Library Dissertation Showcase

Votes, office, policy, or something else? A qualitative study of legislative party switching in Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2022

This research examined legislative party switching in Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It tested Heller and Mershon’s ambition theory as an explanation of why legislators switch parties, finding that while having some applicability, it nevertheless failed to account for several key reasons switchers gave for changing parties. Instead, I propose using a framework of push and pull factors to understand the phenomenon. Additionally, this research compared the reasons legislators gave for switching between the three countries, finding a great deal of similarity. The largest difference was in the establishment of new parties, with Australian switchers largely doing so to offset the disadvantages of being an independent legislator while switchers in Ireland and the UK did so for other reasons, such as ideology.

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