Survival modelling of Australian politicians

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Political Science, 2019, 71, (2), pp. 140-157
Issue Date:
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© 2019, © 2019 The Research Trust of Victoria. Are Australian political leaders an endangered species? A survival analysis of Australian politicians shows that modern leaders are having almost as tough a time as leaders were in the early days of Australian politics. This article examines the tenures of Prime Ministers and Federal Opposition Leaders to show that while the leadership turnover of the last decade has been high, the modern era is not unlike the Australian parliament after 1901, albeit for different reasons. The parliamentary tenures of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, male and female members of both houses, and Labor and Liberal leaders have been compared using the survival analysis technique, and while simple statistical tests and descriptors may show little overall difference between the various survival curves, there are often intriguing differences in the detail. For instance, there is evidence supporting the notion that women have historically not been preselected in safe seats. The differing electoral cycles are apparent in the Senate and House of Representative data, as is the historical under-representation of women. Labor leaders tend to have had a higher survival rate, at least in the short term, than their Liberal counterparts, while longer time periods are influenced by long-serving Liberal Prime Ministers.
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