State of assistance? Political parties and state support in Australia

Zareh Ghazarian, Monash University


This paper investigates the extent of state resources offered to political parties and parliamentarians in Australia. I chart the evolution of these resources, or ‘state subventions’. I argue that the established parties in Australia are the major beneficiaries of these subventions, despite the stated aim of some funding programs to open up the political process to new entrants. While minor parties have won Senate representation, the established parties continue to dominate national politics overall and to receive the greatest benefit from state subventions. I conclude that the concentration of increasingly generous state subventions on the major parties can be understood as elements of party ‘cartelisation’ in Australia.

Zareh Ghazarian <> is a doctoral candidate in, and teaches, Australian politics at the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University. His research interests include the organisation and behaviour of political parties, electoral systems, and political institutions. He recently won an Australasian Political Studies Association postgraduate travel award for a paper he presented at their annual conference this year. He thanks Dr Nick Economou, Ben Whiteley, the Editors of the Australian Review of Public Affairs, and the referees for their comments on earlier drafts of this article.

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