Party reform and partisan engagement

Stream: Panel 12 - Australian Politics / Media & Politics:  Political Parties and Interests Groups
Date: Monday, 26 September 2016
Time: 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm


In an era of formal membership decline, many political parties are seeking to expand the participatory opportunities available to non-members, for example, the use of primaries and policy forums. Using the Australian major political parties as a case study, this paper presents new survey evidence on patterns of partisan affiliation and participation amongst party supporters. It examines which citizens, beyond party members, engage with political parties beyond the act of voting, and the types of activities they undertake, as well as supporters’ willingness to become involved in ‘new’ participatory opportunities presented by the parties. The paper engages with the broader questions of the utility of party reforms that seek to ‘open up’ these organisations, and whether party supporters might one day replace party members as a source of resources and legitimacy.


Anika Gauja (Presenter), University of Sydney