|dc.contributor.author||Yarnell, Caroline Janet||-|
|dc.description.abstract||The purpose of this thesis is to test the ‘rational public’ theory first espoused by Page and Shapiro (1988) for the Australian case. I aim to ascertain whether the Australian public, at the aggregate level, has the capacity to form ‘rational’ opinions on foreign policy issues. I do this by testing three major hypotheses using collective opinion data from the Australian Election Study (AES) 1987 – 2010: 1) opinion will be durable, or stable over time, 2) opinion will be coherent, and 3) opinion will respond reasonably, as predicted, to such triggers as changing international situations, elite cues, and particular events or trends.
I found considerable support for all three hypotheses. Aggregate Australian opinion was as stable as US, Canadian, German, French, Italian, and Dutch opinion when using comparable measures, and more stable when using methods specific to the AES dataset. Opinion was also coherent, and, in most cases, responded to available directly and indirectly experienced triggers, as posited. I also performed a sub-set of tests for all three of these major hypotheses on the group of respondents who professed to have ‘no interest’ in politics, often referred to as the inattentive public, and found they held slightly less stable and coherent opinions overall, but were more responsive: results which lend further weight to the overall ‘rational public’ hypothesis.
These results for the Australian case enable cross-national comparison to determine whether the ‘rational public’ thesis is generalisable, or whether it is dependent on such factors as a state’s position in the international system, its political institutions, or its political culture. I also envisage this thesis as providing a basis for further research into the functioning of Australian democracy as regards the public opinion, media, and policy-making nexus, incorporating further cross-national comparison.
PAGE, B. I. & SHAPIRO, R. Y. 1988. Foreign policy and the rational public. Journal of conflict resolution, 32, 211-247.||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||University of Sydney||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||School of Social and Political Sciences||en_AU|
|dc.publisher||Department of Government and International Relations||en_AU|
|dc.rights||The author retains copyright of this thesis. It may only be used for the purposes of research and study. It must not be used for any other purposes and may not be transmitted or shared with others without prior permission.||en_AU|
|dc.title||Is the Australian public ‘rational’ on foreign policy issues?||en_AU|
|dc.type.pubtype||Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D.||en_AU|
|dc.description.disclaimer||Access is restricted to staff and students of the University of Sydney . UniKey credentials are required. Non university access may be obtained by visiting the University of Sydney Library.||en_AU|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (University of Sydney Access only)|