Transitioning from Parliament: The Victorian Experience and Beyond
A career in parliament is inherently transitory, and parliamentary turnover is critical for a healthy democracy. Yet many MPs fail to prepare for the time when they must leave parliament. This lack of preparedness exacerbates the challenges of post-parliamentary life. First, this presentation reports on research conducted with former members of the Parliament of Victoria on the experiences of MPs leaving parliament. It finds that former MPs, particularly those who leave the parliament involuntarily, experience serious challenges including a loss of identity, a fracturing of social relationships, and employment and financial stress. These outcomes may have democratic implications by discouraging highly capable candidates from diverse backgrounds from pursuing a career in parliament. However, these issues can be mitigated through the implementation of a range of measures to smooth the transition process. Second, this presentation provides an overview of the limited existing research on parliamentary transitions from around the world and proposes several new and potentially insightful avenues of research on parliamentary transitions.
Dr Peter Ferguson is a senior lecturer in politics and policy at Deakin University, and is currently Politics and International Relations Discipline Convenor. Before joining Deakin in 2015, Peter lectured in political science at the University of Melbourne, from where he obtained his PhD in international relations in 2014.