Enhancing knowledge of governance in Australia and internationally

Griffith’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy is an outstanding intellectual environment for world-class research engaging international scholars and government and policy communities. We examine and critique the capacity, accountability and sustainability of the public service and government, providing insights into improved management structures. By working closely with governmental and non-governmental partners, we are making a tangible mark on governance research. Our outstanding scholarship has seen the Centre awarded numerous grants, including more than 40 ARC Discovery/DECRA grants between 2000-2017, and publication of more than 100 books in the past decade.

Image credit: Election Day at Davis research station, 2019 © Greg Stone /Australian Antarctic Division

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Dr Ellie Martus takes a look at a post pandemic national environmental policy, what are the challenges and what's happening around the world. Business and industry groups around the world have been lining up to ask governments to restart the economy. But will economic recovery come at the expense of the environment?

This is Ellie's first piece for the Policy Innovation Hub's Machinery of Government blog.

You can read Ellie's piece below.

Read Ellie' piece here


Dr Lee Morgenbesser recently wrote a piece for Foreign Policy on why Autocrats are Finding Democratic Facades Hard to Keep up. The pandemic is making dictatorship clearer as faking credible elections gets harder.

Lee writes, for many dictatorships, COVID-19 is a moment of opportunity. The pandemic represents an auspicious invitation for autocrats, or aspiring autocrats, to gain, consolidate, or extend political power. In fact, it is difficult to find a dictator who has not taken advantage of this window of opportunity in some way.

Lee's full article is available below.

Read the article here


Congratulations to Dr Lee Morgenbesser on the publication of his latest monograph "The Rise of Sophisticated Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia" published by Cambridge University Press. This Element offers a way to understand the evolution of authoritarian rule in Southeast Asia. The theoretical framework is based on a set of indicators (judged for their known advantages and mimicry of democratic attributes) as well as a typology (conceptualized as two discreet categories of 'retrograde' and 'sophisticated' authoritarianism). Working with an original dataset, the empirical results reveal vast differences within and across authoritarian regimes in Southeast Asia, but also a discernible shift towards sophisticated authoritarianism over time. The Element concludes with a reflection of its contribution and a statement on its generalizability.

Free to read until 29 May


Congratulations to Professor Sara Davies and Dr Huiyun Feng who are members of a team that received a Rapid Research Fund Grant as part of a Canadian Health Research Council grant on COVID-19. Health sciences researchers at the Simon Fraser University will co-lead an international team, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. and others from the U.K., Hong Kong and Australia.  The research aims to identify gender-related effects of the outbreak, gaps in preparation and response measures, and provide guidance and recommendations for those crafting policy and public health interventions.  Sara and Huiyun will be leading the China case study in the project.

Full details here


The COVID-19 crisis demonstrates a growing demand for strong public accountability and the importance of whistleblower protection, according to the Centre’s public integrity expert Professor AJ Brown.  He has contributed to a global statement written in response to dramatic mistakes by officials and authorities in their knee jerk reactions to the pandemic.  Coalition to Make Whistleblowing Safe During COVID-19 and Beyond is supported by more than 50 organisations and experts worldwide.

The current situation reminds us that public sector whistleblower legislation are lagging behind in Australia, with law reform already overdue in the federal parliament, and many State parliaments as this crisis continues.

Read more here


The worldwide health implications of the coronavirus pandemic are well known and discussed at length. But what are the ramifications for society, as countries grapple with the many dilemmas we face battling the disease's spread? Professor Sara Davies asks us to consider these impacts on the wider community, saying it's not just health experts who should be at the decision-making table.

Her research and books such as Containing Contagion focus on how humans face immense challenges such as massive disease outbreaks. Professor Davies as also recently published in The Lancet with colleague Asha Herton-Crabb, Why WHO (World Health Organisation) needs a feminist economic agenda.

Read her article here.

Listen to the podcast here


Centre member Dr Liz van Acker recently collaborated with QUT's Pathways to Politics for Women program on 6 March. In Australia, women are under-represented across all levels of government, business, civil society and positions of influence. Despite their proven ability as leaders and their right to participate equally in democratic governance, women still face many obstacles to participating in political life. The Pathways to Politics for Women program is a nonpartisan initiative which aims to increase female participation in all levels of governments. The women gain skills about how to run for public office and thrive as political leaders.

The program featured guest presenters from across the political spectrum including politicians (both sitting and retired), pollsters, public speaking professionals, campaign strategists, advisors, public policy experts, and leading figures in Australian political and public life. Liz presented two sessions: the first on policy making and another one covering a case study and class activities with the participants.


Professor AJ Brown recently spoke with ABC's Waleed Ally and Scott Stephens on the Minefield Podcast Series on Why does Democracy Demand transparency? This is such a timely discussion with the focus on the way that federal grants for local sports clubs were allocated and distributed in the lead up to the 2019 federal election has come under intense public scrutiny. The conduct of the Minister who oversaw the grants scheme, Bridget McKenzie, was severely criticised by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).  The way that the Federal Government dismissed the report of the auditor-general — relying instead on an assessment conducted by Mr Morrison’s former chief of staff, Phil Gaetjens, and legal advice from the federal Attorney-General, Christian Porter, neither of which has been made public — is alarming. This response to the findings of an independent public servant seems to be of a piece with the Prime Minister’s habit of brushing off scrutiny by relegating it to the self-interested world of the "Canberra bubble".

Listen to the podcast here


Congratulations to Professor Ciaran O'Faircheallaigh and Professor Thierry Rodon (Laval University in Quebec) who have received $110,000 in funding to carry out their research on implementation of agreements between Indigenous people and industry.The grant received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, via its Knowledge Network on Mining Encounters and Indigenous Sustainable Livelihoods, will fund Ciaran and Thierry's research project 'Realising Indigenous rights: Effective implementation of agreements between Indigenous Peoples and the extractive industry'. The project is supported by Indigenous organisations including Ely Mine Beneficiaries Trust, Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Conseil de la Nation Innu de Matimekush-Lac John. These organisations will provide access to research data and sites, and will make immediate and practical use of the research team's findings


Working closely with Griffith Athena Swan, the Gender Equality Research Network comprises outstanding early to mid-career research scholars in the Arts, Education and Law, and Griffith Business School disciplines.

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Find out about our PhD and research degree opportunities with the Centre for Governance and Public Policy.

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The Centre for Governance and Public Policy hosts visiting scholars from across Australia and the world for its seminar series, with current issues addressed and dissected.

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