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Political Parties & Pressure Groups

Essay Questions

Dates in brackets indicate that the question appeared on the Year 12 examination paper in that year.

  1. 'In order to be successful, minor parties need dynamic leadership.' To what extent do you agree? (2004)

  2. 'Interest groups can make a significant contribution to the formulation of government policy.' To what extent do you agree? (2004)

  3. 'At the federal level, the major differences between the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party are in key policies and leadership.' To what extent do you agree? (2003)

  4. 'Not all pressure groups have equal access to government.' To what extent do you agree? (2003)

  5. 'Minor parties play an influential role in parliament and elections.' To what extent do you agree? (2002)

  6. 'Pressure groups have a positive and negative impact on democratic processes in Australia.' To what extent do you agree? (2002)

  7. "The problem with pressure groups in a democratic system is that some pressure groups are more powerful than others." To what extent do you agree? (2001)

  8. "The Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party are becoming increasingly similar in their policies and philosophies." To what extent do you agree? (2001)

  9. Discusss the ways in which political parties and pressure groups contribute to Australian democracy. (2000)

  10. "The power of pressure groups to influence government is, in reality, limited." Discuss. (2000)

  11. "The Labor Party and the Liberal National parties no longer represent the views, needs or concerns of the Australian electorate." To what extent is this a fair assessment of these parties? (1999)

  12. "Minor parties perform many varied and important roles in Australia's democracy. However, their power and influence is far greater than their level of support deserves." Discuss. (1999)

  13. "Although it may gain widespread attention in the media, direct action is a less effective tactic for pressure groups than any other tactic." To what extent do you agree? In your answer you may draw on evidence from both federal and state politics in the 1990s. (1999)

  14. "Pressure groups undermine Australian democracy. They use undemocratic tactics, they inevitably hold governments to ransom and they rarely represent the views of their members." To what extent do you agree? In your answer you may draw on evidence from both federal and state politics in the 1990s. (1999)

  15. "For either major party to win government, it must have strong leadership, effective organisation and attractive policies." To what extent do you agree? (1998)

  16. "In the 1990s, the two major parties in Australia have had to work closely with minor parties, independents and pressure groups to be effective at the federal level." To wht extent do you agree? (1998)

  17. "Although pressure groups make an important contribution to Australian democracy, in some ways they undermine the democratic process." To what extent do you agree? In your answer, you may draw on evidence from both federal and state polititcs in the 1990s. (1998)

  18. "Pressure groups only have influence if they have economic power." To what extent do you agree? In your answer, you may draw on evidence from both federal and state politics in the 1990s. (1998)

  19. "In terms of policies, philosophy and leadership styles, there are few differences between the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party." To what extent do you agree? (1997)

  20. Analyse the variety of ways in which minor parties have achieved their influence in the 1990s. In your answer, you are to refer to at least two of the following political parties: the National Party, the Australian Democrats, the Greens. (1997)

  21. "It makes no difference which party is in government - pressure groups have too much influence." To what extent do you agree with this statement? In your answer, you may draw on evidence from both state and federal politics in the 1990s. (1997)

  22. "Pressure groups provide widespread opportunities for all individuals and groups to participate equally in the Australian political system." To what extent do you agree with this statement? In your answer, you may draw on evidence from both state and federal politics in the 1990s. (1997)

  23. What functions are performed by political parties? How well are these functions being fulfilled by the major parties in Australia at present?

  24. "The Australian Labor Party has no future unless it changes its policies and reforms its structure." Discuss.

  25. "The National Party exercises power and influence far in excess of its electoral support and to the detriment of Australian democracy." Discuss.

  26. "Leadership is crucial to the success of Australian political parties." To what extent is this true of recent times?

  27. "In terms of structure, policies and leadership, the Australian Democrats is the most distinctive of Australia's main political parties." Discuss.

  28. "Community pressure groups now dominate the decision-making processes of the Liberal and Labor parties in the Federal Parliament." Discuss.

  29. "The long-term future of the minor parties lies in the Senate." Do you agree?

  30. "The ALP seems to have lost the middle ground of Australian politics to the coalition." Discuss.

  31. "In recent years, many minor parties have emerged, but they have not gained sufficient support to challenge the dominance of the major parties." Discuss.

  32. "The electoral dominance of the Federal coalition would be best secured by a merger of the two parties." Discuss.

  33. "In making a comparison between the two major political parties, the most apparent difference is in the style of leadership." Discuss.

  34. "The National Party today operates more like a pressure group than a political party." Discuss.

  35. Party rhetoric suggests that the differences between the Liberal and Labor parties are quite great. In terms of ideology and policy, to what extent is this the case today?

  36. How effective has been the role of minor parties in recent years?

  37. "A comparison of the ALP and the Liberal Party presents a striking series of similarities and contrasts." Discuss.

  38. "Without pressure groups, the Australian political process would be less responsive and representative." Discuss.

  39. "In recent times, major economic pressure groups have dominated and directed the policy-making processes in the Keating and Howard governments." Discuss.

  40. "Without the media, pressure groups are powerless." Discuss.

  41. "The tactics of some pressure groups are of concern in a democratic society." Discuss.

  42. Evaluate the relative importance of lobbying and direct action in the achievement of pressure group goals.

  43. "Professional lobbyists and single issue pressure groups present a serious challenge to participatory democracy in Australia." Discuss.

  44. "Pressure groups which employ tactics involving direct access to decision-makers are much more effective than those which mostly rely on direct action." Discuss.

  45. "The ability to present a united and coherent approach to those in power is essential to the success of a pressure group." Discuss.

  46. "Pressure groups are necessary if the political process is going to be truly democratic." Discuss.

  47. "There are a number of factors that cause the community to be apprehensive about pressure groups." Discuss.

  48. "Pressure groups ensure that each individual's democratic rights are not confined to the act of voting." Discuss.

  49. Compare and contrast the aims, tactics and degree of success, of two prominent pressure groups in recent years. Discuss.

  50. "Minor parties are of little significance in Australian politics unless they gain representation in the Senate." Discuss. (1991)

  51. "For the conservative side of politics to present a viable alternative in Australian politics, a merger of the Liberal and National parties is essential." To what extent do you agree? (1991)

  52. To what extent to pressure groups need to be both well organised and wealthy to be successful in the Australian political system? (1991)

  53. "Environmentalist groups are now the most powerful pressure groups in Australian politics." Discuss. (1991)

  54. "Factionalism has unified the ALP but divided the Liberal Party in the 1980s." (1990)

  55. "The Australian Democrats have now established themselves as a distincitve factor in Australian politics." How have they been able to do this and what have been the effects on the political system? (1990)

  56. "Professional lobbyists have become important but dangerous players in the Australian political process." Discuss. (1990)

  57. "Pressure groups can be both constructive and destructive forces in Australian politics." Discuss. (1990)

  58. "The philosophical differences between the Liberal and National parties are the major cause of tensions and difficulties within the coalition." Discuss. (1989)

  59. "The conflict between pragmatism and idealism constitutes the main basis of division within the Australian Labor Party." Discuss. (1989)

  60. Compare and constrast the objectives and tactics of some major employer and employee pressure groups. (1989)

  61. "Ministerial departments often seek advice and information from pressure groups before introducing legislation." Discuss the relationship between government and pressure groups in the light of this statement. (1989)

  62. "Despite occasional disagreements, the Liberal-National Party coalition survives because of the fundamental similarities of the partners." Discuss. (1988)

  63. "Unlike most minor parties, the Australian Democrats have been able to establish themselves as a successful force in the Federal political arena." Discuss. (1988)

  64. "Direct action by pressure groups in pursuit of their objectives often impedes the democratic process." Discuss. (1988)

  65. "Pressure group involvement in the decision-making processes of the Hawke Labor government represents a significant change in the nature of pressure group activity in Australia." Discuss. (1988)

  66. "In the past the Labor Party was preoccupied with ideology whereas the Liberal Party was seen to represent stable government and sound economic management. Today it seems these roles are reversed." To what extent do you agree? (1987)

  67. "Minor parties play a negative role in the Australian political system." Discuss. (1987)

  68. Compare and contrast the methods employed by the older established pressure groups and the new single-issue interest groups. (1987)

  69. "Pressure groups assist governments in making policy decisions." Discuss. (1987)

  70. "The philosophical divisions within both the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party are just as significant as those that exist between the two parties." Discuss. (1986)

  71. "The National Party of Australia and the Australian Democrats are both minor parties, yet their natures and functions within our political system are strikingly different." Discuss. (1986)

  72. "The behaviour of some pressure groups contributes to Australian democracy, whereas the behaviour of others endangers it." Discuss. (1986)

  73. "Trade unions are among Australia's most powerful pressure groups." Compare and contrast the role and influence of the trade unions and other pressure groups in the light of this statement. (1986)

  74. How substantial are the differences between the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party in regard to policies and organisation? (1985)

  75. What are the main functions of political parties in Australia? (1985)

  76. "Pressure Groups are an essential link between the electors and their elected representatives." Discuss. (1985)

  77. Some pressure groups have greater financial and organisational resouces than others. Is this consistent with the ideals of democracy? (1985)

  78. At present both the ALP in government and the Liberal Party in opposition have internal problems relating to policies and leadership. Discuss these problems and how the two parties have tried to cope with them. (1984)

  79. It is argued that minor parties and independents have had little impact on the Australian political process in the last decade. Has this, in fact, been the case? (1984)

  80. "Lobbying, not mass rallies, is still the most effective method of influencing government policy." Do you agree? (1984)

  81. "One measure of democracy in Australia is the extent to which pressure groups play a meaningful role in the political process." Discuss. (1984)

  82. "The influence of parties such as the National Party, the Australian Democrats, the Democratic Labor Party and the Australia Party is directly related to their representation in Parliament." Discuss (1981)
  83. "To what extent, and in which ways, does the role of pressure groups in the Australian political system give individuals opportunities for influencing government decisions? (1979)

  84. The Liberal Party has been described as the party of private enterprise. How accurate is this as a description of that party? (1977)

  85. "The policies of the Australian Labor Party suggest that it is not simply the political arm of the trade union movement." Discuss. (1977)

  86. "The changing role and tactics of interest groups in the Australian political system seem to pose a threat to the more traditional ideas about democracy in Australia." Discuss. (1977)

  87. What part do pressure groups play in Australian democratic politics today? (1975)

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