The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Looks at the Australian state in a wider political context by examining the major changes it has undergone in the last twenty years. The course explores the major reforms to the public service and other government agencies by examining their changing relationship to government. A central question will be whether the public service has become overly politicised such that it is unable to offer the government independent advice. Case studies of specific policy issues in areas such as immigration, education, and defence (or any other topical policy area) will be used to trace the development of major government policy decisions and to explore problems of politicisation and accountability. Attention is also given to the emergence of new policy frameworks, especially economic rationalism, and their impact on these processes.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2017.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate familiarity with key concepts of Australian public policy and public administration.

2. Demonstrate a clear understanding of salient forces and principles of shaping policy advice.

3. Demonstrate an enhanced understanding of the relations between policy advisors (private and public) and various spheres of government decision-making.

4. Demonstrate an awareness of and ability to assess critically the theoretical and methodological debates in the field of public policy, public administration, and political science generally.

5. Demonstrate an understanding of key Social Science concepts and theories and acquire research skills to enable critical evaluation of the reliability, validity and efficacy of information, opinions and arguments.

6. Demonstrate an understanding of and practice in oral and written communication skills.


The course content will be drawn from but not restricted to

  1. Analysis of Australian political and policy-making structures.
  2. Theories of the state.
  3. Detailed analysis of lines of political accountability.
  4. Discussion of the role of public sector senior bureaucrats, and their politicisation.
  5. Role of ethics within public sector and policy discourse.
  6. Changing public administration paradigms (eg. "new public sector management", "governance", "hollow state" etc).
  7. Role of consultants within the policy process.
  8. Case studies of government enquiries and problems of accountability.


This course has similarities to POLI2180. If you have successfully completed POLI2180 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

10 units in Politics at 1000 level or equivalent

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Research Database Exercise

Essay: Minor Essay

Essay: Major Essay

Formal Examination: Formal Exam