In the lead up to the recent federal election, there was plenty of negative rhetoric about current policy settings. Piecing together the various messages, it seems we have entered an armageddon of poor fiscal management, intolerable social inequality, and environmental degradation. If we took the rhetoric seriously, who in their right minds would want to take charge of the mess that is government?
These assessments are symptomatic of a longstanding, worldwide tendency of politicians, commentators, and citizens to fixate on the limitations of government. We know the lexicon. Terms such as “blunder”, “blowout”, “crisis”, “failure”, “fiasco”, “incompetence”, “red tape” and “scandal” are well-used in public and academic discourse about government, politics and public policy. But this kind of rhetoric risks creating self-fulfilling prophecies in the way we look at, talk about, think of, evaluate, and emotionally relate to public institutions.
By contrast, successful policy accomplishments are seldom deemed newsworthy. Neither are the thousands of everyday forms of effective public value created by and through governments.
To help turn the tide, we recently commissioned 20 up close and in depth case study accounts about the genesis and evolution of standout public policy accomplishments in Australia and New Zealand, across a range of sectors and challenges.
To identify the cases, we convened a panel of experts consisting of prominent public policy scholars and senior practitioners in Australia and New Zealand. We then invited expert scholars in the relevant fields to produce the case studies.
Read the full article on The Conversation.