Australia: Party Discipline and Fiscal Dependence
The territory that makes up modern Australia was first settled by the British as a penal colony in 1788. It was not until the 1880s that changing internal and external conditions provoked widespread support for federalist ideas in Australia. Australia is not a country associated with ‘stateness’ problems. On the contrary, with the minor exception of the symbolic vote for secession in Western Australia in 1933, throughout its history it has been a model of democracy and political stability. In spite of its vast size and great geographic diversity, modern Australia is relatively homogeneous in economic and social terms. The Northern Territory apart, no great spatial disparities in wealth and income exist. In spite of this, Australian politics does have a clear territorial dimension. Australia has been fortunate that its constitutional and institutional arrangements have been adapted in ways that have facilitated the centralization of power in the federal government without at the same time provoking resentment among the peoples of culturally or economically distinctive states.
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