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“Media Intrusion” and the Changing Nature of the Established Parties in Australia and Canada

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 November 2009

Ian Ward
University of Queensland


Media intrusion theory holds that the advent of electronic media, especially television, has accelerated or even precipitated party decline. This is evidently borne out by the declining membership of, and weakening support for, the two major Australian parties which each enthusiastically embraced new forms of political communication. However, “media intrusion” has arguably strengthened rather than weakened Canada's already frail brokerage parties. This different experience may be explained by the dissimilar legislative, federal and media environments in which Canadian and Australian political parties operate. Curiously, although the new forms of political communication have had different impacts, these have triggered changes in Australian political parties which have increased their resemblance to their Canadian counterparts.


La théorie de «l'intrusion des médias» soutient que l'avènement des médias électroniques, notamment la télévision, a accéléré ou même précipité le déclin des partis. Ceci semble bien correspondre au déclin du membership et des appuis des deux principaux partis australiens qui ont adopté avec enthousiasme les nouvelles formes de communication politique. Cependant, on peut affirmer que «l'intrusion des médias» a renforcé plutôt qu'affaibli les partis «courtiers» canadiens, lesquels étaient déjà au départ plutôt faibles. Cette différence entre les deux pays peut s'expliquer par la dissemblance de l'environnement législatif, fédéral et médiatique dans lequel leurs partis politiques évoluent. Curieusement, bien que les nouvelles formes de communication politique aient eu des effets différents, elles ont provoqué des changements dans les partis australiens qui ont accru leur ressemblance avec leurs équivalents canadiens.

Research Article
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association (l'Association canadienne de science politique) and/et la Société québécoise de science politique 1993

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