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Australian Liberals and the Moral Middle Class
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  • 8 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 274 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.41 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 320.51/0994
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: JC574.2.A8 B74 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Liberalism--Australia--History--20th century
    • Middle class--Australia--History--20th century
    • Australia--Politics and government--1945-
    • Liberal Party of Australia

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521536349 | ISBN-10: 0521536340)

The Liberal Party of Australia was late to form in 1945, but the traditions and ideals upon which it is founded have been central to Australian politics since Federation. This 2003 book, by award-winning author and leading Australian political scientist Judith Brett, provides the very first complete history of the Australian liberal tradition, and then of the Liberal Party from the second half of the twentieth century. The book sparkles with insight, particularly in its sustained analysis of the shifting relationships between the experiences of the moral middle class and Australian liberals' own self understandings. It begins with Alfred Deakin facing the organised working class in parliament and ends with John Howard, electorally triumphant but alienated from key sections of middle class opinion. This book is destined to become the definitive account of Australian liberalism, and of the Liberal Party of Australia.

• The very first complete history of the Liberal party of Australia • The author of this book is Australia's leading political scientist, and the award winning author of Menzies' Forgotten People • It will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in Australian politics, filling the major gap in Australian political history


1. Introduction; 2. Organisation and the meaning of fusion; 3. Protestants; 4. Good citizens and public order; 5. Honest finance; 6. From Menzies' forgotten people to the Whitlam generation; 7. Fraser; 8. Neoliberalism; 9. John Howard, race and nation.


'This is a book of major significance. It provides an original and powerfully coherent insight into how the non-Labor parties have understood politics and themselves.'  Professor Stuart Macintyre, University of Melbourne

'I believe this analysis to be very important indeed, making a serious and fresh contribution to our understanding of party politics … The exposition of middle class virtue … is quite brilliant.' Graham Maddox

'Judith Brett has a story to tell that is not only fascinating in itself, but at times almost spookily reminiscent of passes in the history of British parties in the twentieth century … an account of Australian party politics which breaks free of many of the crudities of political science and casts a flood of light on the relationship between rhetoric and morality in the politics of twentieth-century liberal democracies.' The Times Literary Supplement

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