Four phases of (recent) party development in Australia

Eccleston, R. and Marsh, I. 2011. The Henry Tax Review, Cartel Parties and the Reform Capacity of the Australian State. Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 46:3, pp. 437-45.,

Finally, the literature on party systems describes the various ways in which political–relational capacity has been achieved in practice. In the mass party phase (roughly up until the early 1970s in Australia), as that term suggests, the mobilisation of public and interest group opinion was influenced by party programs, party ‘brands’ and party organisational processes (e.g. Jaensch 1989b).
(Eccleston and Marsh, 2011: 439)

In the following catch-all period (roughly from the early 1970s to the early 1980s), as that term implies, primary mobilisation was shared with social movements. The mobilising and agenda-originating roles of the major party organisations were significantly qualified (Marsh 1995, Ch. 2). Their roles shifted to devising agendas and manifestos that were designed to craft majority electoral coalitions (Panebianco 1988). This catch-all party system lasted until 1983, when the election of the Hawke–Keating government marked a new turn.
(Eccleston and Marsh, 2011: 440)

In the cartel period that followed, both parties converged in their support for a new neoliberal economic strategy (Blyth and Katz 2005; Mair 1997)…. The cartel descriptor reflected the disappearance of whatever remained of the programmatic differences between the major parties in relation to economic issues. The story of the origin of this agenda in the neoliberal think tanks and its colonisation, via their advocacy, of major party, bureaucratic, business and media elites and its transmission into policy, has been comprehensively told elsewhere (Bell 1997; Kelly 1992; Pusey 1991).
(Eccleston and Marsh, 2011: 440)

Since cartel parties continue to function in an adversarial system, programmatic convergence has complicated the struggle for office between the rival partisans. Opportunism, wedge strategies and manufactured difference have increasingly come to the fore (Blyth and Katz 2005; Marsh 2006)…. The party organisations have ceased to contribute to agenda setting, interest mobilisation or mass mobilisation.
(Eccleston and Marsh, 2011: 440)

And then there’s this – from Dowding, K., Himdmoor, A. and Martin, A. 2013. Causes, Content and Party Influence on the Australian Policy Agenda. Australian Journal of Pubic Administration, Vol. 72, (4), pp.481-484.

In pursuing this point Marsh (2013) summarizes his story of four phases of party development (Marsh and Miller 2012): mass parties, catch-all parties, cartel parties (party systems) Mark I and Mark II (the latter being Marsh and Miller’s contribution). These four phases are supposed to correlate with four phases of the policy agenda: welfare state and managed economy regimes; post-materialism; neo-liberalism; and finally populism, wedge politics and profoundly compromised agenda development.

The citation is to Marsh, Ian and Raymond Miller 2012. Democratic
Decline and Democratic Renewal: Political Change in Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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