Election studies have become more not less important. The 2001 election was considered a watershed election because of the salience of foreign policy agendas and the role of the American alliance in particular.
This Workshop will be the latest in a series of post-election workshops and books that the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia has supported. Previous workshops have resulted in a series of publications which have been well received by the academic and general communities:
- The Politics of Retribution: the 1996 Federal Election (Allen and Unwin, 1997)
- Howard’s Agenda: the 1998 Australian Election (University of Queensland Press, 2000)
- 2001: The Centenary Election (University of Queensland Press 2002)
- Mortgage Nation: the 2004 Australian Election (Australian Public Intellectuals Network, 2005).
The purpose of these Workshops has been to bring together a team of around 22 to 25 experts, comprising academics and practitioners, to present and debate their points of view about the national election. These events present an ongoing opportunity for the provision of useful synergies between town and gown; particularly, they facilitate practitioners providing important data, e.g., their own quantitative and qualitative survey research, and receiving feedback from academics about the relevance of party research in terms of intellectual agendas. Equally academics benefit from learning about the internal decision-making processes of election campaigning, and from accessing some of the internal party research findings, which provide useful insights that is often beyond the scope of more cash-strapped academic research. Normally workshops have been held 6-8 weeks after the national election when memories are still fresh and some data are available from empirical surveys.
Election studies have become more not less important. The 2001 election was considered a watershed election because of the salience of foreign policy agendas and the role of the American alliance in particular. In 2001 the media had a crucial role in pressing the significance of terrorism, and other threats to Australia, including those potentially posed by asylum seekers. The 2007 election is shaping up to be even more significant given the likelihood not just of a change of government, but of a consequential foreign policy agenda shift. Bearing in mind the lessons from 2001, the convener and her Advisory Group have decided to expand the discussion of the media by including new papers/chapters on the role of television, including the Leaders’ debates. Authors of papers on political leadership and political culture have been specifically asked to include talk back radio, which is likely to prove pivotal in rural campaigning in remote states such as Queensland.