Does the pluralist theory of the state accurately describe the distribution of political power in Australia?
The pluralist theory of the state argues that society is composed of thousands of activities which have the effect of creating many different groups, holding different beliefs. Pluralists believe it’s the states role to regulate and mediate between these groups. They refer to the “balance of power” because each of these groups can have their voices heard in the political process, therefore getting at least something of what they want. 1 Australia belongs to a liberal democratic political system, known for religious tolerance and freedom of speech and association and Stephen Bottomley explained that the English legal system itself was “highly pluralistic”, meaning it was present in Australia’s colonial times.2 In more modern times, the pluralist theory of the state still reflects the distribution of political power in some aspects. The flaws to this approach, however, compounded with the fact that there are traces of Elitism and Marxism in Australia, means that the pluralist theory may not accurately describe the distribution of political power in Australia. Some people may believe that Asylum seekers from Indonesia should be turned around and sent back to their country of origin. Other groups, however, are strongly against this. In this aspect, the pluralist theory of the state is reflected in Australian society. The distribution of political power can also reflect the pluralist theory of the state in regards to it being the role of the state to regulate and mediate between opposing groups. This is applicable because the better a political party can mediate and regulate opposing groups, the more people they can please, meaning they can win more votes for the election. The pluralist idea that “all groups are able to make their voices heard in the political process” reflects Australia’s legislation in regards to elections. Since the 1967 Referendum...
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