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In this paper for the 2007 Australasian Political Science Association conference, Dennis Woodward argues that underlying John Howard’s electoral dominance has been a disciplined ‘electoral professional’ party that has adopted a strategy of permanent campaigning. This has involved an unprecedented degree of media management and control over the public service. It has also included a ruthless exercise of the advantages of incumbency and the tailoring of policies to shore up support amongst selected constituencies. By means of centralised government management, firm control of the parliamentary party and astute handling of the coalition relationship, the groundwork for electoral victories has been laid long before the official election campaigns have been launched. Nevertheless, such campaigns demonstrate the quintessential features of electoral professionalism.

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Published year only: 
2007
6
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