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Department
Politics
Course
POLS1101
Professor
Dr.Rae Wear
Semester
Spring

Description
POLS1101 NOTES – SLIDES. Weeks 7  12 (Public Service to Media and Politics) Study Guide introduction to topic paragraphs included 7. The Australian Public Service From Study Guide: ‗The APS comprises departments (such as Defence) which execute government policy under the supervision of ministers. Governments—new and old—can rearrange these as they choose. Westminster theory holds that public servants should be able to serve which ever government voters elect. But ‗managerial‘ reforms made to the APS since the 1980s have eroded their independence and ability to give ‗frank and fearless‘ advice. Ministers now have a direct hand in appointing senior public servants. Department secretaries and specialist advisers can be influential political actors, and departments can act as quasi-pressure groups defending their own interests or those of their ‗clients‘. This topic examines how the APS is structured; the coordination of policy within it; the accountability of public servants, the apparent politicisation of the APS in recent decades and the transfer of public service activities to the private sector.‘ Slides  The P.S is part of the executive branch of gov‘t, which includes other gov‘t agencies such as the police and military  These organisations ―execute‖ or put laws into effect  What‘s the gov‘t going to do about it? – According to many writers about Aus, Australians traditionally relied a great deal upon gov‘t.  Why did dependence on gov‘t grow? – Because of Aus‘s convict origins, public officials played an important role in developing the nation  A small population and big distances meant that the gov‘t was expected to provide many services.  In Aus, the gov‘t provided basic works and services  In many other countries, such as the USA, these were provided by private enterprise  Public service expansion: WW2, Keynesian economics, Desire to improve social services, Post-war reconstruction, Public sector employment doubled from the end of WW2 until 1970  The fact that there are three levels of gov‘t in Aus contributed to the growth of the public sector  The public sector - All parts of the economy which are owned, and/or directly controlled by government. Thus the term extends over all three levels of government, and to all gov‘t controlled statutory corporations and non-statutory bodies. 1  It generally excludes organisations merely subsidized by gov‘ts or those over which the gov‘t has only limited control.  There are a diverse array of statutory agencies which operate at arms length from the gov‘t of the day, ranging from the ABC broadcaster to the RBA. Some are gov‘t owned commercial bodies. Agencies are typically established by individual Acts of parliament, report to parliament and are governed by boards appointed by the Commonwealth gov‘t.  In Australia the Public Sector accounts for 35% of all spending  Technically, the public service comprises only those gov‘t employees whose conditions of appointment and service are governed by the relevant Commonwealth or state Public Service Acts.  Bureaucracy – Sometimes we refer to the public service as a bureaucracy, which is often associated with inefficiency and red tape – or more recently, with ‗green tape‘. Yet bureaucracy sprang from a desire to professionalise the public service.  Characteristics of a Westminster-style Public Service: o Competitive/open entry o Based on expertise o Promotion on merit o Neutral o Career service o ―Frank and Fearless‖  From public administration to New Public Management: o Managerialist reforms were designed to make the public service more responsive, competitive, efficient, and effective. o They represent a move away from the traditional hierarchical structure of the Public Service. o They introduce private sector practices into the public sector o The public service has been transformed from delivering services to overseeing and coordinating their delivery o Hawke government reforms: Designed to improve the responsiveness of the Public Service, these included: Flatter structures, creation of Senior Executive Service, shift from focus on process to outputs o Overview of managerial reforms: Marketisation-outsourcing, corporate management, political control, regulation, privatization o Marketisation: The use of market mechanisms such as contracting out to deliver public services on the assumption that greater competition will improve choice and efficiency. o Outsourcing: Refers to any arrangement whereby an APS agency has a function or service which was previously undertaken in-house performed by a private sector provider‘. 2 o Corporate management: This involves the introduction of private sector management practices to the public sector, it includes an emphasis on results, measuring performance and outputs, there is an increased focus on the client or customer o Political control: Increased ministerial control over policy, increased control over employment of departmental secretaries, moving away from the ―Yes Minister‖ scenario  Govt‘s increasingly obtain advice from ministerial advisors  They are accused of insisting ‗on what the minister wants as opposed to the public interest or the integrity of the policy process.‘ o Starting in the mid 80s, successive gov‘ts have ‗reformed‘ the public service, seeking both to ensure that senior public servants are responsive and supportive of their ministerial masters – and to improve public service efficiency. This is the basis for an argument that the public service has been politicized. o Regulation: Focus on outputs and outcomes, control exercised by agreement on outputs rather than through ownership, for example; telecommunications is extensively regulated o Privatisation: Selling public assets to private sector o Reasons for change: Financial reasons – need to balance budget, Ideology – neo- liberalism, Specialization – expertise outside the Public Service  Senior public servants no longer have tenure. Nor are they employed by an independent Public Service Board at arm‘s length from the gov‘t of the day.  Instead departmental secretaries are appointed on short-term contract. These contracts often provide for the payment of a bonus if secretaries achieve specified performance targets.  Ministers are directly involved in the appointment of secretaries – and in determining whether they achieve performance targets.  In turn secretaries now have the right of managers to hire and fire staff in their departments. o The public sector is shrinking incredibly, with the public service being the same size as 20yrs ago o Reasons for decline: Employment levels in the public sector in Aus have been falling for a number of yrs in response to Federal and State gov‘t policies to: Achieve efficiencies by streamlining service delivery, Privatise and corporatize particular gov‘t agencies, contract out services, and restrict those agencies that remained to performing a narrower base of core activities. o Public Service accountability: Public Service, Minister, Parliament, People o Parliamentary controls: Parliament, Parliamentary committees, cabinet, Aus National Audit Office 3 o Parliament: Free speech in privileged forum, debates, question time, media attention, all allow scrutiny of the gov‘t, but gov‘t majority in lower house is a limiting factor. o Cabinet provides the link between political parties and gov‘t, Ministers are responsible for actions of public servants, Ministers determine policy, The Cabinet as a whole scrutinizes and co-ordinates policy o Administrative Law: Admin decisions, Admin appeals tribunal, Ombudsman, Freedom of Info legislation o Admin decisions (Judicial Review Act): This Act allows the Federal Court to review judicial decisions. It does not review the merits of a decision but rather examines the processes to ensure that they were fair. o Administrative Appeals Tribunal: Provides independent review of a wide range of admin decisions made by the Aus gov‘t and some non-gov‘t bodies. o Commonwealth Ombudsman: Has the power to investigate the administrative actions and decisions of Aus gov‘t agencies to see if they are wrong, unjust, unlawful or discriminatory. o The Ombudsman is independent and impartial, and works to improve public administration generally. o Ombudsman‘s services are free o Freedom of Info: The object of the Commonwealth Freedom of Info Act is to extend, as far as possible, the Aus community‘s right of access to info in the possession of the Commonwealth. o Other accountability mechanisms: Media, Rules and procedures, Professional ethics, Organisational values, Public Service Act 1999: ―PS should provide ―frank, honest, comprehensive and timely advice.‖ o Accountability and New Public Management: Supporters say it has accountability benefits because it has: Strengthened the position of ministers, Makes managers more accountable, Judges them on results o Critics claim New Public Management makes it difficult to find who is responsible, It confuses the Westminster chain of accountability by undercutting traditional lines of accountability, It makes it easy for buck-passing to occur, It has politicised the PS and reduced the amount of ‗frank and fearless‘ advice. o Too technocratic? A large part of the public sector has become technocratic – very focused on contract management and administrative process, Staff have lost skill in providing policy advice. 4 8. The Party System, Minor Parties and Independents Study Guide: ‗Political parties shape Australian politics and institutionalise political conflict. In competition with one another, they frame policy, provide political leaders, mobilise support for policies and lend predictability to parliamentary decision-making. Outwardly Australia appears to have a multiparty system. Numerous parties are registered with the AEC. Minor parties such as the Greens hold seats in the Senate. But for many decades two major parties have dominated. Australia has a bipolar (or ‗two party-like‘) party system. As a result its politics are a ‗zero sum‘ game: a loss for the Liberals is a gain for the ALP. The resilience of the major parties belies their declining membership. Neither any longer has a mass membership nor a clear ideological purpose. Both have evolved into ‗electoral-professional‘ organisations. For this topic you will need to understand why Australia‘s bipolar system persists, and how, over the past century, parties have evolved through cadre, mass, catch-all and electoral- professional stages.‘  Membership: Less than 1% of eligible Australians are party members: at one time this figure was 15%  Party system: The pattern of interaction between parties themselves, and their interactions with the electorate, electoral system and the wider political environment (Ward & Stewart).  What is a political party?:  A party is any political group that presents at elections, and is capable of placing through elections, candidates for public office  A political party is…an organised group of people, the members of which subscribe to a common set of values and programmes, explicit or implicit, which has as its major purpose the attainment of political power through winning office at elections.  Not all parties operate in a democratic framework. It is difficult to frame a definition that covers every circumstance…but all modern political systems seem to require at least one party.  Parties in a democracy: provide the bridge to connect the groupings of society with the institutions of the state  Why are minor parties significant?  Balance of power (with the exception of 04-07 minor parties and independents have held the balance of power since the 1980s)  Preferential voting: Impact on policy and election outcomes (At the ‘10 election 64% seats decided after allocation of preferences) st  Representation of diverse views – independents won approx. 22% of 1 preference vote for the HOR in ‘10 compared with 4% in 1949 5  What do parties do?  Unite wide variety of interests under a common program  Mobilise voters  Socialise voters  Inform and educate voters about the political process  Shape the struggle for power and form governments  Routinise conflict  Identify and train leaders  Contribute to policy  Represent voters  Criticise gov‘ts  We can understand what contributes to the success of a political party using V.O. Key‘s model  Party organization: secretariat, branches, members  Party in the parliament: ministers, MPs, staff  Party in the electorate: voters, supporters  The importance of parties: Modern democracy is party democracy. Representative gov‘t is party gov‘t. Elections are essentially party contests. Legislatures are party chambers. Politics is party politics. Political parties are central to all levels of political activity, debate and decision-making  Before the development of parties, governments tended to be short lived.  The evolution of political parties:  Cadre (elite) parties:  Formed within parliament as alliances based on personality, faction or necessity  Ideology not articulated  Financed by personal wealth and private donors  Essentially middle class  Examples: First Liberal Party; Nationalists; United Australia Party  Mass parties:  Based on mass mobilization outside parliament  Initially formed on the left to take advantage of universal suffrage and the payment of MPs  Funding from members or associated groups such as unions  Membership dominates parliamentary party  Strongly ideological  Examples: ALP; Country Party; Liberal Party (1944-60s) 6  Catch-all parties:  Developed with breakdown in class cleavages and development of welfare state  Reduction in ideology, emphasis on pragmatism and governing for all  Emphasis on general appeal  Strengthening of leadership  Dominance of parliamentary party  Focus on winning power  ALP, Liberals from the 197s  Electoral Professional Parties:  Appeal to middle ground  Parliamentary leaders pre-eminent  Funding from business and interest groups and public election funding  Reliance on television campaigns, opinion polling, tech, careerist advice  Examples: contemporary ALP and Liberals  Cartel parties:  Major parties consolidate their position through the use of state resources- election funding  Other uses of state resources such as printing and postal allowances  The majors keep more radical minor parties out  Little participation by grass roots members  Politics seen as a profession rather than a means to reform o Power or passion? Values inherent in the ―new class‖ of Labor politicians o Some argue that little distinguishes the two major parties now that the ideological divide between them has largely evaporated. Parties usually choose only a couple of issues on which to disagree at election time o Focus on personalized leadership o Funding: Business and Interest groups – In Aus, parties depend on wealthy donors for advertising. Dependence on large donors pays for the negative advertising that serves to bring the whole of democratic politics into disrepute. o Public Funding:  Registered political parties are entitled to election funding where their endorsed candidate or Senate group receives at least 4% of the formal first preference votes.  Independent candidates and Senate groups are also entitled to election funding if they receive 4% of the vote.  Declining party membership 7 o Party system:  Each party will often adopt a policy stance which has as much to do with the position taken by its opponents as with the outcome of internal party deliberative processes  Parties interact with one another as parts of a party system – The defining feature of a system is that its constituent parts have, via interaction with each other, functions which in isolation they do not.  Australia‘s Party System: Two party, two and a half party, bi-polar? ―A trio in form, a duet in function‖  Party systems can be broadly categorized as being of two kinds: those with two parties and those with more than two. This seemingly innocent, almost trivial distinction has fundamental implications for the style of politics. A two party system implies a zero sum game where the losses for one party will always be gains for the other.  What sustains Australia‘s Party System:  The electoral system  Historical legacy of class and sectarian politics  Westminster juxtaposition of Gov‘t and Opposition  Pattern of news media coverage  Public election funding  Parliamentary resources that come with success  Role of sectional groups o Minor Parties  Doctrinal parties  Parties driven by a particular dogma or doctrine such as various communist, fascist and Christian parties  Issue parties  Parties which emerge in response to particular issues. As the issue fades so does the party  Secessionist or fragment parties  Parties which split from major parties over beliefs or issues  Protest parties  Parties based on a reaction to social, economic or even religious trends and events  Combinations e.g. Katter‘s Aus Party, Palmer United Party  Obstacles to minor party success:  Electoral system  Westminster: gov‘t and opposition  Entrenched voting patterns 8  Difficulty of building new party organisations and attracting good candidates  Cartel actions by major parties  Money  Lack of media coverage  Absence of parliamentary platform o The Australian Greens:  State branches followed by national organization in 1992  Leader Bob Brown o Independents:  There were 4 independents elected to the later HOR  Independents tend to be elected in rural and regional seats  In the past decade independents have held the balance of power in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, Tasmania and the ACT, as well as in the Senate 9. The Major Parties Study Guide: ‗Nationally and at the state level the ALP ‗brand‘ is seemingly waning. But the party has an entrenched place in Australian political history. Labour unions formed the ALP in the 1890s with the aim of electing workers to colonial parliaments. They established rules and an organisation designed to ensure that parliamentarians remained loyal. Even today ALP candidates sign a pledge to support party policy and abide by the decisions of caucus. Policy is formally determined by a National Conference which represents the wider party, although in practice Labor leaders now have the power to decide ALP policy. Labor is a labour party because some—not all—trade unions are affiliated with it. In part because it has unions within it, the ALP has developed highly organised internal factions. In the past factionalism has caused the ALP to fracture—most notably in the mid-1950s when the Democratic Labour Party split away. At its highpoint in the late 1930s one-in-every-ten ALP voters joined its local (sub) branches. Nowadays it has a membership so small that it is vulnerable to branch stacking. Like the Liberals it is now a form of electoral-professional party.‘ ‗In 2007 the Liberal Party found itself out of office at the federal level and in each state and territory for the first time since its formation. Since then it has reclaimed government in several key states and re-established its electoral prospects federally. It has a long history of electoral success. Sir Robert Menzies founded the party in 1944 to replace the United Australia Party (which had disintegrated several years before) and led it into power in 1949. 9 Menzies aimed to provide a political voice for the ‗forgotten middle class‘. Championing a mix of pro-business, free enterprise liberalism and social conservatism, the Liberal Party proved remarkably successful and resilient. In coalition with the Nationals (formerly the Country Party) it governed from 1949 to 1972, from 1975 to 1983, and from 1996 until 2007. However Liberal membership has fallen substantially away, (which encourages factionalism and branch stacking) as it has evolved into an electoral-professional party. The junior partner in federal coalition governments is the National (formerly the Country) Party. In the past, the Party exercised power that was disproportionate to its numerical representation. More recently, however, its traditional support base has been eroded and questions have been asked about its future. In Queensland, the Liberals and Nationals have amalgamated to form the LNP.‘ o Labor as mass party  State and national conferences determined party platform  Parliamentarians were delegates of the wider labour movement  All Labor MPs sign a pledge to adhere to the party platform and decisions of caucus. o The Rudd Prime Ministership  Rudd campaigned as an economic conservative  The GFC prompted a return to a ‗typical‘ big spending Labor gov‘t  Rudd‘s retreat from action on CC which he claimed to be the greatest moral challenge of our generation, the mining super profits tax, lack of connection with the ALP o The Gillard Prime Ministership  Minority gov‘t  Faced issues of legitimacy and gender  Her gov‘t faced accusations of being ‗spin‘ and poll driven and of having no beliefs o ALP claims to be ‗a modern social democratic party which has made Australia better off, fairer and more sustainable.‘ o Remains a member of Socialist International o In practice, there has been a retreat from socialism o Transition to a ‗catch-all party‘: For the Labor Party, as a mass party, the consequences of a change to a catch-all mode are greater and potentially more divisive…an appeal to all interests is incompatible with an emphasis on, or representation of, only one. Finally a left- oriented party will have to recognise the mixed economy and the existence of the private sector‘ (Jaensch) 10 o Electoral-professional‘ party:  Labor can now be classified as E-P party  This means it relies more on paid professionals than party members, has a focus on leadership and downplays ideology. o The ALP organization:  Federal structure  Local branches  Trade unions affiliated at state level  National Conference is the party‘s decision making body  National Executive: leader of the parliamentary party and delegates elected by National Conference o Labor ideology today:  Maintains that it is a social democratic party  Labor under Hawke and Keating adopted neo-liberal economic policies  Labor has embraced multi-culturalism and rejected White Aus  No longer advocates socialization of industry but supports a market economy with some gov‘t intervention  Modest support for post materialist concerns such as indigenous rights, feminism, the environment o Factions:  Factions are formal groups within the Labor Party which are organised to win and retain power over decision making within the party.  Some argue the factional system prevents the par
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