Factors Determining The Power Of Political Pressur

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Pressure groups and issue movements are often the focus of attention in the Australian political arena because of their ability to elicit change in a society where the disadvantaged can be powerless and the party politics can exclude the average Australian.

They serve the purpose of bridging the gap between the state and civil society, theoretically letting the voices of the Australian public be heard. However, successful groups and their movements are rare (partially due to the great number of them existing in Australia alone), as certain factors determine a groups successand thus the amount of power they are able to exercise on the political process. These factors will be investigated by firstly looking at the notion of civil society in general, then observing the methods adopted by these pressure groups. These specific factors will then be dealt with, along with a brief review of successful groups and their movements displayed within Australia, by acknowledging inequalities in society.

A distinction can be made between pressure groups and issue movements, although they both use forms of pressure to influence the government. A group is mainly concerned with securing material benifits for it's members while issue movements are more concerned with transforming existing cultural patterns and drawing attention to the causes which they promote (Marsh, 1994). For the purpose of this essay, both these avenues of pressure will be investigated. The notion of civil society allows both these forms of pressure to exist, as it denotes a society with a collection of groups and associations that are independent from the state (Lovell, McAllister, Maley & Kukathas, 1998). This allows a dispersion of power so the state cannot exert complete control over laws. Groups allow the concerns of the people be known to the state (Lovell et al., 1998). Without a civil...