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As a former diplomat currently engaged in praxis-oriented research and teaching, I examine Böckenförde’s importance in the broad context of the debate on the future of Europe. First, I trace some of Böckenförde’s specific thoughts on the development of the European Union, notably concerning trends that impact on the shared “sense of belonging” that underpins deliberative democracy. Second, accepting Böckenförde’s crucial distinction between the granular provisions of the law and an underlying ethos or sense of direction, I argue that the Böckenförde paradox is strongly supported at the roots of our culture by ancient Greek political thought, in ways that can help us develop our thinking in new directions—involving Aristotelian conceptions of orientation, community (koinōnia), and discernment. Finally, I address the challenges currently facing the European Union, taking as my point of departure President Emmanuel Macron’s evocation of the “contribution which a living Europe can bring to civilisation.” The political thought of Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, illuminated by conceptions of orientation, community, and discernment, can help to prepare us for a future intercultural dialogue in the service of peace.
This lead article surveys the history and evolving policy legacies of the “one China” framework 50 years after US President Richard Nixon's historic 1972 visit to China. It begins by introducing key concepts and highlighting the crucial difference between Beijing's self-defined “one-China principle” and the US's, Japan's and key other countries’ variable “one China” policies as it relates to Taiwan. It argues that three seminal 1970s developments consolidated the “one China” framework as an informal institution of international politics. The ambiguity baked in by Cold War-era geopolitical necessity provided flexibility sufficient to enable diplomatic breakthroughs between erstwhile adversaries, but also planted seeds for deepening contestation and frictions today. Recent developments – especially Taiwan's democratization and Beijing's increasingly bold and proactive assertion of its claim to sovereignty over Taiwan – have transformed incentive structures in Taipei and for its major international partners. The net effect is that the myth of “consensus” and the ambiguities enabling the framework's half-century of success face unprecedented challenges today.
The COVID-19 crisis has transformed the highly specialized issue of what constitutes reliable medical evidence into a topic of public concern and debate. This book interrogates the assumption that evidence means the same thing to different constituencies and in different contexts. Rather than treating various practices of knowledge as rational or irrational in purely scientific terms, it explains the controversies surrounding COVID-19 by drawing on a theoretical framework that recognizes different types of rationality, and hence plural conceptualizations of evidence. Debates within and beyond the medical establishment on the efficacy of measures such as mandatory face masks are examined in detail, as are various degrees of hesitancy towards vaccines. The authors demonstrate that it is ultimately through narratives that knowledge about medical and other phenomena is communicated to others, enters the public space, and provokes discussion and disagreements. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
The Eumenides contains one of the earliest descriptions anywhere of Hades as a universal judge. The Erinyes threaten Orestes with a continuation of his punishment after death by “the great assessor of mortals beneath the earth.” This passage contains the first extant catalogue of Hades’ ethical concerns: he is said to punish human–divine, parent–child, and guest–host transgressions. Although he “sees all things,” the name Hades derives from a-idein, literally the “unseen,” a moniker that exemplifies the human inability to confront this nonpolitical, absolute judge. By differentiating Hades from the Erinyes, this chapter draws out the dynamics of his character and ethical law. Like them, Hades’ connection with blood and punishment entails pollution, but unlike them, he is never subordinated to Athens. The analysis then contrasts Hades’ law to the “new law” that Athena creates. It argues that Hades represents an alternate, yet still valid ethical code that can be used to critique the jingoistic and bellicose politics of the trilogy’s ending.
Milton's divorce tracts create a political ideology of marriage and husbands which increasingly sees wives as the problem for male citizens. Like Habermas in creating a fantasy of the public sphere that excludes women, and like Charles I in Eikon Basilike, Milton in the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Tetrachordon, Colasterion, and Martin Bucer tracts imagines a hapless husband who needs to be freed from both paternal oversight and wifely constraints if he is to be a public authority in England. Inviting Parliament to see divorce itself as not just an analogy for anti-monarchy movements but as itself a key linchpin in the new commonwealth, Milton, in the divorce tracts, creates the perfect male citizen as the man who can repudiate his wife.
The introduction provides necessary background on Ancient Greek religious and literary ideas about the afterlife, methods for analyzing ethics in literature that several of the chapters will challenge, a working definition of tragic poetics, and historical context and preliminary definitions relevant for political structures and themes in the Oresteia.
If you search for ‘federation’ on the internet, you will find accounts of systems of government in which sovereignty is divided between a central, national government and a series of regional, partially self-governing states. You may well find a webpage of the Parliamentary Education Office recording that, ‘in a process known as Federation’ Australia ‘became a nation on 1 January 1901 when six British colonies – New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania – united to form the Commonwealth of Australia’ (PEO 2020). These search results suggest some key takeaway points for students of Australian politics. First, a federation is a particular form of political system where two tiers or levels of government (national and regional) share power and neither has authority over the other. Second, when capitalised ‘Federation’ describes the process which resulted in the creation of Australia at the dawn of the last century. The final point to note is that Australia’s federal system shapes its politics and other activities. Its federation provides a good example of how 21st century Australian politics remains in the grip of institutions established in the distant past.
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.