Cabinet Government in Australia

Cabinet Government in Australia

Cabinet Government in Australia

Cabinet Government in Australia

Excerpt

The general proposition on which this book is based is that political institutions should be studied as elements in a political system, which is in its turn the outcome of a social system. In such a study, the character of the institutions should be related to the political and social aspirations embodied in them, to the actual process of government, and to the nature of the social relationships found in the particular society. More briefly, a political institution should be treated as a sociological, and not only as a political, phenomenon.

In endeavouring to achieve this, I have preferred to disregard the orthodox constitutional divisions imposed by a federal constitution. In so far as cabinet government in Australia is an expression of a single political system (or 'political culture', to use Gabriel Almond's term), I have regarded federal and state cabinets as related aspects of the same situation. This has undoubtedly made the study longer, but I hope more valuable. For the convenience of the reader, detailed accounts of matters pertaining to either level are separated in the text and indicated in the contents table.

The book would have been impossible without the encouragement and assistance of a large number of people, all of whom cannot be thanked individually. I should like to acknowledge the large amount of 'inside information' given to me by ministers and ex-ministers, by serving and retired officials, by journalists, clerks of parliament, and the like. Mr Allan McKnight, at that time Assistant Secretary in the Prime Minister's Department, Canberra, inspired my original interest in the subject. To Professor L. F. Crisp, who has helped me at every stage and in numerous ways, I owe a special debt of gratitude. Professor Geoffrey Sawer kindly read and criticized Parts II and III in their draft form. Mrs Joyce Hodgson typed some of the early drafts, but the main burden of typing was borne by Mrs R. M. Evans, whose co-operation was indefatigable and invaluable.

To Sir Allen Brown, former Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department, I am indebted for access to the archives of the Department for the period 1901-35. I should like to thank the staff of the Commonwealth National Library and of the Mitchell Library for their assistance. Miss Lilian Gardiner, of Sydney, kindly allowed . . .

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