Despotic State or Free Individual? Two Traditions of Democracy in Australia
Additional Publication Information
The book before you was never one that was planned to appear in this particular form. It has its origins in both research which I have pursued over the past eight or nine years, and in the teaching that I have undertaken during that period. In 2005 I was awarded, along with Andrew Buck, a Discovery Grant by the Australian Research Council to undertake research on political rhetoric in colonial New South Wales. Over time that project evolved as I considered how many advocates of democracy in New South Wales came to be critical of its operations once it ceased to be a theory and became a form of practice. Then I extended my interest to Victoria where there is a rich vein of theorising about the nature of democracy that stretches from David Syme in the 1870s to Keith Hancock in the early 1930s. As I meandered along the path of my enquiry I added more and more, including the implications of the unwillingness of some members of the Legislative Council in New South Wales in 1881 not to oppose a Bill designed to restrict Chinese immigration into the colony even though they saw it as morally repugnant. I added the final chapter to bring the story up to the present before returning to consider the importance of what Gordon Childe had written for that democratic model which considered representatives to be delegates.