Monthly Archives: November 2016

Don’t Mention His Name Show

In which the Nerds tap the expertise of the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney to unpack the fallout and implications of the 2016 US Presidential and down ballot votes.



Including podcast extras!

Podcast Special: Interview with Katharine Gelber

A full length interview with Professor Katharine Gelber, University of Queensland , recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was his paper, titled “Free speech and human rights in Australia”

The abstract for the paper is:

    In recent years, free speech debates have featured unusually prominently in public debate in Australia. While some of these did not result in a legislative narrowing of free speech rights –an attempt to revise the definition of discrimination in federal law in 2012/13; and an attempt in 2014 to amend federal anti-vilification law – others did. Significant restrictions on freedom of speech have been enacted in the context of federal counter-terrorism legislation (2014/15), asylum seeker policy (2015), and anti-protest laws in Tasmania (2015), and in a current attempt in Western Australia to do the same. The last half decade, therefore, has seen unprecedented debate about the role of freedom of speech in Australian democracy. In this paper I will consider these events through the lens of a capabilities approach-informed analysis of the role of free speech; namely an understanding of the constitutive role of speech in individuals’ lives, and through that its role in democratic deliberation and legitimation. This approach attends to the conditions required at an individual level for democratic legitimation to occur at a social level. I will argue that the new restrictions on free speech in Australia place democratic processes of deliberation and legitimation at risk.

Podcast Special: Interview with Aaron Martin

A full length interview with Dr Aaron Martin, University of Melbourne , recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was his paper, titled “Understanding political trust: evidence from survey experiments”, written with Nick Faulkner (Monash), Raymond Orr (University of Melbourne) and Kyle Peyton (Yale University).

The abstract for the paper is:

    For decades social scientists have debated the connection between the quality of political institutions and political and social trust, a debate ignited in large part by Putnam¹s (1995a; 1995b) influential work on social capital. In this article, we present experimental evidence of a causal link between the perceptions citizens have of government officials¹ behavior, and the trust they have in government (political trust) and others in society (social trust ¬ a widely used proxy for social capital). The results suggest the behaviour of government officials plays a distinct role in shaping attitudes towards peers and the formation of social capital.

Podcast Special: Interview with Hannah Murphy-Gregory

A full length interview with Dr Hannah Murphy-Gregory from the University of Tasmania, recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was her paper, titled Governance via persuasion: ENGOs, social license and Australian environmental policymaking”

The abstract for the paper is:

    Environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) in Australia are seemingly more politically active and influential than ever before. They have been at the forefront of recent high-profile debates on issues of national significance including the Great Barrier Reef, the renewable energy sector, factory fishing trawlers, forest conservation and of course climate change. Yet important questions about ENGOs remain: what new strategies and tactics have ENGOs used to increase their visibility and influence on Australian policymaking in recent years? How should we understand their contributions to contemporary governance arrangements? This paper addresses these important questions by critically analysing the increasingly used ENGO tactic of withdrawing or denying a ‘social license to operate’ (SLO) to various corporate actors via three recent campaigns. These include the campaigns against Gunns Limited’s proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill, Seafish Tasmania’s FV Margiris/Abel Tasman factory fishing vessel, and salmon producer Tassal’s bid to farm salmon on Tasmania’s East coast. I argue that SLO is best understood as ‘governance via persuasion’, a mode of governance first proposed by Bell and Hindmoor (2009) to capture political activity akin to ‘governance without government’ that incorporates appeals to normative values. Whilst the success of ENGO campaigners appears to support the society-centred view of governance, I contend instead that ENGOs’ SLO campaigns many ultimately enhance state-led hierarchy and therefore support a state-centric relational account of governance. This is because ENGOs in fact demand (and succeed) in bringing about greater government regulation as a result of publicising concerns about corporate actors. Employing the SLO strategy may promote opportunities for ENGOs to participate in subsequent network governance processes alongside state and corporate actors.