ISAA National Conference 2016
ISAA National Conference
13-14 October 2016
National Library of Australia
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Shaping Public Policy in Australia: Past, Present, Future.
In its broadest sense the term public policy refers to the range of means by which government and public agencies determine or influence how society functions. In shaping and making of any public policy, numerous individuals and groups may interact with government in competitive and collaborative ways to identify problems and influence policymakers to act in a particular way. The shaping of any public policy is rarely uncontested, and is commonly the outcome of the interaction of institutional structures, individuals and groups with differing values and power, economic and social forces, and unfolding events.
Thus the making of public policy is a complex process. The policy on any subject is likely to have been determined by technical questions, empirical evidence, politics, ideology, and a host of other drivers. Bismarck is reputed to have once said ‘Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made.’ A more positive perspective is that ‘good policy makes good politics’, although more than one book has been written describing cases where ‘good politics made for bad policy’.
• The theme of the ISAA conference in 2016 is focused on the processes that shape public policy. It is designed to be inclusive of the great diversity of expertise and interests of our members. Papers may focus on the very big picture - such as the development of policy on immigration from the 19th century or the changing nature of policy in response to climate change - down to more local and limited topics such as urban development in Melbourne in the 1850s in response to the gold rush, or the current lock-out laws in Kings Cross.
• The theme also gives scope to those whose speciality lies mainly outside government and policy. For example, for members with literary and artistic interests, papers on the conference theme could encompass policy affecting these fields, or how particular works reflected and revealed public policy at the time, or how works may have influenced public opinion and ultimately policy.
• The theme is focused primarily on the factors that shape policy rather than on the content or effects of policy. In this way, the theme will enable a very wide range of subject matter, but have a common core. By providing for a wide canvas that can cover diverse subject areas, time frames, and policies, the papers taken together should reveal some common features of how policy is shaped while also pointing up features that are distinctive to each time, place, and activity.
Deadline for abstracts is 17 June 2016
Please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org