The Howard Government: Australian Commonwealth Administration 1996-1998

The Howard Government: Australian Commonwealth Administration 1996-1998

The Howard Government: Australian Commonwealth Administration 1996-1998

The Howard Government: Australian Commonwealth Administration 1996-1998

Synopsis

Contributors examine in detail a range of issues, including the controversy over the role of the High Court, economic management, waterfront reform and industrial relations, the Centrelink initiative, privatization, and contracting out.

Excerpt

Gwynneth Singleton

This volume, the seventh in a series on Commonwealth public administration, examines the manner in which the Howard government managed the institutions of government and implemented key aspects of its policy during its first term of office, between March 1996 and October 1998.

In the previous volume of this series Cockfield and Prasser pointed to the 'political capital to be made from pragmatic incrementalism?'. It is tempting, looking at the election campaign of 1996, to draw the conclusion that the coalition's policies reflected little more than incremental adjustment to existing policies. the jarring experience of having lost the 'unlosable' election in 1993 with the radical Fightback! package, in particular the goods and services tax, encouraged the coalition in 1996 to focus on the negatives of Labor's record and to match Labor's program 'on issue after issue'. the coalition's private research had indicated 'a popular cynicism about grand political promises and a weariness with ideological differences', so they 'chose to modify some policies and to stress only those that could be achieved by measured or incremental change, except in those areas that were regarded as the core of their mandate for government'. the . . .

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