Week 3


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Week 3

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