Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy & International Affairs

Sir Walter Murdoch School news and events

Murdoch student claims influential think tank role

Posted 9 December 2014Mike Petrut

A Murdoch University graduate student has won a scholarship to work for a leading public policy think tank in Melbourne.

Mike Petrut, 24, from Edgewater, who is studying for a Master of International Affairs at the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs, will be interned at the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) for six weeks from January thanks to the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation.

Mr Petrut will be contributing to the IPA’s Freedomwatch blog and its Western Civilisation Program, which is investigating Australia’s national curriculum, during his internship.

“I am extremely excited to secure the scholarship because I have long admired the IPA and its influential work advancing liberalism in Australian public policy discourse,” said Mr Petrut, who works on a casual basis for Liberal MLA Jan Norberger as an electoral officer.

“They have challenged and held governments to account for many years. I am inspired by their philosophical consistency, upholding classical liberal values since 1943.

“The internship will be an invaluable experience as I decide on the direction of my career in the years ahead.”

The IPA’s specific research areas include the environment, deregulation, workplace relations, energy, political governance, intellectual property, telecommunications, technology, housing, education, health and agriculture.

Mr Petrut said the Dean of the Sir Walter Murdoch School Professor Benjamin Reilly had alerted him to the Mannkal scholarship after a discussion about the Australian economy at a Sir Walter Murdoch School event.

“I look forward to representing Mannkal and Murdoch University throughout my time at the IPA," added Mr Petrut.

Mannkal Economic Education Foundation is based in Perth and encourages a free market system in WA and Australia by promoting ideas of voluntary cooperation, choice, personal rights, limited government and the responsible resourcefulness of individuals.

Apart from its scholarship program, Mannkal also promotes events and seminars that allow individuals to exchange ideas defending free markets. It also produces policy papers and runs a book store for economic and Australian history books.

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'Will Indonesia be Great?'

Posted 4 December 2014Will Indonesia be great?

The Sir Walter Murdoch School's new lecturer, Dr Jacqui Baker, looks at two recent works on our sprawling northern neighbour.

Two new books capture the diversity of Indonesia, writes Jacqui Baker. But has something got lost in the detail?

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Murdoch welcomes Dr Francesco Paolucci

Posted 2 December 2014Francesco Paolucci

Newly appointed Associate Professor Dr Francesco Paolucci has found himself right at home in Murdoch University's new era of Healthcare focus.

With more than a decade of research, fieldwork, consulting and publications in health economics, policy and management as far afield as Cambodia, Colombia, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, South Africa, Spain and the UK, Dr Paolucci is looking forward to applying his expertise to his new role leading the Health Policy Program at Murdoch University. It’s an area he says is critical in responding to the growing demand for health service professionals, locally and internationally, equipping them with new skills in strategic health leadership and management, healthcare policy and governance, economics and finance.

“The Graduate Certificate in Health Policy and Leadership provides a multidisciplinary toolkit for professionals already working in the healthcare sector and also helps those who are not yet professionals but want to get into healthcare operations and management in the future,” he said. “The Program makes use of case-based learning and applied international comparative analyses approaches and ensures that all graduates understand the economic, political and managerial context of healthcare policies and healthcare organisations.”

Dr Paolucci believes that acquiring these new skills will benefit not only individuals and their career advancement, but the overall performance and quality of healthcare systems.

Prof Benjamin Reilly - 'Australia Now the Odd Man In'

Posted 11 November 2014Tony Abbott

The following article was published in the West Australian, Perth on 11 November 2014.

When I was a teenager in the 1980s, Australia displayed an acute status anxiety about its place in the world. We were too small to be part of the G7 group of major industrialised countries, in the wrong hemisphere for NATO or the EU, and looked unlikely to be accepted as part of the emerging order in Asia.

Politicians spoke openly about their fear that Australia would be left out of the post-Cold War world, neither part of the West nor of Asia. US political scientist Samuel Huntington saw Australia (along with Mexico and Turkey) as a ‘torn country’ – split between its geography and its civilizational identity.

But things did not work out that way. Rather than being excluded, Australia gradually found itself to be “the odd man in”, as Paul Keating put it.

First, a combination of persistent diplomacy and changing Asian geopolitics saw the emergence of new forums such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group and the East Asia Summit, which included Australia and New Zealand alongside the key Asian powers.

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The Shape of Things to Come

Posted 7 November 2014Rod Rhodes

The Sir Walter Murdoch School was a principal sponsor and active participant at the 2014 Institute of Public Administration Australia International Conference held at the Perth Convention Centre on 29-30 October.

The IPAA 2014 International Conference presentations and videos are available and can be viewed online. Click here.

The theme for the Conference was ‘The Shape of Things to Come’, with a focus on exploring the public sector’s capacity for ideas, energy and ability to work together to implement shared outcomes – factors critical to shaping a successful society.

A highlight of the School’s session was Prof Rod Rhodes presentation on “Recovering The Craft of Public Administration”. Drawing on his detailed observation of senior civil servants and Ministers at close quarters, Prof Rhodes presented a completing narrative about the real world of public policy, politics and administration in Australia and the United Kingdom using elite ethnography as the key methodological approach.

School Dean Prof Benjamin Reilly also spoke in the session ‘The Future in One Hour’ which looked at the major trends and challenges facing the public sector in coming years and decades.

Sir Walter Murdoch School students also strongly engaged with the conference, which provides an opportunity for those who are passionate about the public sector to engage with peers and colleagues to improve public administration in Australia.

With over 700 delegates from across the country and internationally attending, the conference was one of the biggest public policy events ever staged in Western Australia.

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The Gatekeepers: Studying Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff

Posted 21 October 2014Rod Rhodes

How do we find out what Chiefs of Staff do and how they do it? What are the pros and cons of using focus groups in elite ethnography?

Prof Rhodes will outline the current state of political and administrative ethnography in political science and public administration. He describes the job of prime ministers’ chiefs of staff before explaining the research design, the preparations for the focus group sessions, and the strategies used to manage the dynamics of a diverse group that included former political enemies and factional rivals. Prof Rhodes summarises the main findings of the work under the headings: know the boss; coping and surviving; policy coordination; and political management. Then he reviews the strengths and weaknesses of focus groups for research into political and administrative elites.

Professor Benjamin Reilly
Dean of Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs

Tuesday 28 October 2014
Building 513 Learning Link LL 1.004 Level 1 Room 4 (next to Murdoch Business School)
12.30pm to 1.45pm

Light lunch will be provided. Please advise dietary requirements.


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Multilateral organisations and the challenge of international energy cooperation

Posted 24 September 2014Jeffrey WilsonEnergy issues are rising in status on the international economic agenda. Soaring world prices for oil, natural gas and coal, increasing levels of volatility in international markets, and heightened anxieties over energy security have increased the need for international energy cooperation. In response, there has been a proliferation in the number of multilateral bodies addressing energy issues, and a wide range of organisations now claim some role in facilitating intergovernmental energy policy coordination. However, the practical achievements of these organisations have been very poor, with all suffering from some form of difficulty that has limited their effectiveness in promoting energy cooperation. This article explores these challenges, and seeks to explain why multilateral energy organisations are performing so poorly. Ten global-level energy organisations are evaluated, and found to suffer from either membership, design or commitment issues that prevent them exercising more effective governance roles. These issues significantly limit the ability of multilateral organisations to help realise shared energy goals, and require institutional reform strategies that emphasise the specialised functions of different organisation in the global energy governance landscape.

Dr Wilson is a Fellow in Murdoch University’s Asia Research Centre and a lecturer in international politics in the School of Management and Governance. His research interests include international political economy, economic regionalism in the Asia-Pacific, and international resource politics. He has published widely on resource security in the Asia-Pacific region and was awarded the inaugural Boyer Prize by the Australian Institute of International Affairs in 2012.

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Is supply and demand affecting our health?

Posted 25 September 2014Professor Francesco Paolucci

Health care is one of the core responsibilities of both governments and society at large. Most individuals consider ‘good health’ as one of if not the most important things in life. And in most societies, equal access for all to health care is highly valued.

However, these bedrock expectations – that our individual and social health needs can and will be met by government – is increasingly under strain around the world. Sharp increases in health expenditures are forcing both individuals and societies to make difficult choices and set priorities about what kinds of health care can and can’t be provided. These choices will inevitably shift expectations away from equal access for all. Given the huge progress in new medical technologies and the ageing of populations across all developed countries, these health conundrums will only increase over the next decades.

This does not mean that Australia or other Western countries will go down the US route of individual user pays and exorbitant insurance premiums. But the increasing demands on health care will inevitably require new and creative policy and financing if community expectations are to be met.

Globalisation is another part of this story. Throughout the 20th century, health policy issues were primarily considered within the national context. In the last decade, however, economic and financial globalisation, and the internationalisation of the labour force has increasing impacted health care and the relationship between developing and developed countries. This is reflected, for example, in an increase of cross-border health care, medical tourism (including international surrogacy), increased mobility of both patients and professionals, a multinationalisation of health care providers and insurers, and a globalisation of health policy and governance issues.

Taken together, these developments have led to a steadily increasing demand for expertise in health management, leadership, and economics with an international orientation and understanding of the different health care systems. These skills sets are not the preserve of medical schools but rather drawn more on the social sciences, in areas such as policy and governance.

Associate Professor Francesco Paolucci heads the Health Policy Program in the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs. He has published and advised in the areas of public and economic policy focusing on healthcare systems governance and design, healthcare financing and insurance and decision-making and priority setting in various countries including Australia, Cambodia, Colombia, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, South Africa, Spain, The United Kingdom and the United States.

Policy Seminar - Corruption and its Impact on Human Rights in India

Professor_C_Raj_Kumar.jpgProfessor C. Raj Kumar was appointed as the Founding Vice Chancellor of O. P. Jindal Global University at the age of 34. Professor Kumar spearheaded the initiative to establish the O.P. Jindal Global University and five of its inter-disciplinary schools: Jindal Global Law School; Jindal Global Business School; Jindal School of International Affairs, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy and the Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities in the National Capital Region of Delhi (Sonipat, Haryana).

The talk will outline the problem of corruption in India, which has affected all institutions of Indian democracy leading to a crisis in governance. It will discuss the significance of corruption in India, the approaches adopted and the measures initiated by the government in responding to the crisis. The talk will critically examine some of the recent developments, including legislative, judicial, institutional and civil society initiatives in the fight against corruption. The relationship between eliminating corruption to promote good governance, establishing a society based on the rule of law and the protection and promotion of human rights will be discussed.


Professor Benjamin Reilly
School Dean
Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs

Friday 5 Sep 2014
Senate Building Room 2.002
3.00pm to 4.00pm

Please rsvp:

Lunch Seminar - "If Money Talks, What Does It Say? Business Financing of Politics in Australia"

Posted 30 July 2014Iain McMenaminIain McMenamin is an Associate Professor in the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University. He is interested in most aspects of comparative politics and has published on political economy, business and politics, East-Central Europe, and political communication. He is the author of If Money Talks, What Does It Say? Corruption and Business Financing of Political Parties (Oxford University Press, 2013) and many articles in journals such as World Politics, British Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, and the Australian Journal of Political Science.


Jaideep Roy
Professor of Economic Theory

School of Management and Governance

Wednesday 13 August 2014
Management and Governance Building
Staff Common Room MBS Level 2.004

12.30 to 1.45pm
Light lunch and refreshments provided
Please RVSP

Lunch Seminar - “Not quite Shangri-La: Defence Diplomacy and Asia’s Changing Strategic Landscape”

Posted 30 June 2014Nick Bisley

Executive Director, La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University

Professor Nick Bisley is Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University. His research and teaching expertise is in Asia's international relations, globalisation and the diplomacy of great powers. Nick is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of International Affairs, a director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, a member of the Council for Security and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and has been a Senior Research Associate of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a Visiting Fellow at the East West-Center in Washington DC.

“Not quite Shangri-La: Defence Diplomacy and Asia’s Changing Strategic Landscape”

Defence diplomacy is a growing part of Asia’s regional setting. Military and civilian defence officials undertaking the work normally tasked to diplomats has become a focal point for many states’ approach to the region. Yet it is something of a curious beast. Institutions and individuals whose primary function is the organised use of force are turned to the business of dialogue and communication, often with uncertain results Moreover, it is a category that includes everything from officer exchanges to bilateral military exercises to high profile multilateral forums and just about everything in between. Just how effective defence diplomacy is and what role it plays in the regional order is thus hard to determine due to its nebulous form. This seminar will examine defence diplomacy in Asia and the role it plays in the current strategic setting. In particular it will examine the Shangri La Dialogue, the self-styled premier regional forum for defence diplomacy, as an illustrative example of defence diplomacy in Asia. It will assess the contribution the SLD makes to the regional order, the tensions inherent in its structure and form and consider how events at the 2014 SLD illustrate both the opportunities and risks inherent in using defence personnel in this way.


Professor Mark Beeson
Professor of International Politics
Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs

Tuesday 8 July 2014
Senate Room 2.003
12.30 to 1.45pm
Light lunch and refreshments provided
Please RVSP

Lunch Seminar - Social Policy in WA: Perspectives from Central Government

Posted 13 June 2014Tom Leeming

Mr Leeming has been Executive Director, Community and Human Services at the Department of the Premier and Cabinet since September 2011. He previously worked for five years at the Department of Treasury in a variety of positions. Tom has been closely involved in the State Government’s reforms to its relationship with the not-for-profit sector since 2008 and is currently responsible for the Partnership Forum secretariat. He is also involved in key policy areas such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme, ageing, Aboriginal affairs and youth-at-risk. Prior to moving to Western Australia in 2006, Tom worked in international development with the British and European Governments, advising African Governments on economic and social policy.

Dr Yvonne Haigh
Senior Lecturer in Policy and Governance
Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs

Thursday 26 June 2014
Learning Link Building 513
Level 1.005 LL 1.005
12.30 to 1.45pm
Light Lunch and refreshments provided
Please RVSP by Tuesday 24 June 2014

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Teaching Awards for School's Capstone Coordinator

Posted 13 June 2014Katie Attwell

The Sir Walter Murdoch School’s Capstone Coordinator, Dr Katie Attwell, received two awards from the Vice Chancellor at the Staff Awards ceremony, held in early June. The awards recognised the teaching contribution of Dr Attwell, who completed a Ph.D in Politics in 2013 and taught regularly during her candidature. Her Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence addressed five criteria including teaching approach, curricula development, feedback and scholarly activities, while her Citation for Enhancing Student Learning focused specifically on her work with students as individuals.

Her communication skills, empathy and support for students translate into her Capstone role, which involves assisting Sir Walter Murdoch students in the final stages of their degrees pursuing independent study programmes that prepare them for the world beyond.

The two Awards attracted combined prize money of $5000. Dr Attwell plans to spend the money on books and travel for conferences and research collaborations. She is currently part of a national writing project addressing the teaching of international relations and international affairs. She is also looking forward to redesigning the Foundations course for all Sir Walter Murdoch students, which runs again in 2015. It is an exciting time for Dr Attwell, as she has just delivered the manuscript for her first book to her publisher, Palgrave Macmillan. The book comes out in 2015.

SWM660 Special Topics in Public Policy and Management: Parliamentary Studies

Posted 27 May 2014New unit image

In partnership with the Parliament of Western Australia, this unit examines how parliaments and legislatures operate on the basis of theoretically-informed but policy-relevant research.

Classes are held in intensive mode over 8 days around Parliament House in West Perth:

  • Monday August 11 to Thursday 14 - 2 to 5pm each day  Located at Level 1, 11 Harvest Terrace (cnr Harvest Terrace and Hay Street) West Perth WA 6005
  • Monday August 18 to Thursday 21 - 2 to 5pm each day  Located at Legislative Council Committee Office 18 Parliament Place (East Wing) West Perth WA 6005

Students are expected to make their own way to the class locations above.

With consultations available with Prof Matthew Flinders on Fridays (South Street campus).

For current Sir Walter Murdoch School students, please enrol as per your normal MyStudents page.

For non Murdoch University students, please use the link 'Enrol Now'. You will either need the NonAward/Continuing Education or Cross Enrolment application forms.

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Enrol now

Students learn impact of internet on politics

Posted 26 May 2014

Students in Murdoch University’s Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs (SWMS) have been learning from high-profile opinion leaders about the revolutionary impact of the internet on politics thanks to an innovative new graduate unit.

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Policy Seminar: Personalising the Middle-Income Trap - an Inter-generational Migrant View from Rural Thailand - Wednesday 21 May 2014

Posted 8 May 2014Jonathan Rigg

Jonathan Rigg is a Professor of Geography at the National University of Singapore, having moved from Durham University in the UK last year. He has been working on issues of development in the Asian region since the 1980s, often with a rural focus. Jonathan is the author of six books and some 60 journal papers.

His most recent books are Unplanned development: tracking change in Southeast Asia (Zed Book, 2012) and, co-edited with Peter Vandergeest, Revisiting rural places: pathways to poverty and prosperity in Southeast Asia (NUS Press, 2012). He is currently working on a new book with the working title Shadows of success: challenging development in Southeast Asia.

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Policy Seminar: HIV and Food Security: Oxfam’s South African Program - Friday 16 May 2014

Posted 8 May 2014Allan Moolman

Mr Allan Moolman is responsible for the overall delivery of the Oxfam program in South Africa. This includes the program elements delivered by Oxfam’s Australia, Great Britain and Italia.

The current program in South Africa support nearly 70 indigenous civil society organisations who deliver a range of community focussed programs in the thematic areas: HIV and AIDS, food security and livelihoods, climate justice, gender, tax reform for essential services provision, global engagement (BRICSAM), WASH, social protection and active citizenship.

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Policy Seminar: Australia and Britain in the Asian century

Posted 7 May 2014Paul Madden

Paul Madden has been British High Commissioner to Australia since January 2011. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from February 2007.

A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004 - 2006), responsible for co-ordinating and implementing international trade development strategies to support companies across a wide range of business sectors.

As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2003- 2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy, including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team responsible for the award - winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan 2005.

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Afghanistan, Transition to Transformation

Posted 12 April 2014Nasir Ahmad

Mr Nasir Ahmad Andisha is the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Fiji. Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to Australia, Mr. Andisha was the Director General of the Fifth P olitical Division (US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) from 2009 to 2011 at the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from 2006 to 2007 he was the Director of Multilateral Economic Relations and International Financial Institutions.

Renowned political scientist joins Murdoch

Posted 16 January 2014new scientist

Murdoch University is pleased to announce that Professor Matthew Flinders has accepted a prestigious position at its new graduate school – the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs.

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