Open Access Repository

Australian voter, parties and the federal system of government : a study of party preference, perceptions of political parties and the salience of national and state governments in Denison, Tasmania

Austen, B. E.(Brian Edward) 1979 , 'Australian voter, parties and the federal system of government : a study of party preference, perceptions of political parties and the salience of national and state governments in Denison, Tasmania', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

PDF (Whole thesis)
whole_AustenBri...pdf | Download (11MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.

| Preview


Australia has both a federal system and parliamentary
government. One result of this combination is that at any point
in time an election is likely to be a focus of attention, particularly
by party activists, somewhere within the system. More
importantly, the same major political parties are the main
contenders for control of both state and national governments.
Thus irrespective of the particular electoral arena, the voter is
confronted with a partisan choice comprising essentially the same
A sample survey of the Tasmanian electorate of Denison
was undertaken to examine the way voters perceive this political
environment. The data generated by the responses to questions on
the parties, party preference, party competition, the structuring
of the political system and of respondents' perceptions of their
self-identity within a system which encourages both national and
state loyalties are presented and analysed.
A federal system provides the opportunity for voters to
maintain attachments to different parties simultaneously. Party
identification and reported voting behaviour are used as measures
of party preference to indicate the extent to which voters maintain
the same partisan attachment across both spheres of the system.
The patterns of party attachments which emerge lead to an
analysis of perceptions about party competition at each sphere and
to a comparison across spheres of party images. The images and
response patterns provide evidence indicating the extent to which the party system is perceived monolithically. Patterns of perceptions about party competition in the federal context are
revealed and differences relating to socio-economic variables
and partisanship are indicated.
Party competition occurs in the context of constitutionally
and politically defined spheres of governmental jurisdiction. Perceptions
about the structuring of the system in terms of the relative
importance of state and national governments are used to indicate
the salience of each sphere. Three orientations are evident, and
are examined in relation to socio-economic variables and partisanship.
Each respondent's orientation to the system is crosstabulated
to his political identity. The resultant patterns indicate a mix
of orientation and identity ranging from fully national to fully state.
Orientations toward the system are also used as independent
variables in a further examination of perceptions of party competition.
Perceptions of party competition in relation to each sphere
are examined and compared for each orientation. In addition
important partisan differences are revealed and some comments are
offered about the consequences of these differences in relation to
Tasmanian state elections.
The response patterns which emerge from the analysis of the
survey data indicate perceptions about the parties and the political
system which challenge the appropriateness of assumptions and
assertions prevalent in the literature. The mix of perceptions that are revealed suggest a need for further research on citizens perceptions, and in particular different models of the system
should be utilized to fully explore the consequences of these perceptions on the functioning of the federal system.

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Austen, B. E.(Brian Edward)
Keywords: Denison (Tas. : Electoral subdivision), Federal government, Political parties, Political participation
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1979 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1981. Bibliography: l. [237]-242

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page