Kennett and Court Compared: Leadership Styles and Industrial Relations Reform in Victoria and Western Australia in the 1990s
The John Curtin Institute of Public Policy
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of International, Cultural and Community Studies
This article argues that political leadership in liberal democracies is measured by the achievement of goals. In order to achieve their goals leaders must overcome constraints and exploit opportunities in the social and economic environment. This is done through the deployment of the institutional capacity at their disposal which carries with it a set of constraints and opportunities. We argue that it is the way in which leaders deploy their institutional capacity which illustrates their own particular leadership style. We do so, with reference to industrial relations reforms of the 1990s, first in Victoria under Jeff Kennett and then in Western Australia under Richard Court. We argue that in this case, leadership style determined the success of achieving policy goals, and thus defined successful political leadership.