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Week 3
 

Week 3

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    Week 3 Week 3 Presentation Transcript

    • Government-Business Relations 1004PPP Week 3: Democracy at Work
    • Lecture Outline
      • What is democracy?
      • How parliamentary liberal democracies work:
        • Parliaments
        • Executives
        • Government in Australia
      • Democracy and the media
    • Democracy – what is it?
      • YouTube - The coming of democracy to ancient Athens
      • Etymology: demos (people); kratos (rule)
      • But what is rule by the people?:
        • Who are the people?
        • How should they rule?
        • How extensive should their rule be?
      • Compare & contrast ancient and modern:
        • Direct vs. Representative democracy
        • Popular vs. Liberal democracy
    • Functions of Parliaments
      • YouTube - Best Taiwanese Parliament Fights Of All Time!
      • Representation; understood in two different ways:
        • As a mirror or ‘microcosm’ of society (see identity politics)
        • Deliberative – representing the interests of ‘the nation’ as a whole; representatives as ‘trustees’
      • Legislation
        • Traditional role in constitutional theory
        • However, today most legislatures do not legislate much
        • Most legislation originates in the executive and is only processed in the legislature
        • Cont…
      • Making governments
        • In parliamentary systems, the govt. emanates from the legislature
        • The govt. must retain the confidence of the legislature to survive and govern
      • Scrutiny
        • Legislatures are responsible for overseeing the executive:
          • Parliamentary questions
          • Emergency debates
          • Committee investigations
    • Is Parliament in Decline?
      • The growth of organised political parties and mass electorates has diminished the role of the individual representative
      • Changes in the nature of laws – more legislation and more technical legislation (parliaments cannot review effectively)
      • Growth of organised interests
        • Traditionally targeted parliament
        • Now often by-pass government and go direct to the executive
      • Mass media ( more on this later ...)
        • Has concentrated public attention and interest on heads of government rather than parliaments
        • I.e. made politics more about leadership and personality, namely presidential
    • Functions of Executives
      • Historic core of government since legislatures and judiciaries come later as restraints on the actions of executives (Kings)
      • In constitutional theory, to execute, or carry out, the laws
      • In practice, the state apparatus executes laws
      • Therefore, today executives lead rather than ‘execute’ – ‘the seat of authoritative power’:
        • To provide direction for national policy
        • To oversee the implementation of policy
        • To mobilise support for its policies
        • Ceremonial leadership/charismatic authority
        • Crisis leadership
    • Parliament in Australia
      • Australian Federal Parliament has 2 Houses – House of Representatives (Lower) and Senate (Upper)
    • The House of Representatives
      • Holds 150 seats
      • The political party that wins a majority of these
      • becomes the government
      • Seats are allocated to States by population (e.g. Tas 5; NSW 49)
      • Most bills (aiming to become laws) originate here
      • The Prime Minister and senior ministers (Cabinet) and the Leader of the Opposition, by convention, sit in this House
      • Elections to this House are held at least every 3 years
    • The Senate
      • Originally intended as the “States’ House”
      • Holds 76 seats, 12 each state + 2 from Territories
      • Equal representation regardless of State’s population…
      • … Violation of majority rule?
      • Senators are elected to 6 year terms
      • Constitutionally almost equal in power to Reps
      • Because of electoral system, governments rarely control the Senate
      • But when they do it becomes a “rubber stamp”
      • Is an upper house necessary?
    • The Executive: The Power of the Prime Minister
      • Selection of Ministers (Cabinet Govt.)
      • Control of Cabinet (Chair)
      • Setting of the political/policy agenda
      • Has almost guaranteed support of the party and the parliament as leader of majority party
      • Exercise of patronage (appointments)
      • But, power limited by Constitution; HC; Senate
    • Democracy and the Media
    • Media as the “Fourth Estate”
      • Media links governors and the governed
      • Informs voters
      • Checks government power
        • YouTube - The Watergate Affair (Part 1)
        • YouTube - Nixon Disses the Press
      • Scrutinises policies and performance
      • Is an extension of right to freedom of speech
      • Produced the ‘demonstration effect’ behind the ‘Third Wave’ of democracy?
    • The Power of the Media
      • Reflects or Shapes Public Opinion?
        • YouTube - Outfoxed: Fox News: Everything in Iraq is great!
      • Fuels cynicism towards politics and unpopularity of politicians?
      • Shared interest with political elites in the ‘politics of fear’?
      • Evident in the advertising budgets of large corporations ( Over US$ 1 billion each for the 10 biggest spenders says Greenpeace)
      • Baudrillard: The Gulf war never happened!
        • YouTube - First Gulf War
    • How Politicians Use the Media
      • Policy promotion
      • Election campaigning
      • “ Media advisers” and “spin doctors”
      • But media also need politicians
      • Who has the upper hand? ...
    • British New Labour Party and the Media
      • Tony Blair, British PM, in 1994 on his campaign to become party leader: “ You have got to understand that the only thing that matters in this campaign is the media. The media, the media and the media.”
      • Blair: “ How we treat Rupert Murdoch’s media interests when in power will depend on how his newspapers treat the Labour Party in the run-up to the election and after we are in government.”
    • Media Tycoons - Murdoch
      • News Ltd has interests in over 100 newspapers in Australia and 68% of capital city and national newspaper market
      • Owns most influential papers in Melbourne and Sydney
      • Owns only newspapers in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin
      • Also has interests in AAP with Fairfax and a 25 percent stake in Foxtel
    • The Power of the Media Barons
      • “ Some newspapers exist simply to promote the political goals of their proprietors…” (Bartle 2006).
      • But are they more interested in profits than politics?
      • Their profits in part depend on politics, e.g. cross-media ownership laws
    • Media Ownership Policy
      • Cross-media laws (from 1986) affected TV, radio and newspaper ownership
      • Howard Government used control of the Senate to weaken these restrictions
      • Will these new laws reduce diversity in content or just diversity in ownership ?