Investigation Power at the Centre of Government: Surveying research on the Australian Executive.
Political science is, we are led to believe, the study of power. Cabinet and the executive appear to be the epitome of national authority, but not of analysis. In Australia by contrast it seems that the study of power has not focussed on federal power, or at least power at the centre of national government. If the remit is to explore that centre - the prime minister, cabinet, ministers, the senior officials and the departments that coordinate the activities of government - then over the last few decades, the cupboard is somewhat bare. It is not that nothing has been written; rather it is that little has been done by the academic community and especially by political science profession in an area that at first sight should have been of direct interest to them. My concern here is not whether the history of the period has been told, but whether there has been an analysis of the forms, institutions and conventions through and by which political power is exercised at the centre of government. That may be a narrow definition, but related topics such as: departments, federalism and public management are being covered by others in this assessment of current research.
Australian Journal of Public Administration
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