Ovi magazine with Professor’s Murray Hunter article: Who Really Rules Australia?: A tragic tale of the Australian People starts a campaign/a series of articles and essays that will include most possible countries all around the world with the question Who Really Rules? trying to find or at least reach some answers.
In his article Professor Murray starts pointing:
An inconvenient question
The question of “who rules Australia?” is always answered with pet ideas and different theories. We can see symbols of power all around us, but the exercise of real power and influence is rarely a public event. Defining and identifying who really rules Australia is like trying to pinpoint where consciousness exists within our brain. It is complex and illusive. We may have some idea about different entities who potentially exercise power, but can’t put any single entity under any precise scrutiny. Besides the formal means of power through authority, ownership and control over regulation, etc., much power is the result of inducement, compromise, promises, flattery, coercion, threats, favors, and even goodwill. Making the situation more complex is that different groups exercise power and influence over different aspects of society. Finally is rule in Australia in the hands of an “oligarchy” that dictates, or is it more likely that the group(s) that rule Australia are more like a football umpire who can influence the flow of the game, with the power to influence formulation of new rules end of season for the next season?
Surprisingly formal academic papers about “who rules Australia” are almost non-existent. A multitude of internet articles, review articles, opinion, and even lectures and documentaries exist online about who rules the world. However in Australia it doesn’t seem a question that academics have bothered to write too much about, except for the prominent Australian public intellectual and writer Donald Horne in the mid 1980s, who asked the question in an obscure essay “Who Rules Australia?”
Horne meticulously examined rule from the perspective of our history, significance of the crown, formation of our political system, parliament, political parties, federalism, the role of the media, unions, and banking; proposing that Australians live under a myth about who actually rules them. Although the situation today is very different from the time Horne reflected on these issues, much of his description concerning “who rules Australia” is still valid today. What may be even more starkly relevant is Horne’s conclusion, which Australians at the time and even now have taken little notice of.
My intention is to take up from Donald Horne’s commentary, update it, and postulate this inconvenient question again in Australia today. Many people know the parts of the puzzle, but by putting them altogether the author hopes it may lead to a more thorough understanding about the intricacies of who really rules Australia.
This paper will do so in the format of looking at each section of potential influence upon Australian society, starting with an encapsulated summary of Australia’s sovereign history.