Skip to Content

Social, Cultural and Political Change

Australian politics

Australian politics

Australia, the United States and the war in Iraq: public opinion, political rhetoric and public policy

Researcher: Murray Goot

Summary

Australia went to war in Iraq when public opinion and the Labor opposition opposed it. What was the state of 'public opinion' - manifested in demonstrations, via talkback radio, through the opinion polls - at the outset of the war and how did it change over the course of the war? How did the government and opposition attempt to shape public opinion? And how did the state of public opinion constrain Australian policy, shape John Howard's attempts to influence US policy and impact on his government's electoral support?

Grant details

Funding: United States Studies' Centre, University of Sydney and Macquarie University
Current to: 2010

Back to top

Remaking Australian politics: electioneering from the 19th century to the 21st

Researchers: Murray Goot, Sean Scalmer (University of Melbourne)

Summary

Elections are a central element of democratic life, yet little is known of the ways in which they have been transformed. This project charts, for the first time, the history of elections and electioneering in Australia from the first democratic ballot to the most recent poll. It focuses on changes in campaign techniques and tactics; the parties' pitch to electors; and how elections have been understood by journalists, social scientists and others.

The research crosses three centuries, covers the Commonwealth and all the states, and combines archival, oral history and quantitative methods. It will show how elections have changed and why, enrich our understanding of liberal democracy, and help illuminate electoral practices internationally.

Grant details

Funding: Australian Research Council Discovery Grant
Current to: 2014

Back to top

The Parliamentary Politics of Abortion Reform in Australia: The Diverse Experience of Nine Jurisdictions, 1965-2010

Chief Investigator: Dr Kate Gleeson, ARC Postdoctoral Fellow

Summary

Abortion is an important political issue implicated in portfolios ranging from reproductive health, to foreign aid and immigration policy. Through extensive archival research and interviews, this project will provide new information about how politicians make decisions on abortion, where they get their information on abortion, and how they understand their roles vis-à-vis their constituents. It will contribute new knowledge to the study of democratic representation; provide a new model for the neglected area of the study of comparative state differences; and heighten Australia's research profile in two areas of increased international interest: abortion and conscience votes.

Grant details

Current: 2013

Back to top

Why not independents? An examination of the consequences of an independent presence in a political system

Researcher: Liam Weeks

Summary

This project is an assessment of the consequences of the presence of independent politicians in both Ireland and Australia. It examines their impact in four areas: parliament, policy, the party system and democracy.

The presence of independent parliamentarians in both of these countries is a pretty unusual comparative occurrence. There are more elected in to the Irish parliament than the rest of western Europe combined, and there are more elected at the state level in Australia than in any other liberal democracy. Not only are they present, but national governments in both Ireland and Australia, as well as state governments in the latter, rely on the support of independents to stay in power.

Grant details

Government of Ireland CARA postdoctoral mobility fellowship,  funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and the European Commission
Current to 2013. 

Back to top

Creating public opinion: polls, the press and Australian politics since the 1940s

Researcher: Murray Goot

Summary

The emergence of public opinion polling represents a turning point in the history of the press and of democratic politics. This project focused on the history of polling in Australia, the growing impact of polls on political reporting, and the ways in which political parties have come to use polls and focus groups to construct their views of voters, leaders and policies. It showed how measuring opinion also creates it, how the media use polls to set agendas and manage dissent, and how parties use and misuse opinion research in their pursuit of power. The project aimed to enhance our understandings of public opinion, political journalism, and party politics in liberal democracies and the power of pollsters, the press, and political leaders.

Grant details

Funding: Australian Research Council Discovery
Grant ended: 2008

Back to top

Database of public opinion, social movements and the media: a new research tool for the humanities and social sciences

Researchers: Murray Goot, Bridget Griffen-Foley, Sean Scalmer

Summary

This project collated references to opinion polls in Factiva from c1980-2001 into a searchable database for media scholars and researchers.

Principal outcome: Database of Public Opinion, Social Movements and the Media: A New Research Tool for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Grant details

Funding: Macquarie University Research Infrastructure Block Grant
Ended 2006

Back to top

The media presence, electoral appeal and political impact of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party

Researcher: Murray Goot

Summary

The success of Pauline Hanson's One Nation is an important development in Australian politics. This project sought to: examine the ways in which the media have reported the phenomenon; test competing explanations for the party's electoral appeal, including theories derived from the rise of the radical right elsewhere; and explore the party's impact on the electoral strategies and public policies of the established parties. This would enhance our understanding of media

practices and power, of the conditions under which populist parties may emerge, and of conservative politics under challenge.

Grant details

Funding: Australian Research Council Discovery
Grant ended: 2004

Back to top