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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 is joined by Judith Brett for a conversation 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?

Who?

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth 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.

Portrait of Judith Brett

Judith Brett

Judith Brett is the award-winning author of The Enigmatic Mr Deakin, published in 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

Sally Warhaft has been the Wheeler Centre’s in-house news anchor since 2012. The anthropologist, broadcaster and intrepid interviewer’s fortnightly live series continues in 2017 as she responds to the most important stories of the day and reignites those that have fallen off the front pages. Every second Tuesday, Sally 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. Topical guests are announced in the weeks prior to events: keep an eye on our website (or in the Wheeler Weekly) for updates.

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