This book provides a genealogical study of Australian agricultural restructuring, focusing on the case study of wheat export market deregulation. This policy shift was implemented in 2008, ending 60 years of statutory wheat marketing. At the time, policy makers claimed that market liberalisation would empower individual growers, providing them with choice and freedom through uninhibited participation in markets. However, regional wheat markets have become concentrated, and are increasingly controlled by a small number of transnational agribusiness firms, which have been increasingly active in setting the policy agenda in Australian agriculture. The book delves into the discursive construction of policy truths such as efficiency, competition, and the consumer, to understand how this shift was made possible, whose interests have been served, and what the implications of this shift have been. This book focuses on the machinations which contributed to this shift by examining the construction of knowledge, values and identities, which have helped to make the transition from the public to the private appear as a logical, common sense solution to the challenges facing Australian agriculture. The author shows how governmental technologies such as audit, cost-benefit analysis, performance objectives and the consumer were used to make this reality operable. In doing so, he argues that this shift should be viewed as part of the broader restructuring of Australian society, which has facilitated the transference of economic and policy making power from the public to the private.
About the Author
Patrick O’Keeffe completed his PhD research at RMIT University in 2018. Patrick’s research has been published by the following peer reviewed journals: Agriculture and Human Values, Space and Polity, Australian Geographer, Journal of Sociology, Rural Society and Journal of Australian Political Economy. Patrick is a lecturer at the RMIT University’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.