Australian Politics in Global Context
Welcome to POL 101, Australian Politics in Global Context. Australian politics has undergone rapid change over the past three decades. The relative stability of the post-war era has given way to a political and social landscape of accelerated transformation. Previously taken-for- granted values are challenged, once stable institutions are destabilised, and the very idea of an Australian political community (what it is, who it encompasses, and the future directions it should take) is the subject of fierce controversy. These political tremors have been expressed most acutely in the rise of and subsequent challenges to multiculturalism, and in the neo-liberal restructuring of key Australian institutions, with an attendant growth of inequality.
In this course, we introduce Australian politics through the lens of debates about globalization and its consequences for state capacities, sovereignty and decision-making. In so doing, we examine key political institutions, ideologies and contemporary issues. We explore the ways in which they been affected by, and have also filtered the effects of, accelerated globalization. Among other questions, we ask: what is globalization and how, if at all, has it blurred the boundaries between ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ policy issues; what is the nature of Australia’s key political institutions, and do they ensure a high degree of democratic participation and accountability in a global era; what are the strengths and weaknesses of the main political ideas that inform public debate in this country, and how are they expressed in political struggle between the main parties?
In trying to answer these questions, we will provide a number of weekly readings that will be available on ilearn. To get the best out of this unit it is essential that students read, think carefully about what they are reading, and come to tutorials prepared to discuss the readings.
The main readings will be from the textbook by Kefford, G. et. al., (2018) Australian Politics in the Twenty-First Century: Old Institutions, New Challenges (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). It is only available in hard copy. Students should order the book immediately so that they can start reading as soon as possible.