The Fifth Estate
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Alfred Deakin and the Art of Minority Government
Alfred Deakin, Australia’s second Prime Minister, spent 32 years in politics. Renowned for his oratorical ability, superb negotiation skills and workable minority governments, he served as Prime Minister for three separate terms in the turbulent first decade of the new Commonwealth.
As questions of dual citizenship threaten the Commonwealth Government’s majority today, Sally Warhaft speaks to Judith Brett about Deakin’s legacy and the link between the early days of federated Australia and the contemporary situation.
What does it take to govern successfully without a majority? And, if minority governments are the norm in many advanced democracies, why does the prospect loom as a bogeyman in Australian public conversation?
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She hosts the Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, now in its ninth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.
Judith Brett is the award-winning author of From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia Got Compulsory Voting (2019), The Enigmatic Mr Deakin (2017), Robert Menzies’ Forgotten People (1993) and Australian Liberals and the Moral Middle Class (2003). She is an emeritus professor of politics at La Trobe University. She contributes regularly to the Monthly, and has written three Quarterly Essays.
The Fifth Estate
The important stories of the day – off the front pages.
Sally Warhaft hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs.