, the inclusion of First Nations peoples in the political system, and gender equality in public policy. Short-answer, reflection, research and discussion questions encourage students to test and extend their knowledge of each topic and to clearly link theory to practice. Written in an accessible and engaging style, Australian Politics in the Twenty-First Century is an invaluable introduction to the Australian political system.
The Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal Party of Australia (LPA) (who, at the federal level, are in a formal Coalition with the National Party) dominate Australian politics. In its modern guise this dominance extends back to the 1940s, though with Labor/non-Labor party electoral competition extending right back to Federation (albeit in a more complex form until 1909). Despite recent evidence of falling support for the two main parties, they will almost certainly remain dominant for the foreseeable future and are the only serious contenders to lead any government at federal or state/territory level. It is important to understand where these parties came from, how they have changed, and the contemporary political and organisational challenges they confront.
The first section of this chapter examines the history and evolution of the major parties. In doing so, we explore their organisation and ideology and then consider how, if at all, the relationship between the major parties and voters has changed. The chapter concludes by examining the ways Australia’s major parties have been classified, and how they might differ from those in other advanced democracies.
On 1 January 1901, the newly constituted Australian Parliament met for the first time at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. This ceremonial meeting of the parliament marked the climax of a ‘federation movement’ that is usually associated with the advocacy of a national system of government.
This chapter explores constitutionalism in the Australian context, as a combination of the written constitution and Westminster practice, before idenitfying key sections of the Australian Constitution. It then proceeds to explore the 1975 constitutional crisis, when the Whitlam government was dismissed. The High Court of Australia's role in interpreting the Australian Constitution is also considered. The chapter concludes by considering the potential for constitutional reform.
Studies of world literature and the Global Anglophone hinge on imagined locations where readers encounter texts: the university classroom, the state library, the airport kiosk. Yet all of these bookshelves are institutional, shaped by either the market or the state. In the meantime, South Asian authors themselves were constructing another collection, a “countershelf” of Latin American texts, authors, and locations through which they could identify against the Anglophone globe in which they were simultaneously compelled to circulate. Like the concept of a “counterpublic” from which it takes its name, the countershelf uses literature to enact a minoritized discursive space, one irreducible to – though not untouched by – institutional power. The Introduction traces the countershelf’s four key features: the idea of being “contrary” to a dominant, canonical tradition; of having been “curated” through interpersonal relationships with other readers and writers; of being “circulated” through channels both practical and affective; and, finally, of being “contested” between various writers participating in the tradition, rather than a site of pre-established ideological unity.
In this chapter we ask: What is children’s literature? We aim to challenge the traditional idea that children’s literature is simply print-based stories for learners. To do this, we look at what Australia’s English curriculum says about literature and literary texts. Then, we reflect deeply on practical ways we can aid learners to find joy in literature and use different literary texts to: read silently, read aloud and read with friends; talk about plot, characters and settings; examine word choices; reflect on visual elements in images; see different perspectives; perform readers theatre; and sing. But this is no easy feat. Therefore, to help teachers, the bulk of the chapter offers practical ways to do what evidence-based research tells us, which is to put our trust in literature, and submerge and soak learners in quality literature to best support their efforts to lead literate lives.
Ever since T.B. Macaulay leveled the accusation in 1835 that 'a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India,' South Asian literature has served as the imagined battleground between local linguistic multiplicity and a rapidly globalizing English. In response to this endless polemic, Indian and Pakistani writers set out in another direction altogether. They made an unexpected journey to Latin America. The cohort of authors that moved between these regions include Latin-American Nobel laureates Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz; Booker Prize notables Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Mohammed Hanif, and Mohsin Hamid. In their explorations of this new geographic connection, Roanne Kantor claims that they formed the vanguard of a new, multilingual world literary order. Their encounters with Latin America fundamentally shaped the way in which literature written in English from South Asia exploded into popularity from the 1980s until the mid-2000s, enabling its global visibility.
Twenty-first-century poets, particularly queer Indigenous and queer of color poets, have taken particular interest in lyric, its excesses, and its transformative potential. Queer Indigenous and queer of color poets make clear that the relationships that make and sustain life are not merely those between human selves. The poems discussed retain the physicality associated with the lyric voice but reject its fantasy of a self-organizing, independent consciousness. They explore what might happen when the speaker's crystalline singularity is shattered – first, by a more accurate conception of the interdependence of living beings; and second, by historical and contemporary conditions of mass death. Tommy Pico’s Nature Poem makes astute use of the conventions of lyric poetry and its associated reading practices in order to invoke, if not inaugurate something different – poetry that disidentifies with the form of the person and that radically expands the tripartite relation of speaker, addressee, and audience that structures the American lyric tradition.
This chapter examines the relationship between poetry and academic institutions in the twenty-first century, an era in which creative writing MFA and PhD programs are an established and durable part of the landscape. The real solidification of poetry’s academic situatedness has given rise to poetry that chooses to interrogate the notions of creative freedom and personal expression. Folding an explicitly hermeneutic practice or process into the poetry itself creates a reflexivity that imagines the speaking subject as an actively, discursively analytical subject – one that sees in these analytical methodologies not a way to stifle creative possibility, but to expand it. The work of Myung Mi Kim, particularly Commons, seeks to reconfigure the personal in service of the more broadly intellectual: the lyric speaker as an active analyst both of “lyric” and of “speaker.” Alongside the work of poets like Claudia Rankine and Nathaniel Mackey, the result is what we might call an academic avant-garde at the crossroads of programs in creative writing and those in literature, history, philosophy, and the other humanities.
The twenty-first-century poets and poems of the nearly Baroque want art that puts excess, invention, and ornament first. Some poets, such as Angie Estes, Robyn Schiff, and Lucie Brock-Broido have pursued a nearly Baroque aesthetic for almost the whole of their careers. Other recent exemplars include Nada Gordon, Ange Mlinko, Kiki Petrosino, Geoffrey Nutter, and Brenda Shaughnessy. Nearly Baroque contemporary poems exhibit elaborate syntax, and self-consciously elaborate sonic patterning, without adopting pre-modernist forms. The nearly Baroque is a femme aesthetic and defends traditionally feminine ideas of beauty and extravagance against the insistence on practicality, on political utility, on conceptual novelty, or on efficiency. At the same time these poets tend to note – they may sound guilty about – the serious effort and energy devoted to making such complicated, luxurious, or apparently useless things as contemporary literary poems. The most recent poets to work in the nearly Baroque idiom take increasing account of the actual bodies and bodily histories that do not fit well with conventional standards of prettiness, ornament, femininity, or beauty. Poets of color who foreground race have sometimes chosen not so much exactly the strategies described here but related ones, ones that benefit from the comparison.