IGPA Research Seminar Series

The Representation of MEM Citizens in Australian Politics and the Decline of Ethnic Voting in Australia

Thu 1 December 2016Associate Professor Juliet Pietsch / 4:00pm - 5:00pmThe Dryzek Room (22B13), Building 22, University of Canberra

About the Talk

In terms of Migrant and Ethnic Minority (MEM) representation, the Australian Parliament is one of the most unrepresentative compared to other similar societies such as Canada, the US and New Zealand. This article examines why the Australian parliament is still predominantly comprised of Members of Parliament (MPs) from British and European Backgrounds despite Australia’s rich multicultural heritage involving a long history of non-European migration. Among the reasons put forward for the MEM representation gap in Australian politics is that unlike Canada and the US, Australia does not have any national electorates with high levels of racial and ethnic concentration limiting opportunities for mobilisation. A second explanation relates to the fact that ethnic voting in Australia has declined and electoral incentives for parties to recruit ethnic candidates. This seminar paper explores these issues drawing on interviews with Members of Parliament and data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Election Studies to further understand why MEM citizens in Australia are poorly represented in mainstream politics.

About the Speaker

Juliet Pietsch is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University. Her research focuses on three key areas: a) comparative political behaviour, b) political integration of migrants, and c) racial and ethnic politics. Juliet has been involved in numerous funded research projects, based on the collection and analysis of survey data. Her past projects include the 2010, 2013 and 2016 Australian Election Surveys (funded by the ARC), the World Values Survey, the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes and the ANU Poll. She is currently the Australian coordinator for a comparative research project on the political incorporation of ethnic minorities in Australia and the US. Juliet has a particular interest in understanding the individual, institutional and contextual factors that hinder the social and political inclusion of racial and ethnic minority groups.  

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This event is free to attend and no registration is required. You are welcome to forward this invitation to any interested guests.

The IGPA Research Seminar Series is convened by Dr Paul Fawcett.

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