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Political Alignments, Political Economy and Political Change in Australia 1890-1940

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This paper explores the applicability of class-coalitional explanations to broad patterns of public policy in Australia at the turn of the century and during the Great Depression. It argues that this approach, with its strong comparative emphasis, does shed light on the 'historic compromise' between capital and labour established after Federation and provides some useful hypotheses about Australia's failure to 'break with orthodoxy' in the 1930s. In particular, it provides an important comparative framework for understanding the nature and role of the labour movement in Australian history, and a corrective to prevailing interpretations. The paper also argues, though, that evidence from the Australian case calls into question simple factor-endowment models of political change.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1996-03-01

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