Experts and expertise in governance: The accountability and legitimacy of knowledge in policymaking
What roles do experts and expertise play in governance and policymaking, and how has this changed over time? Paradoxically, at a time when the governance challenges facing contemporary societies have grown in severity, scope and complexity, the role of expertise in policymaking has increasingly been called into question. The authority and legitimacy of experts have been eroded by some high profile policy failures, and politicians have achieved electoral success by rejecting the claims and pretensions to special authority of experts. This project considers the changing role of expertise in governance and the legitimacy and accountability of expert knowledge in policymaking.
The design of the project will be trans-disciplinary and cross-sectoral, bringing together a collaborative network of leading local and international scholars and institutions to address the historical, contemporary and future roles of expertise in governance. It will explore the central questions of the accountability and legitimacy of experts and expertise through a varied portfolio of projects. It will also emphasise practical, policy-relevant applications via MSoG Labs, which fosters research translation and collaboration between academics, policymakers and industry partners.
New Initiatives in Enforcing Employment Standards
The well-being of more than nine million Australian employees is underpinned by statutory workplace entitlements. For the large majority of these employees, these are set by federal legislation. The statutory entitlements are meaningful only in so far as they are complied with, and improving the effectiveness of the federal enforcement agency, the Fair Work Ombudsman, is therefore of crucial public importance.
This project provides the first comprehensive scholarly evaluation of the Fair Work Ombudsman whose office is responsible for the enforcement of working conditions relating to pay, reasonable working hours and leave, amongst other regulatory functions. The findings of this project identify multiple ways in which enforcement practices can be improved, not only for the Fair Work Ombudsman, but also comparable compliance agencies domestically and overseas.
The Research Fellow for this project is Dr Tess Hardy
Aims of the Project
This project examines the compliance and enforcement functions of the federal government agency responsible for ensuring compliance with, and enforcement of, minimum employment conditions. More than nine million Australians have their entitlements to pay, leave and working hours underpinned by mandated employment standards set by either statutory minima or modern awards.
Under this regulatory regime, the Fair Work Ombudsman is the government agency that is primarily responsible for securing compliance with these rights and standards. While some form of federal government agency has existed in this space since the 1930s, the Fair Work Ombudsman is a radically transformed version of its predecessors. It is therefore of significant interest.
This project is assessing the Fair Work Ombudsman by:
- investigating its operation through documentary analysis, participant observation and qualitative interviewing;
- considering the agency in light of the regulatory theory, and specifically, studies of analogous organisations in Australia, the United States, France, China and Brazil, amongst others; and
- examining employer and business responses to the activities and interventions of the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Click here for more information on this project and its associated publications.
Governance and performance
This theme addresses three key questions:
- How do we design appropriate governing institutions?
- How do we improve policy and service effectiveness?
- How do we develop effective regulation?
- Renewing Australian Federalism
- Indigenous Nation Building: Theory; practice and its emergence in Australia's public policy discourse
- Engaging Professionals in Organisational Governance
- Developing a methodology and proposal for comparative regional research on governance and implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) health system reforms in the Asia Pacific
This theme addresses three key questions:
- How do governments, governing institutions and private actors relate to each other, and what can and should be the roles of these actors in the governance of different markets?
- What policy instruments are available to govern the different sites and spaces of market activity (formal, informal, visible and invisible), from global to local?
- What is the efficacy and impact of these policy instruments, and how can they be measured and compared?
- Financial Regulation in Asia - A new Model for Regional Cooperation
- Price transparency in Australian Petrol Markets: An interdisciplinary study of the role of Information Technology in strengthening Market Competitiveness
- The Power of the Good Corporation: Exploring the Role of Corporate Agency in Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries
- The policy aftermaths of financial crises: how much space for politics