The Initial Embrace of Keynesianism in Australia

  • Battin Tim 


By placing the emergence and subsequent practice of Keynesianism into its historical and theoretical perspective, we may very well be able to fathom how it became unravelled.1 The present discussion, however, is not exclusively a focus on the extent or nature of the Keynesian consensus;2 more pertinent is the connection between the context of the acceptance and prominence of Keynesian social democracy, on the one hand, and the problems encountered and foreseen at the time in the new enterprise, on the other. If there is to be an insight into why there was abandonment — or at least substantial revision — of the Keynesian experiment, it is necessary for there to be an appreciation of the factors which brought it into being in the first place.


White Paper Full Employment Capital Expenditure Royal Commission Labor Party 
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  1. 2.
    In Australia there is very little published material dealing with the nature of the Keynesian consensus: E. Jones, ‘Who Won the Post-War? The Legacy of Keynes’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, no. 22, February 1988, pp. 73–90.Google Scholar
  2. G. Whitwell, ‘The Power of Economic Ideas? Keynesian Economic Policies in Post-War Australia’, in Stephen Bell and Brian Head (eds), State, Economy and Public Policy in Australia (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1994).Google Scholar
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    Indeed, this is something that Coombs has conceded, but he explains that the political imperative was that unity be valued above all else. See, H.C. Coombs, From Curtin to Keating (Darwin: North Australia Research Unit and Australian National University, 1994).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Tim Battin 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Battin Tim 
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

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