The top leadership job in Australia is like a revolving door: since 2007, not a single Prime Minister has been able to serve a full term. But why is this? Join us for a discussion on how the Australian political system, parties, and public all contribute to one of the toughest jobs in the Western democratic sphere.

The System

Australia is one of the few democracies which has mandatory voting. Yet despite voter turnout of over 95%, the country has had six Prime Ministers from both sides of the political spectrum in just over ten years. But this is not necessarily at the hands of the public: in Australia, the party determines the leader rather than the people.

The Process

When a Prime Minister loses the confidence of the party, they call for a “spill” vote among party members. These “life and death” votes within political parties have become a regular occurrence in Australian political life and have started a legacy of in-fighting, maneuvering, and grudges.

The Future

As China and the United States both look to Australia as a trading and strategic partner, does changing leadership help or hinder the nation down under on the global stage? And have the Australian populace given up on having a long term leader?

Dig Deeper

Take a look at some of our favorite articles that we came across while researching this topic:

About the Author
Bobby is a second-year MA candidate in the Security Policy Studies program at the George Washington University’s Elliott School. He serves as the Show Notes Writer for Matters of State. Prior to attending GW, Bobby worked as a legal assistant for the government contracts practice of a DC law firm. He earned his BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Notre Dame. His academic and professional interests are cyber security and energy security policy.