In many elections these days, it’s not uncommon for more than a third of voters to cast their votes before election day. But there’s a trade-off for this increased convenience: political parties and candidate struggle to get their message out. I was a co-researcher in a big study of early voting in Australia, published in late 2018 by the Electoral Regulations Research Network. Since then, with my colleague Martin Drum, we’ve published two updates of our findings in The Conversation. We argue that a three week period of pre-polling had serious implications for the conduct of democratic elections.
Just to get away from election campaigns for a minute (but definitely sticking with thems of democratic governance), I finally decided that the British Museum should hand back its ill-gotten Parthenon marbles. It is unlikely, but it should take place as part of a wider reckoning of imperial plunder held in Western museums – including in Australian. My review of the book by celebrity barrister Geoffrey Robertson appeared in Inside Story.
“It seems clear that the 'professional' tag refers not to the political skills and popularity of the leaders, or to the relative efficacy of the parties’ policies or ideologies, but to the capabilities of the rival parties’ organisations, particularly in the context of elections. ‘Professional’ describes, with positive and negative connotations, both the Liberal Party and the ALP, in government and in opposition. But what is a professional party organisation? And who within in might be characterised as a professional? How and why has that organisation, or the individuals within it, become professional? And what impact does this professionalisation process have on the parties’ campaign activities, their structures and their overall role in the political system?”
This is an excerpt from ‘Parties and Campaigns’, chapter 10 of Contemporary Australian Political Party Organisations, edited by Narelle Miragliotta, Anika Gauja and Rodney Smith. To be published by Monash University Press later in 2015 ...