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The Fifth Estate

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at The Wheeler Centre

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 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

Our long-running current affairs series, The Fifth Estate, is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre programme. With our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft at the helm, it's a series of in-depth conversations with guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's rigorous long-form interviewing at its best.

Guests are announced in the weeks prior to events, so keep an eye on our website (or the Wheeler Weekly newsletter) for updates. Subscribe to the popular Fifth Estate podcast – or book a (free) ticket – for expert analysis on today's key debates.

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