Is Australian politics becoming more like American politics? If so, why?
Australian politics seemed to become more obviously aligned with American politics during the 2007 Federal election campaign. Kevin’07 had all the hallmarks of an Americanised election movement: “…the uninitiated could be forgiven for mistaking Labor leader Kevin Rudd’s run for the prime ministership with a tilt at the US presidency” (Doherty 2007).
Despite this blatant exhibition by Rudd and the ALP in the 2007 election, I believe Australia still retains its own brand of politics. Australia can be distinguished from America by its history, its parliament and the retention of the Westminster system.
However, as Altman asserted, because John Howard’s Prime Ministership linked Australia “…more closely to the US politically, militarily, economically, ideologically and culturally” (2006, p. 3), we could currently argue that our style of politics is more Americanised as a result. Even though traces of our English origins are still evident in our political system, our approach to politics could be classified as Americanised in that our governments since the 1980s have “…espous[ed] …neo-liberal economic management…” (2006, p. 10). To offer a couple of examples, Australia has since seen the privatisation of many government agencies and is currently facing the possibility of deregulation for university fees by the federal government.
As an Australian in the current political climate, I don’t think we’ve been fully Americanised, but question whether the changes in our society and attitudes are so subtle and subliminal over time that we won’t notice that such a transition has taken place when it does occur.
ALTMAN, D. 2006. Introduction. 51st state? Carlton North, Vic.: Scribe Short Books.
DOHERTY, B. 2007. Rudd ups the ante in the cyberspace war. The Age [Online]. Available: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/its-the-internet-stupid/2007/08/07/1186252707825.htmlDorfman,%20A.,%20&%20Mattelart, [Accessed 23 August 2015].