Geoff Gallop: Research and Writings

by Prof David Black

Geoff Gallop's opportunities for making speeches and writing articles directly related to his major research interests varied considerably depending on his political career standpoint and workload. Nevertheless, any review of his writings and speeches over the years leads to the identification of a number of major causes to which he was passionately committed and issues concerning the role of government in society which exercised his mind. Indeed, his interests in these issues increased with the benefit of his substantial political experience and opportunities for hindsight. The survey which follows is focussed on firstly a review of his research interests prior to his entry into politics and then on an investigation of the approach he adopted during and after his parliamentary career to some of these major themes.

Pre-Politics Research and Teaching Interests

Geoff Gallop was educated at Beachlands Primary School (1957-1963) and Geraldton Senior High School (1968-1973) before completing a Bachelor of Economics at the University of Western Australia in 1971. In 1972 he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and completed an honours degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University between 1972 and 1974.

Returning to Western Australia he completed his MPhil at Murdoch University in 1977 on the topic 'The Political and Social Theory of the Young Marx' and then spent five more years at Oxford University and was awarded a DPhil from Oxford in 1983 on the topic 'Politics, property and progress: British radical thought 1760-1815'. He tutored part time at Murdoch University (in Social Inquiry), the University of Western Australia (in Economics and Politics) and Oxford during the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s.

In 1981 Gallop was appointed lecturer in social and political theory at Murdoch University in 1981 where he remained for five years until he entered politics. During those years he taught classes in such areas as 'Australia in Global Politics'; 'Class and Power in Industrial Societies'; 'History of Modern Social and Political Theory'; 'Public Management and Policy Making' and 'Politics in Western Australia'.

Gallop's publications prior to 1983 included 'The Economics of Education: some critical comments' (as joint author) in Education Activity 1972; 'Karl Marx, Socialism and the Condition of Women' in Time Remembered for the Murdoch University History Club' in 1977; and 'The Two Revolutions in the thought of the Young Marx' in Links: A Journal of Politics 1976-1977; He was also editor with an introductory essay of Pig's Meat: Selected Writings of Thomas Spence published in 1982

During the three years following the election in February 1983 of the Burke Government, Gallop's publications were mostly written as a political commentator analysing the early years of the Government which he was to join soon after the 1986 election. By contrast, over the ten to fifteen years after he entered the Legislative Assembly he made a strong effort to link his academic and political interests and in two instances to build publications around the content and focus of his parliamentary speeches.

Constitutional and Electoral Reform

Throughout his entire academic and political career Geoff Gallop had a passionate commitment to constitutional and electoral reform. In undertaking any analysis of his views on the major issues involved it is necessary to bear in mind that in Western Australia the distinction between constitutional and electoral reform is difficult to maintain consistently. This is because there are important aspects of electoral reform which have been interpreted in the courts as requiring the same level of parliamentary approval as those affecting the structure and the powers of the legislature, namely that any amendments required support in both Houses of Parliament of an absolute majority of members in each chamber. Other aspects of electoral reform, however, relating to various technical aspects of the voting system can be modified by simple majority of those present and voting in each House. With this proviso in mind, for the purpose of clarification the two aspects will be treated under separate headings in the discussion which follows.

In overview it can be concluded that Geoff Gallop's passion for electoral reform culminated politically with the achievement of a modified one-vote-one-value electoral system for the Western Australian Legislative Assembly in 2005. In the process, however, as part of the bargaining process with the Greens the outcome produced a situation where the degree of malapportionment was if anything intensified with regard to the Legislative Council.

Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop. Geoff Gallop at Bond University "Acc" Conference, October 1990. GG00007/1/1. Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop. Geoff Gallop at Bond University "Acc" Conference, October 1990. GG00007/1/1.

In addition, the realities of the political situation meant that he could not continue with the same vigour to pursue over the years other aspects of constitutional/electoral reform to which he had a strong commitment, most obviously the issue of the consolidation of the State's constitution. Nevertheless, reform of the Legislative Council in terms of its powers relative to the Legislative Assembly and broader issues related to citizenship formed an ongoing part of his political and intellectual outlook for many years.

Constitutional Reform: Consolidating the Constitution

The breadth of issues which concerned Gallop with regard to constitutional/electoral matters is clearly demonstrated firstly with the publication in August 1990 - and timed to coincide with the centenary of self government and a bicameral legislature in Western Australia - of excerpts from five of his parliamentary speeches under the title 'Labor's Case for Parliamentary Democracy'.1 In addition, some of these speeches also formed the basis of articles which appeared in a 1998 omnibus volume entitled 'A State of reform: Essays for a better future' and with a foreword written by British prime minister and close colleague at Oxford University,Tony Blair.2

In his inaugural (maiden) speech on 18 June 1986 Gallop, after the usual preliminaries, set about outlining his concern about Western Australia's constitution. In his own words

'In fact there is not a State Constitution. There are a number of Acts of Parliament which make up what we would call a Constitution'.3

His concern was such that in 1989 he returned to the issue and initiated moves for a Joint Select Committee to seek the consolidation of the State's Constitution. The central issue in his view was the necessity for Western Australia's Constitution Act 1889 and Constitution Acts Amendment Act 1899 to be consolidated.4 In this regard the somewhat extraordinary decision of the Forrest Government to amend the State's Constitution Act 1889 with the separate and coexisting Constitution Acts Amendment Act in 1899 was seen by Gallop as having produced a constitution of uncertain dimensions and with a great deal of unduly legalistic and/or redundant phraseology. Consolidating the constitution, he contended, would also provide the opportunity for seeking consensus 'regarding possible areas of reform to the Constitution'. These included making explicit rather than implicit the principles which underlay the system, not the least of these being the lack of precision concerning the role and respective powers of the Governor and Premier. As it eventuated, the Joint Select Committee was formed in 1990 but as a Minister for the Crown by that time Gallop did not participate. In any case the all-party committee failed to reach agreement on the content of the constitution and the areas which required reform.

A by-product of Gallop's argument for the consolidation of the constitution was his contention that once consolidated the Constitution should be subject to a 'proper process of entrenchment'. This would mean that constitutional amendments thereafter would require a referendum and not simply be subject to the whim of a particular Parliament.

Cover of "A State of Reform: Essays for a Better Future" by Geoff Gallop, 1998. Cover of A State of Reform: Essays for a Better Future by Geoff Gallop, 1998.



Cover of "The States and Federalism". Maiden speech of Dr Geoffrey Gallop, MLA. Cover of The States and Federalism. Maiden speech of Dr Geoffrey Gallop, MLA.

Constitutional Reform: Power and Role of the Legislative Council

A further strong constitutional reform area of interest for Gallop, especially in the wake of the 1975 constitutional crisis, 5 was that of the continuing capacity of the Legislative Council to block supply without itself being forced to election if this occurred. Against this background in 1989 and again in 1990 he spoke on the issue of resolving disagreements between the houses at a time when there was much public debate about the possibility of the Legislative Council taking this extreme action for the first time in its history. The latter did not eventuate but Gallop returned to the issue in A State of Reform citing ten case studies over the years as examples of the 'uncertainty and potential instability that lies at the heart of a dispute over Supply'.6 His summation was that the existence of the power to block supply 'contradicts our system of responsible government' ... and 'leads to a situation where the Governor would be forced to take a role ... where he would seem to be ... biased in the system.'

During his Opposition leader period he also took the opportunity to address the Lawson Institute' on 21 May 1997 on 'The Role of the Legislative Council' 7 the day before the Greens and the Australian Democrats first held the balance of power in the Upper House between the major parties. While Gallop welcomed the new development as an outcome of the adoption of the principle of proportional representation as introduced by the Burke Government in 1987, he deplored the fact that the new system had not been able to develop its true potential because of 'the continuance of malapportionment and the peculiarities of the regional system of election'.8 He also addressed the future conduct of the proceedings of the House and that negotiation between the Government other parties to secure the passage of its legislation should be on the basis of 'principle rather than convenience' and to provide opportunities for community input and the utilisation of the House's committee system.

Constitutional Reform: Active Citizenship

On a broader front Gallop consistently urged reforms designed to make the constitutional language clearer 'in the interests of political education' 9: in Gallop's own words that 'in any political system with a democratic colouring ... citizens should know what their Constitution says, and be able to read it and understand what it says about the rules of the game'.10 In this regard, too, he placed considerable stress on the concept of active citizenship with the need for 'all individuals to have the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will allow them to participate effectively in society'.11 This he asserted involves, on the part of the citizen, not just voting but a wide range of participatory activities centred on pressure groups, local organisations, voluntary sporting activities etc.

Gallop took up this issue again in a submission to the Civic Experts Group in September 1994 on the concept of 'active citizenship'. He posed three questions;

  • 'What do Australians know about their political system',
  • 'Do Australians have the skills to be actively involved in our democracy'
  • 'What do Australians think about politics and the political process'

The essence of his argument was the need for a strong focus on political education to ensure that young people would leave school 'knowledgeable about and capable of participating in our political system'. The stress, he argued, should be not just on the acquisition of knowledge about the institutions but also on the development of participatory skills'. This submission was also published in 'A State of Reform'.12

Constitutional Reform: Citizens' Referendums

One other constitutional/electoral issue on which he spoke early in his career concerned a proposal coming from the Liberal Party in 1988 for the adoption of a system of citizens' referendums in Western Australia. This he described as a 'trendy populist' cause supported without 'any real assessment of what may be the consequences ... for the legislative process in this State'.13

His major concern focussed on the capacity of particular groups to 'mobilise opinion and organise fairly sophisticated, heavily funded campaigns against legislation framed by legislators seeking to fulfil 'the interests of all of society' and 'to look at the interests of future generations and not just the present generation'.

Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop. Geoff Gallop at a "Youth and Credit" function, Alexander Library Building, 1990. GG00007/1/10. Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop. Geoff Gallop at a "Youth and Credit" function, Alexander Library Building, 1990. GG00007/1/10.

Electoral Reform: 'One-Vote-One-Value'

If his views on constitutional reform were made apparent very early in his political career nevertheless it was his 'passion' (in the words of one commentator) concerning the need for abolition of malapportionment or vote weighting in electoral seat distributions which became perhaps the major driving force for change for much of his political career.14 In Gallop's view;

'It does not make sense either logically or ethically to establish the right of a person to vote and then diminish the value of that vote in relation to the votes cast by others'.15

From his perspective, malapportionment had the effect of creating 'socially destructive inequalities in the distribution of political power'. His participation in debates on the issue included a submission to the Constitutional Advisory Committee on Individual and Democratic Rights in 1986 and to the Commission on Government in 1995 16 as well as attempted state legislation and legal challenges in the High Court. However, it was only in the aftermath of the 2005 election victory that a temporary majority in the Legislative Council prior to May 2005 enabled the passage of a bill producing a substantial measure of one-vote-one-value for the Legislative Assembly, though, as already indicated, not for the Legislative Council.

Perhaps the most substantial example of his argument for 'One-Vote-One-Value' was the article which appeared as Essay One in 'A State of Reform',an article based on his 1986 submission as well as two parliamentary speeches in 1986 and 1993 when he was debating attempted amending legislation.17 Having surveyed the history of the one-vote-one-value concept he argued that the minimum conditions of democracy went beyond the notion of one person one vote to the assertion that all these votes should be of the same value and. citing a speech from a former non-Labor politician, he asserted that arguments for mathematical weighting for example based on the problems of representing particular areas of the state were fallacious:

'To make a difference between the voting capacity of citizens in various parts of the State from the point of view of the convenience of the man who represents them, seems to me to be quite wrong.'18

In any case he argued systematic malapportionment had emerged early in the State's history and 'those who have gained from its preservation ... have been vigilant in its defence'.19

Electoral Reform: the Western Australian Electoral Commission

Part of his vigorous advocacy of electoral reform, and on which he focussed early in his parliamentary career, was his support for the establishment of an independent statutory commission to be responsible for the conduct of the state's elections and significantly, the drawing of electoral boundaries based on principles set down by the Parliament. This was embodied in legislation passed in 1987 which established as an independent statutory body the Western Australian Electoral Commission.20


In addition to expressing his views on constitutional and electoral reform within the Western Australian system Geoff Gallop also devoted a major part of his inaugural speech to expressing strong support for federalism which he claimed 'provides the most appropriate form of government for Australia'.

'Not only does it [federalism] reflect our history, the development of our country as a nation, but also it guarantees a degree of political diversity so easily lost in a unitary system'.

At the same time he did argue that federalism had to be capable of 'development and flexibility' in order to be 'productive of social good' Indeed, it has been suggested that his arguments with the Commonwealth government while Premier over the national government's attempted insistence on the regulation of Western Australia's shopping hours as part of 'national competition policy' showed just such a disregard by the national government of 'social good'.21 The States he believed did have 'an important constructive role to play' but any commitment to State Rights 'had to be in the overall context of a commitment to national development'.

During his first three years in Opposition he returned to the federalism theme on more than one occasion. One paper, 'State Rights for What', developed from one first delivered in March 1994 to a Constitutional Committee seminar at Edith Cowan University, and was published, subsequently in 1995 in Wiser: Journal of the Whitlam Institute for Social Reform 22 and again in 1998 in 'A State of Reform'.23 In this paper Gallop argued that 'Long marches back to 1901 or forward to a unitary state in 2001 are both misguided'. Specifically, the major emphasis of the paper was that States Rights rhetoric all too frequently tended to elevate 'state rights above more fundamental human rights'. Accordingly, in this regard he focussed on issues such as Electoral Reform and Aboriginal Land Rights where the Western Australian Government in his view had continued 'to fail miserably in its own sphere of influence'.

In 1995 he also addressed the Australasian Study of Parliament Group in Darwin on the topic 'High Court: Usurper or Guardian' 24. A year earlier he had analysed the role of the High Court in a paper delivered at a conference at Edith Cowan University in Perth entitled 'The High Court and Electoral reform in Western Australia'. Again both these papers were included in 'A State of Reform'.25 The emphasis in the 1995 paper was essentially on his belief that the High Court should pay more explicit attention to the concept of implied human rights in the Australian Constitution. More specifically, the earlier article focussed on a plea to the High Court to play a more active role in the quest for electoral reform in the West, a hardly surprising viewpoint considering the State's inability to secure a favourable High Court ruling on one-vote-one-value issues. In the 'Usurper or Guardian' article Gallop contended that it could not be assumed that the doctrine of an implied Bill of Rights in the Australian Constitution would necessarily emerge from the then current High Court and indeed

'to say ... that our system of government worked well-and indeed better- without a High Court willing to contemplate wider rights and freedoms ... is to adopt a particularly blinkered view of our past and a particularly narrow and pessimistic view of political purpose and political possibility'.26

It was during his term as Premier however that Gallop gave probably the most significant insight into his attitude to the federal system while delivering the Inaugural John Forrest Lecture in March 2003 for the Australian Association of Constitutional Law.27 During the address, on more than occasion he praised Forrest for providing leadership during the debates over Western Australia's proposed entry into the proposed federation of the Australian colonies.

'If he had not maintained his firm belief in federation against the will of his own supporters and if he had not bargained so tenaciously for his colony's needs, it would have been less easy to persuade WA to vote in favour of federation'.

Citing examples of a new style of cooperative federalism he saw emerging in Australia, Gallop referred to Forrest as wishing 'to move beyond colonial boundaries with federation and inter-connected infrastructure' (e.g. the Trans-Australia railway). He listed among the key points of Forrest's legacy that he:

'placed Western Australia within the context of the Federation. This was not just a pragmatic consideration but a fundamental principle of national aspiration'.


'he called on Western Australians to expand their horizons, learn from the world and seek improvement. He knew that parochialism and self interests were never enough'.

Five years later he had the opportunity to expand his views on cooperative federalism during the course of the debate arising out of the more controversial aspects of the later years of John Howard's prime ministership Gallop's contribution in 2008 to 'Dear Mr Rudd: Ideas for a Better Australia', a volume edited by Robert Manne was on the topic 'The Federation'. Gallop focussed on the debate between Kevin Rudd's 'co-operative federalism' and John Howard's 'aspirational federalism'.28 As he had done earlier from time to time Gallop emphasised Labor's 'reconciliation with federalism' which he linked to Gough Whitlam's new federalism' and with the emergence (for example with Don Dunstan in South Australia) of a 'new-look reformist ALP at the state level'. The Hawke Government's program on microeconomic reform, he asserted, made clear that 'the states had to be key players'. In a partial turnaround from his earlier criticism of the Commonwealth Gallop referred to the National Competition Policy Agreement of 1995 as an example of 'creative federalism' and accordingly at the heart of 'the case for federalism' which focussed on 'creating multiple centres of power' and entrenching them in a constitution. Federalism, he contended, provided:

  • a choice for electors
  • checks and balances
  • variation and political differentiation in both policies and systems of government
  • competition to attract people and investment

While arguing for some form of constitutional convention to reassess federalism, he also advocated in the short term that there should be a review of Special Purpose Programs. This he saw as being part of a new reform agenda based on, for example, agreements between the Commonwealth and the States on a range of goals with benchmarks for assessing performance e.g. 'reducing the proportion of the population not working because of ill-health ' or 'increasing the proportion of students achieving benchmarks of literacy, numeracy and writing'. Ultimately, 'the health of the system' in his view was critical for the achievement of all the other goals.

Relationship Between Government and Business

During the 1990s Geoff Gallop began to pursue actively in his speeches and writings issues relating to the question of what should be the proper relationship between government and business especially in the light of the losses and lack of accountability apparent during the latter years of the WA Inc. era. 29 In 1995 in a submission, subsequently published in 'A State of Reform 30, to the Commission on Government, the body established as a consequence of the report of the WA Inc. Royal Commission, under the heading 'Accountability and Open Government', he raised his concerns that the evolving relationship between government and business under the new non-Labor regime would impose barriers to the development of accountable and open government under the Freedom of Information legislation passed earlier in the decade. Specifically, he contended that:

'as the Government moves to contract out more of its services to the private sector the claims of 'commercial confidentiality' are likely to have even more negative impact than they do now on the ability of the public and Parliament to gain information'.31

Even in this submission he did not overlook the opportunity again to urge electoral reform, contending that there was a need for 'a wider balance of interests in the [Legislative] Council brought about by a more appropriate application of the principle of proportional representation'. This he argued would place Parliament 'in a stronger position to insist upon and extract higher standards of openness from the Executive.

Gallop's wider concerns over the issue of the relationship between government and business were clearly evident in the paper published in 1996 in the Evatt Papers and designated 'The State as market. Western Australia in the 1990s', and then again in 'A State of Reform'.32 His approach in this article was to reflect on the 1980s and the concept of 'The State as Entrepreneur', in order to outline his "Reform Agenda' designed to overcome problems of interpenetration of government and private interests.

In outlining his perceptions of the government-business relationship in the 1980s Gallop considered that the so-called WA Inc. era had emerged from the assumption that the local capital market was underdeveloped and needed assistance and the State Government needed new sources of revenue. The entry of the Government in the world of business and commerce had led in turn to an environment of less control/high risk behaviour and the problem that 'the Government's fortunes came to be linked with the fortunes of particular business men'. By contrast, the Court Government worked on the basis that 'private money and private sector practices, particularly work practices, would be brought to the public sector' and on the basis of the involvement of the private sector 'as providers of a range of services traditionally delivered by Government'.33 In his view, the Court Government had reversed the process of government entering business, as practised in the Burke and Dowding administration, by penetrating business into government-by privatisation and by contracting out in all areas of government activity-and in this sense private sector involvement in government service delivery was as problematic as had been government investment in the economy in the 1980s. In brief, he argued 'the ability of business to influence government ought itself to be subject to regulation and restriction if the public interest is to be protected'. 34

During the first of his four years as Opposition leader Geoff Gallop returned again in his writings to the government-business relationship issue. Following on from his 'State as Market' paper, Gallop in 1997 published in the Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration an article entitled 'From Government in Business to Business in Government'.35 Essentially, his restated theme was that the concept of 'business in government', which he saw as epitomising the approach of the Court Government, had in his view 'the potential to cause similar problems of conflict of interest and potential for corruption as those faced by the previous Labor ministries' i.e. with their government in business approach. A related paper originally entitled 'Capitalism that Works for Everyone' and originally delivered to a seminar at Murdoch University in October 1997 was then republished in the 1998 'A State of Reform' volume as 'The State and Business'. The state, he argued, did have a role to play in relationship with business but in the context where the state was able 'to recognise and institutionalise its limitations'. Specifically he argued that if Government focussed on 'the development of infrastructure plans, a strong commitment to education and training, an open and inclusive political system, and political and financial support to access overseas markets', these aspects would 'assist business in the highly competitive, increasingly global marketplace'.

A Broader Measure of GDP

Having developed his theme about the pitfalls of the government-business relationship Gallop began to turn his attention to a broader conception of the role of the government going beyond the issues of 'privatisation and contracting out'. In 1997 in the Institute for Research and International Competitiveness Discussion paper series at Curtin University, Gallop wrote a paper (published again in 'A State of Reform') entitled 'A New Measure of Progress for WA' with an attack on 'the adequacy of the conventional measure of Gross Domestic Product as an indication of economic and social development'.36 In its stead, he supported such alternative measures as the 'Genuine Progress Indicator' (GPI) in the USA and the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) as used by the New Economics Foundation in the United Kingdom. In his view the measure of gross domestic product 'says nothing about what is desirable and what is undesirable in our society. By contrast the GPI was inclusive of 'more than twenty aspects of contemporary economic life' taking into account such aspects as the value of household and community work and, on the negative side, crime related costs. Similarly, the ISEW included adjustments to allow for the costs of air pollution, of commuting to work and broad factors generally relating to social welfare and environmental quality.

In similar vein, in 1999 he delivered the Reid Oration subsequently published in The Journal of Contemporary Issues in Business and Government under the title 'Drawing the Line Between Public and Private'.37 The central theme of the address, as in the 1997 paper, was the need to move beyond the measure of Gross Domestic Product to the setting of 'social, economic and environmental benchmarks'. Priorities for governments, Gallop argued, should be set for government as a whole and designed to incorporate economic, social and environmental factors in the process using alternative progress indicators and setting social, economic and environmental benchmarks.

Community Issues

As member for Victoria Park Geoff Gallop spent a great deal of time writing short histories of Victoria Park and surrounding suburbs, brought together in a collection entitled 'From the Swan to the Canning' and produced in December 1989 and then further discussed in 1994 in a conference paper 'A Sense of Place for a Sense of Community'.38

In addition, he included two articles relating to suburban and community life in 'A State of Reform' entitled respectively 'Reviving the Suburbs' and 'A Vision for Perth'.39 'A Vision for Perth' developed from a speech to the Western Australian branch of the Property Council of Australia on 12 September 1997. Contending that the focus should be the metropolis around Perth and not just the CBD Gallop argued for the establishment of a green belt around the 'current boundaries of Perth', the creation of sub-centres with a mixture of houses, shops and jobs, the development of a public transport strategy and for finding 'new ways to connect the planning and political processes to people, where they live in suburbs'. In the related article 'Reviving the Suburbs', first published in 1997 for the Australian Library and Information Association, 40 he focussed on the relationship between the whole and the parts in metropolitan Perth.

Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop.  Geoff Gallop with staff of Bentley Pharmacy, 2004. GG00020/12. Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop. Geoff Gallop with staff of Bentley Pharmacy, 2004. GG00020/12

In this article he placed considerable emphasis on balancing residential communities against non-residential communities. The New Urbanism from the US, he argued, emphasised the need to create 'walkable communities' and with neighbourhood-scale commercial and retail outlets to serve these smaller communities.

The 'Third Way' - A New Concept of Social Welfare

In the last period before he became Premier Gallop moved towards developing a new concept of social democracy, the broad concept with which he identified the ALP. His article 'Is there a Third Way?' 41 appeared in a University of Western Australia Press publication in 2001 with the broader title 'Left Directions: is there a third way?'. The paper focussed initially on tracing the emergence and development of social democracy and then on what he described as 'the challenge to social democracy'. The so-called 'Third Way' concept 'coming as it does after the collapse of both Thatcherism and Communism' was analysed under the headings 'A Managed Market', 'Building Communities'. 'Reforming Service Delivery' and 'Strengthening Democracy'. In Gallop's view, post-war social democrats had 'assumed too readily that money to the state would guarantee equal opportunities' and needed to recognise and accept 'the limitations and constraints of state action as an instrument of social change' while still asserting' its centrality as part of the democratic package that seeks the public interest'. His succinct conclusion was that from the attempt to integrate 'liberty and equality' social democrats need to move on to conceptualising the integration of 'liberty, equality and community' and take advantage of the 'range of insights that Third Way thinking has brought to the discussion about democratic participation, service delivery, the new economy and community-building'.

Five years later, having returned to academic life he took up the thrust of this argument when he delivered the 2006 Sambell oration for the Brotherhood of St Laurence entitled 'Rights and Responsibilities; towards a genuinely Australian understanding'.42 In the course of this address Gallop argued that how we choose determines the type of society in which we live. Decisions-even non-decisions-will all have their consequences. We can never escape from freedom-it is inherent in the human condition. In terms of 'human rights and responsibilities' he described rights without responsibilities as pure abstractions and responsibilities without rights as empty.

Much of the address was focussed on an historical survey of social rights dealing in turn with the early capitalism, mature capitalism and post-industrial capitalism eras and centred on three historical streams of thought:

'the approach of Tom Paine and others who argued that rights 'could not be properly exercised without good health, literacy and numeracy, a decent income with provision for old age and death and, importantly, the capital and skills necessary for work'.

'the welfare state doctrine enunciated by T H Marshall that there needs to be 'a general enrichment of the concrete substance of civilised life, a general reduction of risk and insecurity, an equalisation between the more and the less fortunate at all levels ... [and] linked to the need to develop strategies for full employment' as 'an essential element in this post-war version of welfare capitalism'.

'The thesis developed by Anthony Giddens and subsequently other New Radicals with the need identified 'not to take society beyond the market but to work with the market to expand opportunities'.

This he called 'positive welfare' in a 'social investment state and the need for an 'entrepreneurial culture' with 'those apparently excluded given the chance to enter the mainstream'. Traditionally 'personal responsibility was assumed and the role of government was to allow it to work by guaranteeing rights and helping develop individual capacities'. For the new radicals 'responsibility cannot be assumed and the role of government is to recover it where it has been lost'. This Gallop contended would involve programmes to enable people to develop or update skills and to deal with issues of lack of self confidence. In his view narrow income-based supports were if anything 'defeating the very purposes for which they were established'.

Gallop concluded the address with reference to issues arising from the concept of 'mutual obligation' which he contended needed to be based 'in the real world context of individual capacities and circumstances and labour market conditions'. This implied that the welfare state needed to become a truly enabling state.

Western Australia's Economy and the Way Forward

One year before he became Premier Geoff Gallop delivered the theme lecture to the University of Western Australia Summer School on the topic 'Western Australia-The Way Forward'.43 In the course of the address he surveyed the State's economic development and 21st century challenges and opportunities centring the latter discussion on 'Globalisation', 'The meaning of progress', 'environmental sustainability' and 'the state of democracy' In terms of progress he emphasised the distinction between 'growth' and 'progress ' in terms of 'quality of our society'. His discussion of democracy subsequently centred on the paradox that 'democracy is spreading over the world' but in the 'mature democracies . . . there is widespread disillusionment with democratic procedures'.44 In planning for the way ahead Gallop suggested the need for social, economic and environment benchmarks and what he called a 'holistic, preventive and regional' approach to the delivery of government services. After surveying a range of means 'embracing the economic opportunities' he concluded with a focus on 'Strengthening Democracy' through such means as citizens' juries, the holding of a Constitution Convention to provide a model for the selection of the Governor and the adoption of an 'agreements-based approach' to deal with native title issues.

In April 2001, just two months after he had been sworn in as Premier, Gallop addressed the Western Australian Business Economics Forum on the topic 'An Internationally Competitive Western Australia: what can the government do?' and this was subsequently published in 2002 in the Western Australian Quarterly Bulletin of Economic Trends.45 Describing Western Australia as 'an internationally focussed, export driven state' he suggested that its very isolation had made globalisation an ever-present reality for Western Australia and that to its natural endowments had to be added innovation to maintain competitiveness. From his standpoint therefore, and with the economy 'in good shape', the government's task was to build on the state's competitive strengths and to diversify the economic base. The three key areas he identified were:

  • Developing Western Australia's role in the knowledge based economy
  • Maintaining a global focus and
  • Adding to the State's infrastructure

and he also emphasised the State's unfavourable treatment from the Commonwealth Grants Commission.46

A little over thee years later the Business Review Weekly published a series of short articles on the states and territories in terms of what distinctive attributes and strengths each could offer. Geoff Gallop's short piece on WA was headed 'Big, bigger and booming'. As in 2001, he referred to a state with a high level of economic activity as having an assured reputation as the 'engine-room of the nation's economy' while still providing a very affordable place in which to live and do business'.47

Multiculturalism and Religious Toleration

The September 2001 attack on the World Trade centre impacted directly on Australian politics in many ways. It was also instrumental in Geoff Gallop focussing in the years that followed on issues pertaining to multiculturalism and religious toleration.

Thus, in September 2003 he delivered the annual Walter Murdoch lecture at Murdoch University with the title 'Living with Difference: Does Multiculturalism have a Future?'.48

In so doing Gallop made his first significant excursion into a field on which he was to speak and write on several subsequent occasions. From the outset he urged;

'While acknowledging the elevated status that Christianity, in particular Anglicanism, has historically held in our system of Government, I must reiterate the importance of neutrality and secularism to our democratic society'.

Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop. Geoff Gallop Swan TAFE Carlisle campus, 2004. GG00020/54
Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop. Geoff Gallop Swan TAFE Carlisle campus, 2004. GG00020/5

With this in mind he stressed the need to

  • Modify the structural inequalities between religious groups in terms of their access to the administrative structures of the state
  • Balance competing claims for recognition in areas like religion and culture, in the process embracing particularity in a way that is fair to all the different particularities
  • Go beyond passive tolerance to a more positive tolerance, a condition of mutual respect. This approach he argued would enhance the compromises that are essential to democratic pluralism.

Gallop's interest in the links and relationships between religion and politics was apparent again in 2006 when he published in The New Critic an article entitled 'Religion, Politics and Buddhism'.49 In the article he referred to the dichotomy between those seeing religion as 'the liberation of politics from relativism and cynicism' and those who saw it as 'the poisoning of politics with fear and intolerance'. Gallop contended that fundamentalism in the 1950s and 1960s had been 'in retreat' in many areas of the world where 'the western ideal of progress became the model for the ruling class'. This was followed in subsequent decades by a revival of fundamentalism and with religion 'no longer personal and private' but 'political and public'. Adherents of the new fundamentalism he described as hostile not only to 'the world in which they live but also to the moderate version of their own religion'. Multiculturalism and sexual equality he argued were two particular targets of attack with the world 'hijacked' into a 'mutually reinforcing "Islamic Jihad" and "War on terror".'

Against this background Gallop considered the contribution of Buddhism which he saw as having' an enormous capacity to assist humanity to meet the challenges of the day through its non-dogmatic approach, its belief in science ... ' His plea was for an absence of absolutes and instead a bias towards human rights, freedom, engagement, compassion and peace. This to him required political leadership providing 'strength and protection' while looking beyond boundaries imposed by 'location, time, belief and intellect'.

His opportunity to expand further on these views came in July 2008 when he addressed an Institute of Advanced Studies seminar at a public lecture entitled 'Religion and politics: trusted friends or sworn enemies'.50 In his view, 'the Iranian Revolution and Islamic radicalism generally' put paid to the thesis of inevitable secularisation in the face of science-produced prosperity and this in a time 'of global change and uncertainty'. It was in this context that he endeavoured to explore the nature of politics as 'a way of guiding us along the right path' and with its enemies as 'tyranny on one side and anarchy on the other'. The problem is that religion can be perceived at one end of the spectrum as 'the liberation of politics from cynicism' but at the other 'as the poisoning of politics with fear and intolerance'. Gallop's message was essentially that

'Truths about the centrality of freedom ... need to be defended by all people of good will, be they fundamentalists or sceptics, agnostics or atheists, believers or non-believers'.

His conclusion was that 'politics cannot expect to be completely free of religion, nor can religion expect to be completely free of politics' and this needs to be one of the 'great compromises of modern history'. In his view 'faith linked to certainty linked to power can distort our reasoning and distort our body politic' where the world of politics 'is the world of diversity and contested ideas'. Yet religion can play a valuable role as social critique and battles between good and evil are settled not only by economic power and military strength but also by 'subjective factors like the extent and depth of political commitment and the ideas and values involved are 'central to the concerns of religion'. Put simply, politics is a friend of religion but one which defends freedom and sensible compromises.

Government and the Public Service

On 25 October 2006, presumably as a consequence of his new employment in the Graduate School of Government at the University of Sydney, and as the first of a series of relevant addresses and publications, Gallop delivered a lecture entitled 'Towards a New Era of Strategic Government' as part of the Australian and New Zealand School of Government's ANU lecture program. The lecture was subsequently published in an ANU e press volume A Passion for Policy: Essays in Public Sector Reform 51 In the lecture Gallop dealt with the concept of Strategic Government involving

The outlining of a vision, the setting of objectives and targets in consultation with the public, the development of strategies to achieve the objectives, and the formation of collaborative arrangements within government and between the government and private and community sectors to carry out these strategies.

In his view, people themselves had to be involved in problem-solving and capacity building, making people co-producers rather than just citizens and subjects, customers and clients. The emphasis was not just on efficiency but also on effectiveness. Efficiency, he believed, was associated with an economic theory of resource allocation via markets and while 'some government agencies are like business and governments need to be business-like ... governments are not businesses. Values related to family, community and nation have to be protected and promoted 'in the market-place of modern ideas'.

In terms of health policy, in the lecture he focussed on the need to move beyond treatment to prevention; in education, on the necessity to achieve outcomes as well as teach a curriculum; and, in policing, on the endeavour to deal with the causes of crime. At the international level, he saw global warming and terrorism as major issues having 'a significant impact on government priorities and their delivery'. In essence, Gallop tried to present a view of 'government alongside the community working with it to solve problems'. His commitment to this approach can also be seen in his role in the establishment of a Sustainability Policy Unit in the Department of Premier and Cabinet discussed further below.

In similar vein to his 2006 lecture, in April 2008 Gallop published in Public Administration Today a paper entitled 'Strategic Planning: Is it the New Model?' 52 focussing on what he believed to be the failure of New Policy management embodied in 'political economy and a philosophy of market liberalism'.

Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop. Geoff Gallop at the Premier's Water Foundation Industry Awards presentation, 2004. GG00020/61 Curtin University Library. Geoff Gallop Collection. Records of Geoff Gallop. Geoff Gallop at the Premier's Water Foundation Industry Awards presentation, 2004. GG00020/61

The Strategic Government alternative embodied 'a renewed belief in social change as the desired objective of government action'. This he contended required the development of a strategic plan, wide use of public consultation and engagement, a more systematic attempt to bring a 'whole of government' perspective to public management and policy innovation, as well as an increasing use of the principle of sustainability with social, economic and environmental objectives, (as is discussed further below).

One offshoot of this new approach, he considered, was to bring the ministers of state back into the managerial equation with, in the process, the relationship between ministers and public servants would become more balanced than was the case either with traditional ministerial responsibility or the alternative 'let the managers manage' philosophy.

A year earlier Gallop had taken up the accountability issue more specifically in an article 'Who Governs the Governors? Public Accountability Today' published in Public Administration Today 53. Put simply, he argued, elected politicians were acquiring more power and less responsibility and senior public servants less power and more responsibility while within government the ministers were becoming themselves increasingly accountable to the prime minister or premier. Part of the solution he suggested lay in the increasing wish to incorporate 'democratic engagement in the strategic planning process itself' with a consequential collective responsibility. The problem he suggested lay in how to 'institutionalise this evolutionary and learning approach to government' to deal with 'day-to-day crises and unforseen events without allowing the longer-term processes to be thrown off course'.

Then, in March 2008 , continuing on with his theme of government, policy making and the role of the public service, Gallop addressed the Leader to Leader Session of the Public Service Commission in Canberra on 'What is the Point of Public service' 54 or how to put the science of administration 'to work on behalf of the emerging democracy'. Much of the address focussed on the concept of the public interest which he saw as providing guidance for public servants in relation to 'the obligation of the system itself, the obligation to the government of the day and the obligation to perform as the job requires'. The public interest he considered embraces minorities as well as majorities ... the environment as well as the economy ... the long term as well as the immediate interests of the community ... and our heritage as well as our opportunities.' The principles of sustainability demanded, he believed, a focus on this complex range of interests. Government is ultimately 'a crucial link between individuals and the wider community'.

Sustainability and Deliberative Democracy

Although Geoff Gallop has not himself written papers specifically on the concepts of sustainability in general and deliberative democracy in particular he had a strong personal commitment to supporting those academics who did write on such issues. In July 2001, early in the life of the Gallop Government a Sustainability Policy Unit was established in the department of Premier and Cabinet and in September 2003 it produced Hope for the Future. The Western Australian State Sustainability Strategy. In Gallop's own words, the paper was designed to present sustainability as an integrated whole-of-government approach to many deep-seated issues centred on 'meeting the needs of current and future generations through an 'integration of environmental protection, social advancement and economic prosperity'. Among issues central to the Strategy Unit were environmental protection for the Ningaloo Coast, strengthening the legislation prohibiting the transportation or storage of nuclear waste in Western Australia, implementing State Water Strategy, emphasising the revitalisation of suburbs, developing a strategic framework for waste management and developing industry partnerships.

One important outcome linked closely to Geoff Gallop's personal views on the nature of the State Constitution was the attempt to promote 'effective public consultation and active citizenship' though forms of deliberative democracy. Deliberative democracy implies a process in which

'people of all races, classes, ages and geographies [are included] in deliberations that directly affect public decision. As a result citizens influence-and can seethe result of their influence on-the policy and resource decision that impact their daily lives and future'.55

During the early years of the Gallop Government two major deliberative democracy projects were

  • 'Dialogue with the city' a deliberative process designed to develop a plan to make 'Perth, the world's most liveable city by 2030'
  • The Scarborough Deliberative Survey concerned in particular with community involvement in planning the restrictions deemed desirable with regard to high rise development.

Summary and Assessment

During the more than thirty years since he first completed thesis topics and wrote articles for publication Geoff Gallop has moved his focus of attention part way across the political spectrum and also developed special areas of interest arising out of global and domestic politics. The young Geoff Gallop focussed on what might be called liberal radical thought including on the one hand the 'political and social theory of the young Marx' and 'The Two Revolutions in the thought of the Young Marx' and for his Ph.D 'British radical thought 1760-1815'. By the time he had become Premier however he had published his first works centred on the concept of a 'third way' between social democracy and fundamental conservatism. This in turn broadened into firstly, a focus on new concepts of welfare, 'building communities' and, in broader terms, the integration of 'liberty, equality and community' and, secondly, on the need for a 'broader measure' than the narrowly based notion of Gross domestic product. In the interim, for much of the 1980s and 1990s he had focussed in his parliamentary speeches on constitutional and electoral reform to the point where on two occasions he had published on his own account collections of his parliamentary speeches, public addresses and other related papers.

The fluctuations in domestic politics are most clearly reflected in the shift in emphasis during the 1990s from issues pertaining to the very survival of government with the threat of the Legislative Council blocking supply to the broader questions of the relationship between government and business arising from WA Inc. and the subsequent focus on the pitfalls of privatisation by the non-Labor government in the 1990s. By the time he became Premier Gallop had focussed his argument on the notion that the state had a major role to play in relationship with business but only in a manner where it could 'recognise and institutionalise its limitations'. This in turn, especially after his entry into the Graduate School of Government at the University of Sydney, led to articles/addresses focussing on the specific role of the public service and the new developments in relationships between elected politicians and senior public servants.

From the outset Gallop had also seen federalism in one form or other as the most appropriate mode of government for Australia and by the twenty-first century he was writing increasingly on Labor's reconciliation with federalism. In this regard, he was a strong supporter of cooperative federalism linked to an emphasis on the primacy of individual rights and liberties over state rights per se. So much was this the case that when a volume was published in 2008 suggesting' Better Ideas for a New Australia' to the newly elected Kevin Rudd Geoff Gallop's own contribution was on 'The Federation'.

Interestingly, the area on which he himself did not write a great deal directly, but on which he gave huge support to sympathetic academics centred on notions of sustainability which embraced not only specific environmental considerations but also a substantial contribution to varying notions of deliberative democracy and community involvement in key decision making. Indeed his increasing focus on communities and city and suburban life in turn developed from the substantial attention he gave in his earlier years in politics to suburban history as related to his Victoria Park electorate.

Finally, one of the most interesting aspects of Geoff Gallop's articles and addresses in recent years has been his focus on the ramifications of the growth of Islamic and Christian fundamentalism following the apparent triumph of secular society by the 1970s. In this regard, and as an obvious consequence of the 'War on Terror', an issue on which he did part company with Tony Blair, Gallop has given a great deal of thought to the relationship between religion and politics and the need for the development of what he describes as policies of positive toleration. In his view, it is crucial to reiterate 'the importance of neutrality and secularism to our democratic society' and that 'truths about the centrality of freedom need to be defended by all people of good will'.