Public opinion and policy responsiveness in Australia

The case of same-sex marriage   Last week I presented a paper at the US Political Science Association annual meeting in Philadelphia with some colleagues. In it, we look at the congruence between public opinion and the positions of parliamentarians on same-sex marriage. Our findings indicate that parliamentarians are generally representative of their constituents, giving some …

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Some initial thoughts on the election

Since the Australian federal election, held last Saturday, I've had a few thoughts. These are only half-formed, so bear with me. First, Coalition leader (and current prime minister) Malcolm Turnbull is getting a lot of heat for the relatively poor performance of the Liberal Party (and its various state-based permutations). Some of this is reasonable. The double …

Brexit

Over the weekend I was asked by the Election Watch team at the University of Melbourne to comment on the polling conducted for the Brexit referendum. The article that came out of this can be found somewhere on their blog, I'm sure. Here are the comments I provided in full (questions are bolded): 1. What do the …

Are there political differences between Sydney and Melbourne?

  Even a casual observer of Australian politics will likely know that the Coalition tends to do better in some areas, and Labor in others. However, some important patterns are missed, either because geographic variation is often examined at the electorate level (sometimes obscuring important variation within divisions, which can be relatively large sptial areas) or because the mapping …

Did Malcolm Fraser briefly shift the divisions of Australian politics?

Today we lost Malcolm Fraser, Australia's fourth longest serving prime minister (1975-83) and a man truly dedicated to public service. He may have also (briefly) changed the divisions of Australian politics in ways consistent with his later socially progressive activities. Much has been written about his time in office, as well as his contribution to public life since he …

Albrechtsen misses part of the story on the difficulties of reform

In a recent article in the Australian ($),*  columnist Janet Albrechtsen claims the primary reason the current federal government is having trouble getting it's economic reforms through Parliament is that people are not willing to make the needed sacrifices required to balance the budget and make government spending sustainable. Although I don't disagree with everything in her article, I …