How Did They Do It? Explaining Queensland Labor’s Second Electoral Hegemony
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Australia's entrenched liberal democratic traditions of a free media, fair and frequent elections and robust public debate might encourage outside observers to assume Australia is subject to frequent changes in government. The reality is very different: Australian politics have instead been 'largely unchanged' since the beginning of our bipolar party system in 1910 (Aitkin 1977, p. 1), with Australians re-electing incumbents on numerous occasions for decades on end. The obvious federal example is the 23-year dominance of the Liberal-Country Party Coalition, first elected in 1949 and re-endorsed at the following eight House of Representatives elections. Even more protracted electoral hegemonies have been found at state level, including Labor's control of Tasmania (1934-82, except for 1969-72) and New South Wales (1941-65), and the Liberals' hold on Victoria (1952-82) and South Australia (1938-65, most unusually under one Premier, Thomas Playford). It is therefore not a question of whether parties can enjoy excessively long hegemonies in Australia; it is instead one of how they achieve it.
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Australian Government and Politics