Public inquiries and public policy: some reflections

Public sector Australia

Public policy can be hard, both technically (what to do?) and politically (how to get it done?). Australian governments have often made use of public inquiries or reviews to assist them in these respects. The results, however, have been mixed. Based on theory and evidence, including insights gained at first hand, Professor Gary Banks addressed two key questions: Why might public inquiries contribute to better policy outcomes? And what determines their ‘success’? With much contention surrounding recent policy initiatives, and links being drawn to current electoral fortunes, the inaugural Peter Karmel Lecture in Public Policy proved to be highly topical, and was well recieved.

The Peter Karmel Lecture in Public Policy honours the late Professor Peter Karmel AC, CBE (1922–2008), who had a profound impact on higher education and public policy in Australia over many decades. Professor Karmel was President of the Academy from 1987–1990. The lecture, which will be presented for the first time in 2013, is intended to provoke public discussion of a particular policy of an Australian government, the policy-making process itself, or comparisons of policies or policy processes found in Australia with those found in other jurisdiction.

This inaugural Peter Karmel Lecture in Public Policy was presented by Professor Gary Banks AO, FASSA, Dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.


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