Principle and pragmatism: a study of competition between Australia’s major parties at the 2004 and other recent Federal elections

International trade Elections Federal government Competition Australia New Zealand

This brief study addresses a number of questions about pragmatism and principle in the context of recent electoral competition between the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party of Australia, particularly at the 2004 election. Some of these questions are about priorities, and some are about meanings. How strongly has the incentive to be pragmatic in policy encroached on principled policy formation in these parties? What does it mean for policy to be principled, and where does the line between principled and pragmatic policy formation lie? How different have the two parties been in the ideals they advocate, and how faithful have their respective policies been to these ideals?

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