Year

2004

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History and Politics Program - Faculty of Arts

Abstract

This thesis examines the radical neo-liberal movement commonly labelled the new right as a hegemonic force in Australia between 1976 and 1996. It argues that the movement, through its think tanks, greatly assisted the process whereby the Australian state and economy were reorganised. Such assistance took the form of disorganising opponents of neo-liberalism; helping to shift elite debate to the Right; and offering a language and framework for critiquing the welfare state. It is argued that, in doing this, the radical neo-liberal movement acted as a vanguard for neo-liberal hegemony in Australia. The thesis critically analyses the ideology of the radical neo-liberal movement as well as discussing the ways in which radical neo-liberals cohered as a movement. It assesses the relationship between the movement and the capitalist class, the commercial media and the Australian state, all of which are key sites and agents of hegemonic struggle. It is argued that the effectiveness of the radical neo-liberal movement was primarily due to the links it was able to forge with key fractions of Australian capital. These fractions predominantly finance, mining and monopoly capital were also the ones that mobilised to bring about the neo-liberal reorganisation of the Australian state and economy. In acting as a vanguard movement for neo-liberal hegemony, the radical neo-liberals supported the interests of these capitalist fractions. By understanding the radical neo-liberals as a movement, this thesis examines the way in which a non-class group had an impact that was class relevant.

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