The People's Choice: Electoral Politics in Twentieth Century New South Wales, Volumes 1-3
Michael Hogan, David Clune
Parliament of New South Wales, 2001 - Elections - 446 pages
Published by the Parliament of NSW and the University of Sydney Australia became a nation politically through the willingness of the existing colonies and their citizens to join together, ceding some of their powers in order to construct something better than the sum of those older political units. Yet the colonies did not disappear; they became autonomous States in the new Commonwealth of Australia. Consequently, to understand the political history of Australia it is not enough to know what happened in federal politics. Each State has had its own significant political history, often influencing developments in other States and at the centre. This work is a political chronicle of the most populous State, New South Wales, during the century since Federation, using the regular State elections as focal points. It fills in some of the important detail necessary to understand how modern Australia has become such a successful democratic nation. Volume One - 1901 to 1927This first volume traces the story of NSW through the first years after Federation, when Australia was slowly recovering from the economic depression of the 1890s and adjusting to the new political realities of Federation. It was a period when the political party system was developing a shape still recognisable a hundred years later. With the outbreak of the Great War, Australia and NSW had to face a new set of challenges that placed great strains on the political and social fabric of society. Divisions opened up along lines of ethnicity, class, religion and national identity. During the war the Labor Party split disastrously over the issue of compulsory military service. Even after that, NSW, like most of Australia, remained deeply divided. The politics of the Lang era reflected and added to those divisions, with the arrival of a further crisis in the shape of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Volume Two - 1930 to 1965This Second Volume relates how NSW and Australia faced the near collapse of the economic system in the Great Depression of the 1930s, followed by the catastrophe of the Second World War. In other parts of the world these events brought empires and nations to disintegration, but moderate and sensible political leadership prevailed in NSW and helped society to emerge from those crises stronger than before. After the war, economic and political management was much easier, due partly to the long economic boom of the 1950s and into the 1960s. The NSW political system experienced an unaccustomed era of stability, with the hegemony of Labor governments from 1941 to 1965, although by the end of the 1960s signs were emerging of challenges to the long accepted orthodoxies of the postwar period. Volume Three - 1968 to 1999This Third Volume surveys the transformation of NSW politics and society in the last third of the twentieth century due to technological changes, especially in world communications, and the rise of new political issues such as the environment and the women's movement. Television, of course, changed the nature of political campaigning, as did a thriving culture of public opinion polls, concentration on leadership 'image' at the expense of policy, and a new industry devoted to the manipulation of the media. More importantly, however, the nature of government economic management changed in response to worldwide pressures for conformity to a new model of smaller government, variously described by such terms as 'economic rationalism', 'managerialism' or 'market-orientation'. By the end of the century, however, there were some signs that this orthodoxy itself was being questioned. Click here for: Volume Four - 1856 to 1898
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