Search results

You are looking at 1 - 9 of 9 items for

  • Author: Rob Manwaring x
  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All Modify Search
The politics of consultation in Britain and Australia
Author: Rob Manwaring

This book attempts to understand how two sister centre-left parties, the British Labour Party and the Australian Labor Party (ALP), have sought to adapt to the modern era and effect changes. It identifies and examines a range of drivers for Labour's desire to experiment and find new forms of citizen engagement. Linked to the influence of the New Social Democracy (NSD) is the lingering legacy of the new public management (NPM) reforms implemented in the public sectors in both countries. For Labour, democratic renewal is an attempt to secure wider legitimacy in neoliberal settings; similarly, the NSD is also linked to the debates about the perceived shift from government to governance. The NSD has attempted to respond to these debates and in Britain a concerted effort has been made to reformulate the role of the state and, by extension, civil society. The book examines how far the NSD has influenced Labour governments in Britain and Australia. It establishes Labour's interest in democratic renewal, specifically, the role of political participation and civic engagement in the wider context of democratic theory. Given that the NSD calls for an 'active citizenry', this is important. A central motif of democratic theory is an ambivalence about the role of political participation in a modern liberal democratic polity. The book explores how far New Social Democratic governments in Britain and Australia have been successful in seeking to link new forms of public dialogue to existing democratic decision-making processes in the modern western world.

Abstract only
Rob Manwaring

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book attempts to understand how two sister centre-left parties, the British Labour Party and the Australian Labor Party (ALP), have sought to adapt to the modern era and effect changes. It examines aspects of the democratic renewal agenda and its prospects for the revitalisation of labour politics. The book identifies a range of drivers for Labour's desire to experiment and find new forms of citizen engagement. It also examines how far the New Social Democracy (NSD) has influenced Labour governments in Britain and Australia. The book establishes Labour's interest in democratic renewal, specifically, the role of political participation and civic engagement in the wider context of democratic theory.

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

In Britain and Australia, Labour governments have been experimenting with democratic renewal. This chapter examines Australian and British Labour's interest in one strand of democratic renewal, a desire to create new spaces for public engagement and consultation. A useful way of understanding the changes to both parties and their interest in democratic renewal is to view them as elements of the New Social Democracy (NSD). Basing his analysis on Anthony Giddens's work, S. White identifies the main themes of the NSD, these being 'real opportunity', 'civic responsibility' and 'community'. A central motif of the NSD is that social democrats need to rethink the role of the state. The NSD seeks to reconfigure the relationship between state and civil society in order to shore up political participation and support. Linked to the NSD debates about the changing role of the state is the challenge of the shift from 'government' to 'governance'.

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

The New Social Democracy in its variant forms in both Australia and Britain is experimenting with the ideas of participation, democracy and consultation. This chapter examines the oscillating place of participation in democratic theory and traces how social democratic thinking seeks to reconfigure citizenship. It examines competing normative claims about the rightful role of political participation and civic engagement in wider democratic (and social democratic) theory. A useful starting point for understanding the role of political participation and civic engagement has been to focus on the typologies of engagement. The central feature of these typologies is that the power is dispersed along a continuum, from minimum to maximum citizen input. L. Pratchett, in his evaluation of the new modes of civic participation, uses a framework based on D. Beetham's pioneering democratic audit work in the United Kingdom.

in The search for democratic renewal
Continuity and change
Rob Manwaring

This chapter offers empirical accounts of how citizens in Britain and Australia actually engage with the state, with a focus on continuity and change in the patterns of political support and political participation. It examines dimensions of political participation in both Britain and Australia. The chapter outlines some competing ideas of why citizens participate and how much participation is taking place. It focuses on the sociology of participation, which sheds light on who is participating. Membership of a political party is a key indicator of political participation. Party membership is notoriously difficult to measure, because political parties are usually reluctant to publicise their numbers, so estimates can only be proxy indicators. The chapter considers the overall patterns and trends in political participation and support, and the implications of these for Labour governments' attempts to find new mechanisms for citizen input and engagement.

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

This chapter introduces cases of the New Social Democracy (NSD) in action. It describes the Australian roots of the NSD and reinforces the renewed links between the British and Australian Labour parties. The chapter then focuses on four cases of Labour governments directly influenced by the NSD, beginning with the 'chemically pure' case of New Labour (1997-2010). It also addresses two key areas neglected in the growing literature on New Labour. They are the links between its external programme for democratic renewal and the internal reforms that sought to embed the party more widely with civil society. The chapter charts the preoccupations and activities of three Australian Labor governments: the Victorian Labor government headed by Steve Bracks, the South Australian Labor government headed by Mike Rann, and the federal Rudd government.

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

The three cases considered in this chapter were all in their own way ground-breaking and innovative approaches for bringing both the public and the expert 'voice' into the emerging New Social Democracy (NSD) politics. First, the 'People's Panel' was a consultation initiative which ran for the first term of former Prime Minister Tony Blair's New Labour government. Touted as a world-first, the panel consisted of 5,000 members of the public and was broadly representative of the British population. The second initiative considered is New Labour's 'Big Conversation'. This is arguably the largest consultation ever undertaken by a British political party and was designed to initiate a 'national conversation' with the British public. The conversation was about the future of the country and the content of New Labour's 2005 party manifesto. The third case is Kevin Rudd's federal Australian '2020 Summit' held in April 2008.

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

The search for democratic renewal has been taking place at the regional level. This chapter focuses on two cases of innovative attempts to reconnect the state with the citizen at the regional level in Australia. They are the Victorian Labor government headed by former Premier Steve Bracks and the case of South Australia led by former Premier Mike Rann. Although the focus of the chapter is efforts by Australian Labor states to enhance civic engagement and new forms of citizen-centred policy-making, there have been similar efforts in the UK. The new Victorian Labor government was caught off guard when it won the 1999 state election and was put under pressure to formulate a clear policy direction, the establishment of the Growing Victoria Together process being a direct outcome. The centrepiece of Rann's policy agenda was to be South Australia's Strategic Plan, originally called the State Strategic Plan.

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

This chapter reflects more broadly on Labour's agenda for democratic renewal. It compares the case studies, focusing on the principles of representativeness and responsiveness. Responsiveness is derived from the concept of popular control, while representativeness derives from the notion of political equality. A key theme which connects all of the case studies is the inherent difficulty in institutionalising forms of consultation and community engagement, and then sustaining dialogue with civil society. The chapter examines the emergence of the 'Big Society' agenda and its links with Labour's approach to democratic renewal. The Big Society being the flagship policy agenda of David Cameron's Conservative Coalition government in the UK, by which localism and civic engagement are to be reinvigorated. While governments of all hues have shown an interest in finding new mechanisms to enhance the citizen 'voice', in Australia and Britain this has largely been an agenda driven by Labour.

in The search for democratic renewal