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Lecture 6

JSB178 Week 6 Lecture Notes.docx

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Queensland University of Technology
Mark Lauchs

JSB178 Week Six Lecture Notes The Policy Cycle Lecture Outline  Identifying issues  Policy analysis  Policy instruments  Consultation  Coordination  Decision  Implementation  Evaluation Identifying Issues  Government’s policy agenda  Issue attention cycle  Identify issues Policy Agenda  The plan of the government and those areas that interest them and receive their attention  Developed by the political arm of government  But they rely heavily on the bureaucratic arm to inform and advise them  Can be changed by external factors/circumstances outside government, especially someone else’s agenda (always watch the press). Example of External Factor  The Howard Government came into power on 11 March 1996 with no agenda to reform firearm laws.  On 28 April 1996, Martin Bryant opened fire on tourists at a Port Arthur tourist site. He killed 35 people and wounded 22.  There was an immediate public outrage over access to firearms, especially semi-automatic weapons such as that used by Martin Bryant.  Howard then changed the liberal party policy supporting gun ownership and obtained State Government support for a gun ban and the firearm ‘buy back’ scheme. External Factors in Justice Policy  Decisions of courts  Crime rates  Public outrage  Strong community groups  New technology  Coordination with other agencies  New innovations  Budget cuts or increases  Change of government How do you find a government’s agenda?  Policy documents from the election  Instructions from the new minister How do government decide what is important? Issues are prioritised after consideration of: re-election chances, genuine concern to do what is best, re-election chances, policy of the party, re-election chances, personal preference of minister whether the matter is or is not significant enough for the cabinet, re-election chance, and re-election chances. This is not a cynical point of view – it is simply realistic. The importance of re-election chances is simply the democratic process at work. While other factors are important, there is no point in having an excellent policy if there is no chance of the party being elected. Therefore, the parties need to ensure they have the best possible chance of being elected because ultimately, the public decides. How is the agenda set? According to Bridgman and Davies the agenda arises from:  Competition between competing voices.  It is decided politically and not on individual significance.  There is a bias towards matters which already receive government attention.  Often set by political elites either within or associated with the government. Can anyone in the community set the policy agenda?  The short answer is yes.  If you are a representative of a community organisation or private interest group then yes, you are able to influence the policy agenda.  In fact, as a member of the public – that is your job.  If you are a public servant working in a government agency then yes you also may influence policy agenda, but only if it is in a presentation of full and frank advice – not as a ref
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