Ian Marsh argues that the 2010 election shows that the Australian two-party system is “past its used- by date”. Do you agree? Why/why not?
Today for most Australian’s the potential of what a vote can represent is lost in political apathy and some could argue that this directly relates to how the leaders of the two main political parties continually compete for the populist vote. This environment is dominated by the media portrayal of our political parties and as a result of this, policies for the long term interests of the country have become secondary to short term wins (Marsh, 2010).
In his article Marsh (2010) suggests that the Australian political system could benefit from new infrastructure by replacing senate with committees of the legislature rather than the executive which could result in increased flexibility within party structure (Marsh, 2010). This in turn could also improve representational democracy. However, the introduction of a legislature committee is also a potential risk of being another political implement to waste time and resources as the members of these committees would ultimately be tied to party lines, resulting in division within the committee structure.
The Australian political structure does have the potential for change. As loyalist numbers for the two main parties are shrinking (Scott, 2009) and political ideologies are becoming blurred. Fringe parties are slowly emerging giving people an alternative choice which is suggesting that perhaps voters are looking for options outside the dominance of the main two parties (Walsh, 1998). Nevertheless the
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challenge today remains attacking the dominance of the two party system (Marsh, 2010).
The rise of fringe parties and the increasing popularity of both interest groups and social movements who focus mainly on current issues within the Australian political arena is evidence that our two-party system is becoming outdated (Scott, 2009)....
Bibliography: Bennett, C 2012, ‘Abbott backs national disability scheme’, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 1 April 2013, < http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/abbottbacks-national-disability-scheme-20120430-1xumn.html> Marsh, I 2010, ‘Australia’s two-party system has past its use by date’, ON LINE opinion – Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate, pp. 1-4, 22 March 2013, McAlister, I 2010, ‘Candidates and Campaigning in Australia’s Preferential Voting System’, paper prepared for American Political Science Association meetings 2-5 September 2010, Washington DC, panel 34-1, ‘Personalized Politics in Comparative Perspective: How Personalized Are Constituency Campaign, And Does It Matter? (sic)’ pp. 1-5, viewed 2 April 2013 Miragliotta N, Errington W & Barry N, ‘The Australian Party System’ in N Miragliotta, W Errington & N Barry (eds), The Australian Political System in action, Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand, South Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 187-212. Scott, A 2009, Politics, Parties and Issues in Australia, Pearson, Melbourne, pp. 126141. Walsh, K 1998, ‘Politics Other Voices’, Bulletin with Newsweek, vol. 117, no. 6133, pp. 20-23.
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