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Structure and ideology in the Tasmanian Labor Party: Postmaterialism and party change


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Patmore, PJ 2000 , 'Structure and ideology in the Tasmanian Labor Party: Postmaterialism and party change', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The Tasmanian Labor Party has found itself, like many western social democratic
parties, recently subject to challenge; not from its traditional enemy, the economic
right, but from a new postmaterialist left. This thesis considers the concept of
postmaterialism, its rise and role in the formation of new ecocentric political parties,
and its impact on the structure, ideology and electoral strategy of the Tasmanian
Labor Party.
Maurice Duverger's typology of political parties has been used to elucidate and
consider the characteristics and formation of political parties and the importance of
electoral systems - particularly proportional representation - in achieving
representational success. This typology, coupled with Ronald Inglehart's concept of
postmaterialism shows how a conflict of values and a new ecocentric ideology has
given rise to new environmental movements and green political parties.
This thesis finds that, in a Tasmanian context, both the Labor Party's history and the
impact of Tasmania's peculiar electoral system contributed to the emergence of
environmental parties in Tasmania. Further, it finds that the strength of their
emergence and the significance of post materialism's ecocentric ideology
necessitated a serious response from Tasmanian Labor. National and Labor Party
surveys, confirmed the existence and persistence of postmaterialism - both in the
broader Tasmanian community and the Tasmanian ALP.
As a result of this research, it is argued that some options in meeting the
postmaterialist challenge could not be utilised by the Tasmanian Labor Party. Major
structural reform would not be effective and ideological renewal would have only
limited effect. Thus, the Party has pursued a strategy of retaining party unity while
attempting to attract sufficient postmaterialist support to gain majority government.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Patmore, PJ
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