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Beyond the Two Party System: Political Representation, Economic Competitiveness and Australian Politics

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The demands placed on western governments have increased exponentially over the years, but the fundamental structure of most of these governments - the two party system - has not. Governments are not only required to be competitive in the global economy, but the societies they represent have changed, becoming culturally and ethnically diverse. Ian Marsh's challenging book suggests that the two party regime cannot accommodate these changing needs. It outlines the ways in which politics might change to meet these new demands and achieve genuine participatory democracy. The book explores the nature of citizenship from a historical perspective, proposing a definition of citizenship for the future. Ian Marsh argues that political learning will be central to the development of this new citizen, so that they, and not only the leadership elite, have genuine political input.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. The Two Party Regime: 1. The formation, structure and impact of the two party regime; Part II. The Challenge of Governance: 2. A pluralised polity? The rise of interest groups and issue movements; 3. Setting and implementing the political agenda - political parties, interest groups and issue movements; 4. Political parties, representation and the electorate; Part III. The Challenge of Competitiveness: 5. Australia and the world economy; 6. Competitiveness; 7. The tasks of government; Part IV. Competitiveness and the Structure of Politics: 8. Competitiveness and consent; 9. Parliament and policy making; 10. Governments and Parliament; 11. Parliamentary committees and interest groups: a case study of income norms; Part V. Beyond the Two Party Regime?: 12. Political learning, participation and citizenship.

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