Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Peter Van Onselen


Electoral professionalism, a. term first coined by Panebianco (1988), explains the changing organisational structure of modern political parties and changes to the way parties engage with the electorate. This thesis demonstrates the extent to which electoral professionalism was prevalent during the 2004 Australian federal election campaign. Australian democracy has undergone a process of professionalisation in recent decades. The Liberal Party and the Labor Party's ability to adapt to these changes has enabled Australia's two major parties to remain relevant and come to dominate Australia's political system. Campaign professionals skilled in areas such as polling, marketing, media management, computer technologies, direct mail technics, and public relations now dominate Australia's major parties. This thesis highlights the actions of these campaign professionals during the 2004 election campaign in order to demonstrate how electoral professionalism has evolved since Panebianco's first writings. Electoral professionalism sees parties create efficient and effective ways of communicating with the electorate. As a result, the 2004 election was characterised by the intensification of existing campaign techniques and the implementation of some new campaign techniques. The implementation of new political technology, the continued attempt to seek partisan advantage and the increased need to secure funds to pay for rising campaign expenditure were all on display in the lead-up to and during the 2004 federal election.