Handbook of Territorial Politics
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Handbook of Territorial Politics

Edited by Klaus Detterbeck and Eve Hepburn

The study of territorial politics has enjoyed a renaissance in the last thirty years. Scholars have questioned the state-centric assumptions upon which mainstream social science has been built, pointing to the territorial (re)distribution of power across and within states. This Handbook brings together leading scholars to demonstrate how territory has shaped institutional structures, public policies, elections, political parties, and identity across the world. Offering theoretical, comparative and empirical insights, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of territory on modern political, economic and social life.
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Chapter 26: Territorial politics and the federal frame in Australia

Nicholas Aroney and Campbell Sharman


Australian politics is organised in profoundly territorial terms. The fundamental reason for this is the essential role played by the constituent states within the Australian federal system. Historically, the states predated the federation and were the presupposition of its very existence. At the time of federation, they offered the essential and unavoidable political infrastructure upon which the entire federal edifice depended, and continues to depend. The constitution entrenched their role and, despite important tendencies towards centralisation, the Australian states cannot be easily abolished or sidelined. Australia’s party system reflects and reinforces the existence of a politics which is both national and regional in its dimensions. Moreover, and underlying diversity between Australia’s states, regions, cities and towns, underscores the need for the kind of policy diversity and policy responsiveness that the Australian federal system makes possible.

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