University of Tasmania
Pamela Walker whole thesis.pdf (15.61 MB)

The United Tasmania Group

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posted on 2023-05-27, 14:05 authored by Walker, PF
This thesis argues that the impact of the United Tasmania Group (UTG) on Tasmanian politics cannot be measured by its limited electoral success; rather its achievement is properly measured by the party's contribution to the growth of the environmental movement in Tasmania. The argument presented here demonstrates that the UTG has to be credited with making a major contribution to the development of \one of the most highly skilled and politically advanced environmental movements in the world.\" The UTG was the first political party based on an environmental platform to contest elections within any parliamentary system in the world and was formed to contest the Tasmanian House of Assembly election during the Lake Fedder controversy. The party marked an important milestone in Tasmania's political history in that it challenged for the first time the traditional orthodoxy of successive governments and the ossified policy of hydro-industrialisation. However concerned citizens who formed the membership of the party were politically inexperienced and were reluctantly forced to directly challenge the Government's decision to flood Lake Fedder in the political arena. This unprecedented action was a direct result of conservationists' experience with the decision-making processes which they claimed excluded any form of public participation and represented only one set of values- namely the technocratic and economic values entrenched in hydro-industrialisation. For the first time the UTG exposed the close relationship between the Hydro-Electric Commission (HEC) and the governing parties in Tasmania. The thesis will establish that the UTG was a political party inextricably linked to an emerging environmental movement which simply by virtue of its size and growth can be classified as a social movement. Similar to most social movements the environmental movement arose from discontent with many of the customary values of society. The UTG like other environmental groups represented a concerted effort to institutionalise alternative values. The UTG will be analysed from a perspective which relates the party to the political system accounts for its political efficacy and assesses it impact on the environmental movement and the political system in Tasmania."


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