Australia is a country located in the Southern hemisphere of the Australian continent. It is the world’s sixth largest country. The country was colonized by the Great Britain in the 1788. This began with the arrival of the first fleet from Britain in Botany Bay (Hughes, 1988, p.106).
In 1901, Australia gained its independence and became a federal state (Frankel, 1988). The country was then subdivided into six states that were federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia. The states are New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland. Australia has since then had a liberal democratic political system. The political system has two functions: the function of a constitutional monarchy and that of federal parliamentary democracy.
Basically, the Australian federal system distributes power between the Commonwealth which is the national government and the six states (Francis 1994, p. 275). The three main territories, namely: the Australian Capital, Norfolk Island, and the Northern territory, have got their own governments. To avoid conflicts, the Australian constitution, which is based on the Westminster System from the British, provides guidelines of how power is distributed amongst the three bodies.
A lot of changes have come about in the Australian politics. Politics have now become more radical and everyone has the right to take part in the Australian politics. Groups that once were considered inferior: a good example is that of women. Women now have a platform to air their opinions and views on whatever happens in the country. All these owing to democracy in the Commonwealth of Australia.
Years after the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, a lot has changed in Australia. The Act ignited the transformation of Australia from a White Australia Policy to the current state. Pauline Hanson, started her party of which she called the One Nation Party. Pauline and her party made it very clear that not all people who lived in Australia were Australian citizens by birth. She went on to treat the people who she believed as being non-Australians, especially the Aborigines and Asians with a lot of hostility (Hughes, 1988, p. 287). This contributed to Hanson’s popularity, though it did not last long.
Hanson’s successor, Howard, has made more popular Hanson’s policy of discrimination of non-Australian people. Howard has made it impossible for the reconciliation of white Australians and indigenous Australians (Brawley, 1995, p.176). This largely cut down on cases of immigration and adoption of multicultures, since it is now viewed as a threat to White Australian culture. Howard has set policies that are used to limit immigration and exchange of cultures, leading to his increased popularity. This led to the Tampa crisis which occurred in the August of 2001. The crisis resulted to Howard’s victory during elections held a few months later, which was a clear indication that the White Australian policy appealed to a large population of Australia.
The legal and formal or political aspects and structures of the White Australian have already been done away with. However, attitudes that came about as a result of the said policy are still deeply rooted in the minds and hearts of White Australians, who keep on discriminating against the indigenous Australians (Mulgan, 2004, p. 216). The attitudes have now become more of a national Australian culture. This culture of discrimination against indigenous Australian has proven resistant to change than any other culture Australia, after all, culture is root of history, and not politics or any form of law.
The Aboriginal people, who are in other words referred to as the indigenous Australians, were among the first people to settle in Australia. The Aboriginal people have customs and cultures that white Australians heavily borrow from. It hence is very unfortunate that they are a group that suffers a lot due to hostility imposed on them by white Australians.
The processes of post-war decolonization and accelerated globalization have led to more changes in the politics of Australia as well as in the attitudes of the Australian people. One of the recorded changes is a change of internal population. The Australian population is now not only composed of white Australians, but other indigenous Australians, the Aboriginal people to be precise.
Politics in Australia are now characterized by leaders who still are conservative, but not in the way that Howard and Pauline were. These leaders understand well that the White Australian policy would be a major setback for the country. This is because a country that discriminated people based on race. This would be irrational and morally unacceptable with the currents happenings in the world, such as globalization and inflation. However, there is a bit of conservancy in the way the leaders run the politics if the country, and this has resulted to the transformation of Australia from the White Australian policy to a Fortress Australia.
The policy of a fortress Australia has got its own terms that include maintaining a well guarded boundary around Australia. The boundary is intended to keep Australia as a separate nation state from other states or nations. This is a modified policy of racial discrimination. The Australian leaders no longer keep off people who are not of the same race as white Australians, but want to keep to keep to their own space. In other words, the political leaders of Australia want to have Australia as a separate entity or as a sovereign territory in the way it runs its affairs, especially anything that has to do with politics.
This new attitude of conservatism is as a result of modifications made to the views and sentiments of Pauline Hanson. However, the views and sentiments of Pauline have been regarded by many people as a source of problems for the country. This is because the views were self-centered and revolved around Pauline’s political party: One Nation. The views of Pauline were a characteristic of past Australian politics, and not the present nor future political life of the country.
Another guise of modern politics in Australia is the new right think tanks. The right think tanks came into use in the mid 1980’s. The think tanks are widely used in the Australian politics. Think tanks are used to defend most of the activities of the Australian federal coalition government (Lilley, 2012, p. 321). Most of these activities that the new think tanks are used to defend have been criticized at one point or another by scholars or other prominent figures in the Commonwealth of Australia. One such activity is the support of the culture of welfare dependency by the coalition government of Australia.
New right is taken to mean a radical neo-liberal movement. This can further be taken to mean an elite social movement that has got specific ideas that it wants to sell to other people for them to adopt. This radical social movement came into being in the mid 1970’s. When this movement first came into being, it tried to shift focus from the politics of the country to the Australian market. The idea of the movement was that if the market was given an opportunity to function freely without restrictions from the state, it would be able to produce and distribute goods and services more efficiently. Again, the Australian market would run its activities legally without the influence of any body. The goods and services range from consumer items such as furniture to public goods and services, a good example being education or health services. This the movement did on the basis that if the market was functioning well, then it would be easier to run other activities of the Australian government, and especially the politics.
The new think tanks and groups include the Institute of Public Affairs, the Center for Independent Studies, Center of Policy Studies, and the Australian Adam Smith Club. All these groups create the radical effect in the Australian politics (Moon, & Stone, 2003, p. 178). The neo-liberals use tools such as simplistic dichotomies and emotive language to welfare states, socialism, social justice and anything else related to these systems. They then proposed a model that is based on capitalist ideologies. The government was to make use of the said model to ensure that the liberty of the market was maintained, as well as to protect individuals who were taking part in voluntary market exchanges.
The new think tanks and groups were referred to as new and radical liberalists because they were quick to criticize the policy of welfare states and went ahead to propose ideas or options that would be used in place of the policy. When established, the radical neo-liberal groups had a great influence on activities of the government as well as on the political activities of the state.
Besides checking into the economic affairs of the country, the neo-liberal groups also took up the role to transform political and social ideologies of Australia. The groups were out to reinforce morality in the way politics were run and also in the way people lived in society. It is common knowledge that a societal setting greatly determines the way people perceive anything that affects them, politically, socially, or any other way (Heath, 2010, p. 275).
The neo-liberal movement has been effective in its initiative to transform the politics of Australia. In many instances, the movement has been working independently. The movement tries to work by bringing ideas of the government to the people, who offer a wider and larger audience. They then solicit support for the ideas or policies by influencing the people into taking up the ideas. In addition to that, the movement has its ways of bringing like-minded people together (Grabowski, & Corona, 2002, p. 200).
Collective action has been a characteristic of modern politics in Australia. This is due to the efforts of the liberal movements to bring together people who share the same ideas of the government. This has helped reduce resistance to take up new policies from the government. Collective action has also been possible and popular by the fact that most of the organizations and groups that are part of the liberal movement are associations that deal with issues that affect the people directly. For these reasons, politicians chose to buy the ideas that the activists of the liberal movement try to bring out.
A number of questions concerning the legitimacy of the liberal movements have been raised (Kelly 2011, 264). It has come to the attention if those interested that the movement tends to lean more on capitalist ideologies, and that the movement has got close links with the Liberal Party of Australia. This has a great effect on the popularity of the movement, which has a small base. The liberal movement is mostly composed of elites, who are only a fraction of the Australian population. Besides the elites, the boards and committees of the liberal movement are composed of politicians, and other influential people in the society (Kirk, 2011, p. 263). Most of these people have access to media platforms such as publications which they use to make known new ideas and policies. In addition to that, the elites are mostly capitalists, in contrast to most of the citizens of Australia.
Neo-liberal think tanks insist on independence in the way affairs concerning the country are run. The movement also insists on its non-partisan nature, and does not give special attention to the interests of their patrons. This helps reduce chances of injustice or corruption.
With all the above aspects well laid out, it is clear that the neo-liberal movement has been effective in its endeavor: to influence the politics of the country. The goal of the movement has led to the creation of a group of people who are against the ideas that the movement brings forth, or are simply against the fact that the movement is out to support activities of the Australian coalition government (Howe, 2007, p. 148).
The liberal movement has been successful influencing the opposition to take neo-liberalism.old policies and alliances such as the Australia settlement have been dealt away with. The movement has also been instrumental in fighting instances of injustice and protecting the weak. The success of the movement is owed to numerous publications, forums, use of terms such as ‘special interests’ (Kelly, 2011, p. 286). All these are used to make those who try to oppose the movement look guilty in the eyes of the people. Those who try to oppose activities and ideas of the movement are termed as being self-centered people. All these strategies may have worked for the movement, but have also created conflicts within the capitalist members of the movement, since most of those attacked are politicians. These politicians are capitalists but share different views of whatever the movement is in support of, causing misunderstandings between them and other capitalists who are in supports of the very ideologies (Howe, 2007, p. 311).
The radical neo-liberal movement has availed a particular set of words or a language that is used by those taking up the concepts of the movement. The movement not only criticizes what they feel they should, but go on to provide other options that are morally upright and do not against the democratic rights of the people. Thus, the movement provides a universally accepted literal framework of how politics should be run.
The neo-liberal movement has been able to shift the attention of politicians from their personal interests or interests of their parties to concentrate more on the interests of the Australians. Most of the political debates and usually self-centered, leading to slow development in the country, which is as a result of poor politics. The movement has made major contributions in the political debates, making them more fruitful. The debates are also legitimized by the publicity accorded to them (Rix, 1999, p. 180). The publicity is created by sympathetic treatment and special attention from the media, making radical the implementation of policies set during the political debates or forums.
The liberal movement has played a major role in the reducing the impact of the opposition in the Australian politics. A good example of this is when the movement was able to move Labor to support neo-liberalism federally. However, it is important to note that the radical neo-liberal was created as a result of a threat issued by one of the political leaders to reduce all the impacts of opposition. The movement diluted the opposition by influencing it into adopting policies that had a radical neo-liberal aspect. This weakened the opposition in a great way, making it easier for the government to carry out its activities and implement its policies (Rodgers, 2007, p.219).
The impact of the radical neo-liberal movement was also felt in issues that had to do with bureaucracy in the federal states. Most of the activists of the liberal movement come from the federal movements. However, this does not mean that the movement enjoys support from all federals. The movement is forced to work extra hard to garner support for its ideas on the federal level. Efforts of the movement bore fruit when it was able shift the bureaucracy of the federal states from the adoption of the Keynesian policy to more radical policies.
The neo-liberal movement has successfully transformed political parties to adopt their new radical policies. These new policies are relevant to current issues of the world; majorly globalization and inflation. The policies of the movement fight for the rights of the people of Australia (Painter, 1989, p. 67).
Neo-liberal policies are against discrimination based on the race. A lot of harm and losses were incurred when the White Australians policy was adopted in the country. The movement has been able to address all these issues and many others that are not politics oriented.
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