Australian External Policy under Labor: Content, Process and the National Debate

Australian External Policy under Labor: Content, Process and the National Debate

Australian External Policy under Labor: Content, Process and the National Debate

Australian External Policy under Labor: Content, Process and the National Debate

Excerpt

This book is an analysis of Australian external policy under the first Labor Party government elected to federal office in nearly a quarter of a century. The choice of the term "external policy" is deliberate, in that the study deals with defence and international economic dimensions as well as with more conventionally construed "foreign policy". The object is to link policy outputs with policy process. In addition to emphasizing what policies were evolved, the book is concerned with such themes as the assumptions and perceptions underlying policy movements, the weight of historical and party traditions, the contributions of key élites, the various sources of advice and pressures that sought to influence policies, the environment in which dialogue between the government and its critics was conducted, and party political and electoral implications.

The principal research was carried out in 1974-75, during the author's appointment as a Senior Fulbright-Hays Scholar and Visiting Professor at the University of Sydney and the Flinders University of South Australia, and during a lateral visit to New Zealand. The materials consulted included official documents, newspaper and secondary sources, party and interest group publications, and survey and electoral data. The book's preparation has been greatly assisted by factual and interpretative comment supplied by scores of individuals, a number of whom were interviewed more than once. The respondents were predominantly Australians, but included a number of New Zealanders and Americans who were interviewed at various times in Australia, New Zealand and in the United States. Among the Australians interviewed were parliamentarians of various parties, including former and present ministers and backbenchers. Also interviewed were official and diplomatic personnel, ministerial advisers, party organization figures, interest group spokesmen, journalists and academics. The author is deeply indebted to these many individuals. Conversations with them were, however, conducted on . . .

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