What are Australia’s main political parties? Compare & contrast the voting system of Australia with that of another country. Discuss the effects of Australia changing its bicameral system of government.
Modern democracy is party democracy; the political institutions and practices that are the essence of democratic government in the Western view were the creations of political parties and would be unthinkable without them.
(Katz, 1980: page 1)
As a feature of modern democracy, the Australian system of government includes many political parties representing various groups of people of different ideologies and to protect the interests of these particular groups. Each party accommodates its own structures to a different conception of democracy, and maintains a different view of what a democratic society should be.
Having inherited our system of government from the British Westminster system, Australia also furthers the Westminster tradition of the two party system. This of course does not imply that there are necessarily only two parties. It simply derives its meaning from the two main points of view presented in the debate among parties. In Australia, there are three major parties; the two parties consisting of the Labor Party and a coalition of the Liberal and National Party.
The Labor party is Australias oldest political party. Founded in the 1880s, the Labor Party was formed in the midst of depression & high unemployment.
Traditionally the Labor Party has taken a role in voicing the needs of the common workers, & has taken the side in upholding social justice. The main goals of the Labor party are to eliminate poverty, create full employment and establish equal rights & opportunities. (Chapman, 1994: page 192) Currently, the Labor Party have not held office since 1996, & under leader Kim Beazley hold a considerable part of the House of Representatives.
The conservative Coalition consists of a longtime partnership between the Liberal and National party. This partnership has often been described as symbiotic. In this relationship, the leader of the Liberal party takes leadership of the coalition, & the leader of the National Party takes the role of deputy.
Currently the coalition is lead by John Howard with his sidekick John Anderson.
The National Party, formerly the Country Party founded in 1920, was established to better represent the interests of the industries & residents of rural Australia. The National Party represents a unique aspect of Australia, from which we not only see our heritage as a nation as a whole, but also in that rural Australia represents a large & important part in Australias economy. It shows the considerable influence rural Australia exerts on the government. The principles of the National Party have always been to encourage export industries & private enterprise, taking care of the family, maintain Australias security & remain loyal to Britain & her empire. (Chapman, 1994: page 192)
The original Liberal Party, known as Fusion, emerged in 1909 as an alliance of various groups opposed to the Australian Labor Party.
The modern Liberal Party, founded in 1944 at a conference held by Robert Menzies, is by far the youngest of the three major political parties. The principles of the Liberal Party have been to encourage private enterprise, competition & efficiency in industry, reduce taxation & government spending, & to raise the living standards of Australians. (Outlined in Appendix 1: The Original Liberal Party Principles)
Without doubt, the Liberal party has been one of the most important of all formative political influences on contemporary Australia. This is not to deny the dynamic force of Labor on the political system, nor does it ignore the importance the National Party exerts on the economy. Since its creation, the Liberal party have held government for a considerable majority of the period, reflecting the powerful effect it has had in consolidating the form of post-war Australia.
When electing members of the House of Representatives & Senate, different countries conduct different methods by which it allows it citizens to exercise their democratic rights.
In discussing Australias voting system in comparison to that of another country, the example of the voting system adopted by the United States of America will be used to outline the differences.
In Australia, the voting system adopted for both House of Representatives & .