Party think tanks as adaptation to the challenge of party linkage: Lessons from Australia

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While parties in established democracies have shown increasing reluctance to forge exclusive ties to organisational mediators, they have not discarded these connections. This article considers one under-explored party organisational mediator, party think tanks. In an in-depth Australian study, this article examines the significance of party think tanks as mechanisms for party linkage. It proposes that such vehicles harness some of the strengths intrinsic to affiliated external organisations and party sub-groups in ways which are more responsive to the challenge of linkage confronting modern parties. The Australia case suggests that party think tanks are used to assist parties to connect to old and new interest constituencies in flexible ways while limiting parties’ exposure to electoral and political risk. The adoption of party think tanks speaks to the ongoing value parties place on organisational mediators, but on terms that they can better control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Australia
  • linkage
  • party think tank
  • political parties
  • state subventions

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