2019 Cunningham Lecture: Losing It! The Art of Effective Policy Making

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The Cunningham Lecture is part of the Academy’s Annual Events.

Date & Time

November 12, 2019
5:00PM - 6:00PM



The National Library of Australia

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Losing It! Are Australian Governments Still Capable of Exercising the Art of Effective Policy Making?

Presented by the Hon. Marcia Neave AO

This lecture will identify the elements of the ‘art’ of effective policy making. It argues that the art of making policy to address complex social issues requires, among other things, subject expertise, the need to balance short term against longer term outcomes of proposed changes, courage in dealing with uncertainty and an understanding of the benefits and complexities of promoting community debate and engagement about policy proposals.

The lecture will briefly refer to factors which have contributed to the reduced role of the bureaucracy in addressing policy issues and a corresponding increase in reliance on Royal Commissions, Inquiries and private consulting firms to identify problems and propose solutions. It will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using these mechanisms to propose appropriate reforms to the problems which are identified.

Finally, the lecture will argue that reliance on outside bodies has reduced the capacity of government to plan for and implement long-term policy changes, even in areas where the need for reform is widely accepted. Loss of the willingness or ability to exercise the art of policy-making has contributed to cynicism about our politicians and anger and distrust of government.



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