Male-Female Differences and Media Consumption in Australia's Wartime Election of 2001

Haswell, Sandra (2002). Male-Female Differences and Media Consumption in Australia's Wartime Election of 2001. In: 2002 Conference proceedings. International Conference on Social Sciences, Honolulu, Hawaii, (). 11-15 June, 2002.

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Author Haswell, Sandra
Title of paper Male-Female Differences and Media Consumption in Australia's Wartime Election of 2001
Conference name International Conference on Social Sciences
Conference location Honolulu, Hawaii
Conference dates 11-15 June, 2002
Proceedings title 2002 Conference proceedings
Place of Publication Honolulu, Hawaii
Publisher Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences
Publication Year 2002
Sub-type Fully published paper
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Research consistently shows that western women are not only less supportive of wars than men, but the anti-war, anti-violence stance is among the most marked of gender differences - especially when such issues are salient. Moreover, a substantial number of studies show women to be more caring than men about the well-being of the human race. This paper uses the 2001 Australian Election Study (AES) to test the degree to which these findings gel with what occurred in the Australian national election on 10th November. It also focuses on the influence of media consumption as an explanatory factor. The traditional five-week campaign was dominated by two extraordinary occurrences: the 'war against terrorism', for which Australia was amongst the first American allies to offer military support; and the arrival of boat loads of (mostly middle-eastern) asylum seekers that began several weeks before the election date was announced . Both of Australia's two major political 'parties' - the Liberal-National Coalition and the Australian Labor Party - supported involvement in the 'war against terrorism' and both took a strong stance against asylum seekers. In the main this paper finds these political policy decisions did not alienate women. Contrary to conventional wisdom, relatively few women (and equal to the proportion of men) expressed concern about Australia's support for the 'fight against terrorism'. There was also substantial support for, and little difference in male-female attitudes about turning asylum seekers back. However, a traditional gender gap emerged on the question of Australia's provision of actual military assistance for the war. Even so, a majority of men and women supported the decision, and the gender gap in attitude was absorbed in the uncommitted category rather than being a matter of disagreement with the decision to send Australian troops. The media's extensive coverage - which frequently kept other campaign issues out of the headlines - appears to have contributed to these unusual findings.
Subjects 360101 Australian Government and Politics
2001 Communication and Media Studies
190301 Journalism Studies
Keyword war on terror
election campaigns
federal election
gender differences
asylum seekers
Q-Index Code E4

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Thu, 07 Apr 2005, 10:00:00 EST