Beyond the Policy Cycle: The Policy Process in Australia

Beyond the Policy Cycle: The Policy Process in Australia

Beyond the Policy Cycle: The Policy Process in Australia

Beyond the Policy Cycle: The Policy Process in Australia

Synopsis

A timely overview of the complex and messy realities of policy-making, for students and practitioners.

Excerpt

H.K. Colebatch

When we talk about policy, the focus is usually on the subject matter: health policy transport policy environment policy etc. This is not surprising. If policy is, in Dye's often-quoted words, What Governments Do, Why They Do It, and What Difference It Makes (Dye 1976), then our attention will naturally go to the object of policy: what is the problem, and how is the government trying to address it? The process of policy gets less attention; it is seen as complex and a source of difficulty It is recognised that there are many players and they are not all reading from the same script, but this simply means the policy worker has to be adroit in steering through this complexity to the accomplishment of the goal.

This book takes a different approach. It recognises that the world of policy is populated by a range of players with distinct concerns, and that policy-making is the intersection of these diverse agendas, not a collective attempt to accomplish some known goal. It also recognises that for most of the players, policy activity is work—that is, a specialist occupation, but not necessarily one with policy in the title. The people doing policy work may be called policy analysts, but they may have titles like 'customer service manager', 'chief veterinary officer' or 'president of the association'. Who the actors are, and what they do to shape the outcomes, is part of the question, and passing references to 'policy analysis' or 'policy advice' do little . . .

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