Chasing the Norm

Australian academic and blogger on politics, international relations, and culture

Is Bipartisanship on National Security Beneficial? Australia’s Politics of Defence and Security

Australian Journal of Politics and History: Volume 63, Number 2, 2017, pp.254-269.

One of the most widely-endorsed norms in Australian politics is the requirement for bipartisanship in the management of defence and security policy. This norm is assumed to lead to good policy creation, foster political unity, and protect those who implement national policy (particularly the military). The paper argues that evidence for all three of these claims is overstated. In addition, the effects of the norm are often counter-productive and even harmful to the conduct and management of Australian policy. The paper concludes by arguing that thenorm of bipartisanship for Australian defence and security policy should be abandoned.

Keywords: Bipartisanship, defence, Australia, democracy, politics

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