School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications

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    Submissions to the 2020 Convention
    WOODARD, C (AGPS, 2008)
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    Victoria's regional management forums: a comparative review
    Wear, Andrew ( 2008)
    Victoria’s Regional Management Forums were established in 2005 to facilitate collaboration between Victorian Government departments and local government in each of Victoria’s eight administrative regions. The Forums are chaired by departmental Secretaries, and comprise the Chief Executive Officers of local government as well as senior representatives from state government departments. The role of the Forums is to: • Identify and address critical issues facing the region; • Encourage cooperation between departments and with councils; and • Work with statutory authorities, businesses and local communities to deliver key priorities. This paper considers Victoria’s Regional Management Forums alongside other similar collaborative governance structures, such as Queensland’s Regional Managers’ Coordination Networks, Tasmania’s Partnership Agreements, Western Australia’s Regional Development Commissions and the United Kingdom’s Local Strategic Partnerships. The paper concludes that the Forums have successfully established a collaborative relationship between state government and local governments, providing a mechanism for constructive, regular dialogue. Nevertheless, if Regional Management Forums are to be successful in the longer term, they will need to move beyond their existing functions of information sharing, networking and the implementation of selected regional initiatives. A key component of this broadened approach should be the development of integrated approaches to regional development.
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    Regulatory failures and regulatory solutions: a characteristic analysis of meta-regulation
    Haines, Fiona ( 2006)
    Meta-regulation has developed as a method of harnessing the self-regulatory capacity within regulated sites whilst retaining governmental authority in determining the goals and levels of risk reduction that regulation should achieved. This paper critically analyses the capacity of meta-regulation to resolve chronic regulatory challenges through subjecting the approach to a ‘characteristic’ analysis where the challenges of securing compliance are discussed in light of an appreciation of both the nature of regulatory policymaking as well as economic and social pressures that shape the normative orientation of a regulated site. Meta-regulation shows considerable potential, yet remains vulnerable because of its disassociation of compliance from context. The paper explores how under adverse conditions, the “regulation practice gap” widens and the rigour of a meta-regulatory approach may see it used as a political solution to a legitimacy problem rather than as a carefully thought through approach to an agreed upon critical risk
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    Experts don't know everything: Governance issues associated with transport and disadvantage
    Wear, Mr Andrew ( 2007)
    Public transport planning in an urban context has a relatively straightforward objective: maximise public transport patronage, in order to minimise the economic costs of road traffic congestion and the environmental damage associated with particulate and greenhouse gas emissions. To a large extent, this can be addressed by ‘experts’ using a range of technical skills such as demand forecasting, service planning and contracting.However, rather than patronage growth or modal shift, the objective of public transport provision in rural and regional areas is usually to address social disadvantage.This objective is not effectively achieved using a rationalist ‘expert’ model of decision-making, as the relevant information and resources required to develop solutions are diffuse. Without reference to other sources of knowledge, traditional transport data will provide only limited capacity to determine where transport services are ‘needed’. The full suite of knowledge required to adequately address social disadvantage resides with local communities, networks, institutions and actors. It is the way this knowledge is harnessed that will ultimately determine the success of any strategy in addressing social disadvantage – governance is at the heart of any attempt to respond to social disadvantage.In rural transport, it is not just the knowledge that is diffuse. Rather the assets and other resources needed to implement the solutions are often beyond the control of government, and in the hands of autonomous actors driven by a range of motives. The local school bus might be under contract with the government, but the taxi service operates independently as a small business, the community buses are operated by local agencies, and volunteer transport depends on local goodwill. In Victoria, in an attempt to address transport disadvantage, radical new governance approaches have been trialled through the Transport Connections program. In this program, local partnerships w
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    Community strength, innovation and learning: new evidence from Victoria
    Wear, Andrew ( 2007)
    This paper investigates the role played by networks in learning regions. In particular, it explores the relationship between community strength and innovation in regional Victoria, Australia. The literature on innovation is increasingly pointing to the important role played by local and regional governance mechanisms in driving innovation. The effectiveness of formal structures governing learning regions is underpinned by informal networks. Networks are important as collective learning depends on a continuous flow of information and exchange, and this is built on relationships of stability and trust. Recent Victorian government research presents a unique opportunity to explore the role played by community strength, which can broadly be characterised as the strength of networks. The Victorian Indicators of Community Strength are 14 indicators that provide detailed data at the local government level. To test the theory of a connection between community strength and innovation across regional Victoria, patent data is used as a proxy measure for innovation. This data is then cross-referenced with various social and economic data sets, including the indicators of community strength. The analysis shows that among regional Local Government Areas in Victoria 56% of the variation in the patent rate can be explained by the combination of population density, tertiary education rates and various indicators of community strength, whereas just 23% of the variation in the patent rate can be explained by population density and tertiary education rates alone. Independent of population density and tertiary education levels, there is a statistically significant correlation between the number of patents registered per capita and several of the indicators of community strength. In particular, there is a significant positive correlation between the patent rate and the percentage of the population who are members of an organised group.
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    Residential standby power consumption in Australia
    Wear, Andrew ; Harrington, Phil ; Harrington, Lloyd ( 2001)
    In 2000, Australian Governments commissioned a wide-ranging survey of the residential sector with the objective of developing a comprehensive understanding of residential standby energy consumption. This involved intrusive surveys of 64 houses in 3 large Australian cities, telephone interviews of 801 people Australia-wide, measurements of 533 appliances in major retail stores and analysis of historical metering data. The results revealed that the average standby and miscellaneous power consumption is 86.8 Watts or 760 kWh per household per annum. It is estimated that standby costs each Australian household A$95 (or 52 Euro). These figures exclude water heaters and refrigeration appliances. Overall, standby and miscellaneous accounted for 11.6% of residential electricity use in 2000, equating to 5.3 Mt CO_2e. It is estimated that this figure is increasing at 8% per annum. The response to standby power consumption by Australian governments is centred on a commitment to a one-watt target. This poster will outline the means by which Australia arrived at such a target and assess its relevance to other countries. The paper will also outline programs supporting the one-watt target. These include Energy Star for Office Equipment and Home Electronics as well as a commitment to incorporate standby power consumption into the existing Energy Rating scheme for whitegoods.
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    Improving Local Transport Outcomes Through Partnerships and Joined Up Government
    Wear, Andrew ( 2006)
    Local transport services in Victoria are funded, planned and delivered by multiple agencies representing the transport, education, health and community services portfolios. This fragmentation in service delivery has led to sub-optimal asset utilisation, under-utilisation of existing capacity and services that are not necessarily aligned with community need.The Victorian Government has funded a number of small-scale partnership-based projects that are designed to facilitate cooperation and collaboration amongst community organisations, transport providers and local government. These projects are starting to achieve some impressive results though better utilisation of existing transport resources and the development of innovative new approaches and transport services.However, the potential of the projects has been constrained by the rigidities in existing government policy frameworks, as well as governance structures which restrict joined-up action across government departments.In light of this experience with local transport, this paper will explore the challenges and opportunities associated with local partnerships and joined-up government.
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    A comparative analysis of political email lists
    CHEN, PETER (Centre for Public Policy, 2004)
    Utilising three similar, but slightly different Australian general political email discussion lists, this paper examines the degree to which these lists, as a new form of 'public sphere' (Dahlberg, 2001) can be seen to undertake, or fulfil, the 'traditional' functions of political associations (formal and informal),specifically: political socalisation, aggregation, and mobilisation. Using a combination of content analysis, observation, and network analysis to examine the content of messages travelling over these lists and the social community they embody, this paper concludes that these lists do fulfil important political socialisation functions, but do not provide the means by which political interlocutors can turn this social bonding and education into practical political expression. While each list had significant similarities, it appears that important "bracing" factors lead to the success or otherwise of lists as lively places for debate. In particular, the role of moderation and promotion is critical in the establishment of political discussion lists that develop enough 'critical mass' to sustain a community of interest large enough to appear self-replicating. The research points to the important relationship between online political forms of expression and extant political organisations, structures, and institutions for further research.
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    e-lection 2004? New media and the campaign
    CHEN, PETER ( 2004)
    This paper explores the use of new media technologies, such as the Internet, in the Australian federal election campaign of 2004. With indications of a closely-contested campaign dominating media coverage in the lead up to October 9, normal assumptions of campaign strategies would call for the use of the full range of campaigning techniques to pry open pockets of support in key marginal seats. Internationally, new media technologies have become increasingly important in political campaigning, both as a tool for direct communication between partisans and electors, and as a particularly powerful method of networking together people, money, and issues. Based on research conducted on parties, candidates, and non-party activists, this paper argues that the use of new technologies in the Australian electoral environment remains limited and, in some aspects, has declined from the previous electoral cycle. This can be attributed to a number of factors: fundamental difficulties in aligning new communications channels to Australia's political geography, low perceptions of the efficacy of new technologies in shifting electors' voting intentions, and the failure by organised political parties to systematically resource and strategise new media technologies within their conventional communications and campaigning strategies. Overall, while a number of interesting campaigning innovations were observed and individual candidates had a greater online presence in this electoral cycle, innovation in the use of new technologies for political purposes has remained relatively low compared with comparative jurisdictions.
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    eGovernance practice and potential in the local government sector
    Barlow, Sheryl ; CHEN, PETER ; Chimonyo, Janet ; Lyon, Alison ; O'Loughlin, Brendan ( 2003)
    This paper presents initial findings of a research project into the current extent of, demand for, and strategic inhibiters / facilitators to / for the development of electronic governance (eGovernance) in the local government sector in Australia. Undertaken by members of the sector in Victoria, in conjunction with the Centre for Public Policy of the University of Melbourne, the project is will produce a final detailed strategic report by the middle of 2004. Based on the results of survey data collected by members of the project team during 2002-3, this paper argues that the local government sector, as typified by municipalities in the state of Victoria , can be seen to have an interest in a broad range of activities that fall under the rubric of eGovernance as defined within.