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Narelle Miragliotta, "From local to national: Explaining the formation of the Australian Green Party," Party Politics, 18 (May, 2012), 409-425. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
The Australian Green Party is a robust confederation of eight state and territory parties united under a national constitution and a 10-point charter. It is also a late developer compared to many of its counterparts in Western Europe. It took over a decade before a national green party was established in Australia, despite attempts throughout the late 1980s to build a national structure. It was not until 1992 that the first steps towards the creation of a national vehicle were achieved. Even then, the original iteration was not a truly national party, taking a further 10 years before the national structure had representative branches from all eight states and territories in Australia. The delay in the creation of a national green party is curious because it was on this continent that the world's first dedicated green party emerged, the United Tasmania Group (UTG)1 in 1972.

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Last Paragraph:
However, the Australian case also highlights the weakness of accounts of green party insurgency that draw almost exclusively on socio-political drivers. While the presence of representational gaps assisted the formation of green parties at the local and regional levels, it proved insufficient to facilitate the formation of a national party vehicle. The critical factors that ultimately induced the creation of a national green structure were the institutional context for green party competition at the national level, and the incentives for green parties to contest national elections, such as changes to the electoral rules. One of the most important influences in shaping the institutional context, and ultimately the developmental arc of Australian green parties, was the federal system in which these entities competed. It was the particular features of the Australian federal model which initially served to strengthen the incentives for emergent green parties to focus their political and organizational energies on building strong local structures, rather than a national body. In this respect, the emergence of a national green party in Australia, while conforming to the general pattern in terms of the primary socio-political drivers that assisted its creation, also reveals a slightly distinctive evolutionary trajectory. The willingness of elites to later invest in the establishment of a national structure owed much to the provision of certain electoral incentives, especially the requirements of the federal registration of parties, which provided the overwhelming exigency for parties to unite, even if only initially for purely instrumental reasons.

Last updated August 2012