Politics Essay - Political Parties, Pressure Groups, and Australian Democracy
As in most democratic countries, Australia's democracy is maintained by the balance of power in its society with political parties and pressure groups. These different organizations work to support different interests and political agendas.
Though there are many different parties within Australia, the three most arguably present are the Australian Labour Party, the National Party, and the Liberal Party. The Australian Labour Party has been present for the longest, has traditionally represented unions and workers' issues, and is typically centre-left on most issues. Its political opponents are both the Liberal Party and National Party, which represent conservative issues. While the Liberal Party more or less represents big business, the National Party is primarily concerned with conservative agrarian values. To strengthen their forces, the Liberal Party and the National Party join together to create a voting block known as the Coalition to oppose the Australian Labour Party. However, there are also the Australian Greens that represent environmental interests and the two most socially conservative parties, the Family First Party and Katter's Australian Party. The two latter conservative parties concern themselves with opposing government interventions, like with a carbon tax on emissions, the promotion of Australian-made products, and traditional, conservative family values. All these different parties represent the interests of their citizens and try to initiate legislation that will benefit their constituents the most.
Pressure groups in Australia also have a significant role to play in Australian democracy. Some have helped to build up political parties to win elections as well as to destroy certain party leaders. A good example of this is the rise and fall of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd from 2007-2010. One of the most powerful pressure groups GetUp is primarily interested in enrolling unregistered young Australians to participate in the country's compulsory election. This ensures that the Australian version of democracy will continue for years to come.