Available in 2022
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.

Availability2022 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

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

1. Develop an understanding of the key concepts within Australian public policy and public administration.

2. Identify of salient forces and principles shaping the development of public policy within government.

3. Show an enhanced understanding of the relations between the social and economic factors that influence public policy and their impact on government decision-making.

4. Identify and analyse the reliability, validity and efficacy of information, opinions and arguments within the academic literature.

5. Identify and summarise key information within the relevant academics scholarship.

6. Demonstrate the acquisition of core analytical and critical thinking skills in written communication, including critical evaluation of competing information from academic sources.


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 Summary and Oral Exercise

Essay: Essay 1

Essay: Essay 2

Written Assignment: Policy Report

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct

Integrated Learning Session

Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Students are expected to complete 4 hours of guided learning via online preparation, lectures, interactive workshops, tutorials, discussion groups or self-directed learning and an additional 6 hours of independent study per week.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.