Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Peter Van Onselen

Second Advisor

Dr Wayne Errington

Abstract

Prior to the 2004 federal election the Australian Greens were rising as the third force in the Australian political system. At the 2001 election they secured an increased share of the vote and returned a second Senator. Conversely the Australian Democrats, held to be the third force in Australian politics went backwards in 2001, losing a Senate seat. From 2001 to 2004 the Greens polled strongly and were buoyed by increased support for their anti-Iraq war and pro-refugee positions. As a party they appeared to be moving beyond single-issue status. Equally the Democrats were suffering from internal disunity and their support collapsed. By the time of the 2004 election the Greens were expected to win enough Senate seats to at least share the balance of power in the Senate. These high expectations were held by political commentators and the Greens themselves, buoyed by strong polling. This dissertation examines the expectations placed on the Greens. While it was found that expectations were too high, the Greens nevertheless had the capacity to perform better than they did in the Senate. The Greens' underperformance at the 2004 federal election is generally consistent with 'constraints theory'. While institutional barriers to minor party representation in the Australian parliament provided the greatest constraint on the Greens' election performance, this dissertation also examines the impact of government and media attacks on the Greens during the 2004 election campaign and the Australian Embassy bombing on the Greens' election results. iii

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