Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy & International Affairs

Sir Walter Murdoch School news and events

Rankings confirm Sir Walter Murdoch School’s status

Posted 15 December 2015

Two high-profile university rankings have confirmed the status of the Sir Walter Murdoch School’s faculty as one of Australia’s best.

The recent Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) evaluations of the quality of research conducted at Australian universities rated Murdoch’s politics discipline (which includes political science, international relations and public policy) at equal 5th across all Australian universities.

This follows the earlier global reputational rankings by the UK-based QS in their fifth edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, which placed Murdoch in the world’s top 200 for Politics & International Studies.

In both rankings Murdoch was also the only West Australian university to be ranked in these fields.

For more information see below:


International students inspire with Australian Award success

Posted 11 December 2015

Our Master of Public Policy and Management student Ei Hnin Phyu Htun, who successfully completed her coursework recently, was featured in the Murdoch University news as one of the successful students funded by the Australia Awards program. The following is an extract of the article.

Two master degree students whose time in Perth was funded by the Australia Awards program, have spoken of broadening their academic knowledge and understanding of global cultural diversity while studying at Murdoch University. Ei Hnin Phyu Htun from Myanmar were chosen to deliver the key note speeches at the Australia Awards Welcome and Farewell Celebration recently before returning to their native countries.

Ei emphasised the importance of finding a balance between academic and normal life in her key note speech at the celebration.

She has recently completed a Master of Public Policy and Management at the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs and said Murdoch academics and professional staff had offered incredible support to help her achieve that balance and success.

On her return to Myanmar, Ei says she plans to make a valuable contribution to a new system of democratic government following the recent victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in the 2015 general election.

“The victory will deliver prominent social and political change in my country,” she said

“Though these political developments are heading towards a democratic system, there are gaps in the way the public relate to democracy. The country has survived under a dictatorship for many decades, and so we are unaware of our rights and how to guarantee that they will be honoured.

“In this scenario, the role of civil society organisations is crucially important to promote awareness of the new system of governance. This is the gap I intend to fill upon my return home.

“The master course at Murdoch is very relevant to the reform strategy of my country.”

The Australia Awards Scholarships are long term development awards administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which provide opportunities for people from developing countries to undertake full time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities.

The Australia Awards Welcome and Farewell Celebration event recognises the graduating awardees and welcomes commencing awardees.

The full article can be found here.

Bonds. Green Bonds - Article by Student Claire Smith

Posted 9 December 2015

Sir Walter Murdoch School Development Studies student, Claire Smith, was recently in Paris with the Global Voices UNFCC Delegation at the United Nations climate change meeting, COP21. She then published an article on 'Green Bonds' in RenewEconomy. Her article can be found here.

Countless IMPRESSIONS during short course in Yogyakarta

Posted 3 December 2015

Franziska Wessels Yogyakarta.jpgSir Walter Murdoch School Development Studies student, Franziska Wessels, travelled to Indonesia to participate in the "Impressions Short Course Program" from 27-31 October 2015, sponsored by the University Atma Yaya in Yogyakarta. The workshop focused on the implications of multiculturalism in the region and offered students in depth engagement with social policies regarding media, community development and disaster management in Yogyakarta. Various guest lecturers and educational site visits to a number of stakeholders in related social issues, such as Non-Government organisations, media industries and unique civic communities contributed to the success of the program.

The workshop experience greatly contributed to Franziska’s research project on the influence of multiculturalism on the promotion of LGBT rights in the region. Her research analyses the intersection of both, exploring the interplay of different cultures and minority rights. During the short course, Franziska gained first-hand experience, liaised with relevant stakeholders in the region and established valuable relationships.

Sir Walter Murdoch Student Claire Smith currently in Paris COP21

Posted 2 December 2015

Our Master of Development Studies student, Claire Smith, is currently in Paris with the Global Voices UNFCC Delegation or COP21. Furthermore you can follow her on twitter @msclairegsmith or follow handle #cop21.

Indonesia in the Indo-Pacific Region
Policy Seminar with Indonesian Consul-General, WA, Mr Ade Sarwono

Posted on 25 November 2015

Mr Sarwono.jpgMr Sarwono is the current Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia, for Western Australia.

Mr Sarwono attained his formal education in International Relations from the International University of Japan and Political Science from Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta. He also received his senior diplomatic training from Jakarta in 2007.

Mr Sarwono’s work experience spans in various high ranking diplomatic roles and relations in the ASEAN region, including the Consul of Indonesia for the Northern Territory from 2012 to 2014, as well as Director of ASEAN Political Security Cooperation in 2008. He was also Head of Sub Directorate of ASEAN Political Cooperation, Directorate of ASEAN Political –Security Cooperation in 2005.

Mr Sarwono, as Indonesian Consul-General to Western Australia, will talk on how Indonesia plays its role in ASEAN, APEC, and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

He will also discuss the WA-Indonesia relationship and its importance for Indonesia, and broader issues of Indonesian economic development.


Professor Vedi Hadiz
Professor of Asian Societies and Politics
School of Management and Governance and Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs

Monday 30 November 2015
12.30 - 1.45pm
Senate Building Senate Room 2.002
Closest paid car park, Car Park 3 and Car Park 4

Light refreshments served. Please advise dietary requirements if required.

Kindly RSVP

Health Policy Forum

Posted 18 November 2015

Francesco-Paolucci.jpgIn our third Health Policy forum, Professor Goni (Complutense University of Madrid) and Professor Paolucci (Head of Health Policy at Murdoch) call for one of the greatest health care overhauls since the introduction of Medicare. The report, launched on Monday the 16 November by Victoria University’s Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC), suggests a national health insurance system could be the right medicine for Australia’s ailing health care industry.

Murdoch News also featured this article in here. Victoria University's media release on this, can be found here.

In the second in a series on our Health Policy Forum, we look at comparative health system reforms:

Posted 23 October 2015

Like many developing and developed countries, Chile has placed healthcare reforms at the centre of its political and economic restructuring process. Interestingly the challenges Chile is facing resemble those of the Australian healthcare system and of most high-income and middle/high-income nations, such as:

  • emerging two-tier healthcare systems;
  • overlapping and inefficient private/public financing and provision of healthcare;
  • restructuring governance and regulatory arrangements to enable choice without comprising affordable access.

In this article Dr Paolucci and Dr Verdasco focus on the Chilean case and explore a viable direction to improve the currently inefficient and inequitable institutional and regulatory status quo, which can inform policy makers in Australia and other countries.

Private patients may stretch public facility

Posted 5 October 2015
Australia's convoluted health system is the largest single expenditure item in both the federal and state government budgets. As a result, it is also one of the biggest potential areas for efficiency gains and cost savings for governments prepared to take tough decisions. In the first of a series, the SWMS Health Policy program is examining some of these options in relation to the new Fiona Stanley hospital.
Read the full article

Policy Seminar with the Auditor General for Western Australia, Mr Colin Murphy

Updated 23 October 2015

Colin Murphy was appointed as Auditor General for Western Australia in June 2007.

Colin has extensive experience in finance and administration in both State and Commonwealth Government roles. He has held senior positions within the State

Government in the Departments of Justice, Treasury and Finance, Land Administration and the Building Management Authority. He has also worked for the Commonwealth Department of Finance in Perth and Washington DC and as Business Manager for Murdoch University.

Colin is a member of the Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Western Australia. He is a Fellow, former Board member and Past State President of CPA Australia and a Fellow member of the Governance Institute of Australia and the Institute of Chartered

Accountants in Australia. Colin was awarded the Public Service Medal in the 2010 Australia Day Honours.

The Auditor General will speak about his role and the functions of his Office, focusing on the unique requirement for him to provide an opinion on the reasonableness of a Minister’s decision not to provide information to Parliament.

The requirement for the Auditor General to provide this opinion arose from recommendations of the 1992 report of the Royal Commission into Commercial Activities of Government and Other Matters, (known as WA Inc.).

The introduction of this “first generation” legislation has caused some issues for both the Office of the Auditor General and Ministers. The Estimates and Financial Operations Committee of the Legislative Council is currently conducting an inquiry into the provision of information to Parliament.

Photos below were taken at the seminar.

C Murphy 1.pngC Murphy 2.png

Dr Yvonne Haigh
Senior Lecturer in Policy and Governance, Academic Chair – Public Policy and Management
Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs

Thursday 22 October 2015
12.30 - 1.45pm
Senate Building Senate Room 2.002
Closest paid car park, Car Park 3 and Car Park 4
Campus map can be found here.

Light refreshments served.
Kindly RSVP

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Graduate Recruitment Workshop

Posted 13 October 2015

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Perth Office held a Graduate Recruitment Workshop hosted by the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs on 20 October.

Around 25 students from various Schools, turned up for the afternoon session.

Photos below of Ms Andrea Gleason and Ms Amanda Rickman presenting at the workshop.

A Gleason DFAT Grad Recuit Workshop.pngA Rickman DFAT Grad Recruit Workshop.png

Please see attached flyer for more information.

'Are you a good communicator, strategic thinker, flexible, adaptable, resourceful and like solving problems?

Perhaps a career at DFAT could be your next step.

The workshop is intended to introduce you to the Graduate Programs and provide tips on navigating the application process.

DFAT has two graduate programs, with applications opening in February/March 2016:

  • DFAT Policy Graduate Program: open to all disciplines.
  • DFAT Management Graduate Program: open to accounting, business, ICT and human resource management disciplines.

Both programs are a two year professional development program, which combines work placements with formal training modules.
As such, DFAT recruits candidate from a variety of backgrounds and you do not need to have studied particular subjects. The Program applies only to Australian residents.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Please RSVP to'

jeffrey_wilson150x150.jpgChina Free Trade Agreement debate

Posted 25 September 2015

Dr Jeffrey Wilson shares his views on the China Free Trade Agreement debate.

For more analysis on the China-Australia Free Trade Deal from Dr Wilson, please visit

Targeted approach could sway non-vaccinators

Posted 22nd September 2015

Katie AttwellA TARGETED group approach aimed at parents who choose not to vaccinate their children could help overcome resistance, researchers say.

While 92 per cent of Australian parents have their kids vaccinated, 95 per cent coverage is necessary for herd immunity—the level at which a disease is considered not present in the community.

Read more of the story on the Science WA website.

SWMS student meets Australia’s political leaders

Posted 21st September 2015

Sir Walter Murdoch School masters student Claire Smith, this year’s Global Voices Scholarship winner, participated in pre-departure briefings in Canberra, where she had the pleasure to meet with high profile politicians such as Julie Bishop, Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen and Josh Frydenberg.

The pre‐departure briefings were in preparation for her attendance as part of a Global Voices delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP21 to be held in Paris in late November.

The Global Voices scholarship connects Sir Walter Murdoch School students with the highest levels of national and international policymaking. This year their pre-departure meetings included:

  • Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, The Hon. Julie Bishop MP
  • Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. Bill Shorten MP
  • Shadow Treasurer, The Hon. Chris Bowen MP
  • Assistant Treasurer, The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP
  • An exclusive lunch in the Members & Guests Dining Hall with Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, The Hon. Alan Tudge MP and Qantas ACT Regional Manager, Mr. Colin Thomas
  • Briefings at the United States Embassy
  • Greens Co-Deputy and Climate Change and Environment Spokesperson, Senator Larissa Waters and Climate Change and Environment Adviser to the Greens, Jay Tilley
  • Assistant Minister for Health, Senator The Hon. Fiona Nash
  • Shadow Minister for Finance, The Hon. Tony Burke MP
  • Parliamentary Secretary to The Treasurer, The Hon. Kelly O’Dwyer MP
  • Shadow Assistant Treasurer, The Hon. Dr. Andrew Leigh MP
  • Departmental experts on climate change and the UNFCCC, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Adviser, The Office for Women in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Gemmie Alliston and DFAT Adviser on the Australian Delegation to the CSW, Sian Phillips
  • Federal Labor Member for Gellibrand – The Hon. Tim Watts MP
  • Academic Adviser to the UNFCCC COP21 Delegation – Professor Janette Lindesay

Claire is currently working on her draft research paper, which forms part of the research fellowship and also part of the School’s Research Internship unit in the School’s capstone program.

The lure of Australian rural land for Chinese investors

Jeffrey WilsonPosted 7 September 2015

2015 will be the biggest year on record for Chinese investment it Australian agriculture, and it's only going to get bigger. But what do the local communities effected by it think?

Read more of the story on the ABC website.

Premier’s visits delights Murdoch students and staff

Colin BarnettPosted 1 September 2015

The local Member for Bateman, Matt Taylor MLA, invited the Premier of WA, The Honourable Colin Barnett MLA, to address students in the Murdoch community. Sir Walter Murdoch School of PPIA hosted and organised this special session for the community on Friday 28. Premier Colin Barnett spoke of his life as a politician and answered questions from Murdoch staff and students.

Read more of the story on the Murdoch News website.

Climate of change waits for scholarship winner

Sir Walter Murdoch School SundownerPosted 27 August 2015

MURDOCH University student Claire Smith says the more she learns about climate change, the more important it feels to get involved in.


A Session with The Honourable Colin Barnett, Premier of Western Australia

Colin BarnettPosted 18 August 2015

On behalf of the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs, the Murdoch community staff and students will be having a short session with the Premier of Western Australia, The Hon Colin Barnett on Friday 28 August 2015.

Mr Barnett will address the Murdoch community in an informal question and answer format, drawing on his role as a parliamentarian, Minister for State Development and Science, and Premier of Western Australia. Students are particularly encouraged to attend and ask questions.

Details as follows:
Friday 28 August 2015
Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre
12.30 to 1.30pm
Closest paid car park is Car Park 3

Invitation open to Murdoch community only. All queries and rsvp to

Protect the Herd or Avoid the Herd: Vaccine Hesitancy and Social Identity Policy Seminar

David SmithPosted 7 August 2015

Dr David Smith is a lecturer in American Politics and Foreign Policy, jointly appointed between the United States Studies Centre and the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. Smith has a PhD in political science from the University of Michigan and a BA from the University of Sydney. His research has explored relations between the state and religious minorities in the US, and his book Religious Persecution and Political Order in the United States will be published in October 2015.

Dr Katie Attwell is a political science academic with the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs, and an Honorary Research Fellow of Telethon Kids Institute. She researches policy and communication strategies for engaging with wicked health problems including vaccine hesitancy in parents and health professionals. She conceived and directed the innovative “I Immunise” social marketing campaign by the Immunisation Alliance of WA.

Immunisation programmes have contributed to great advances in life expectancy and quality during the twentieth century. However, internationally, parental rejections of childhood immunisations threaten the reduction and elimination of infectious diseases, reducing the herd immunity that keeps even the unvaccinated safe. This was evident in the reason “Disneyland” measles outbreak in California, where laws regarding exemptions from immunisation programmes are among the most liberal in the United States, and – closer to home – the tragic death of four-week-old Perth baby Riley from whooping cough.

Accordingly, “vaccine hesitant” parents are a source of attention for health professionals and policymakers, who seek to intervene in crucial moments of communication and decision-making between parents and care providers, and increasingly within communities. Dr Attwell and Dr Smith will use social identity theory to conceptualise some vaccine hesitant parents as belonging to epistemological communities that do not accept expertise originating from the state or medical profession as authoritative over their families, and consider the policy approaches that arise from this.


Dr Martin Whitely, Senior Advocate
Health Consumer’s Council of Western Australia

Monday 17 August 2015
1.00 - 2.15pm
Learning Link Building 513 LL1.005
Closest paid car park, near the Child Care Centre, Car Park 5

Light refreshments served.


Sir Walter Murdoch School Sundowner and Information Evening

Sir Walter Murdoch School SundownerPosted 29 July 2015

Sir Walter Murdoch School recently held a ‘three-in-one’ event on 22 July evening. Held at Club Murdoch we ushered in our new Semester 2 , 2015 students to their Course Orientation evening and also introduced current Murdoch undergraduate students to our School and our coursework programs.

We hosted nearly 70 people in attendance, and our academics and professional staff were on hand to assist new and potential students to our School of their queries.

That evening also showcased the announcement of the GlobalVoices scholarship to Ms Claire Smith, who was the winning recipient to the Mal and Karyl Nairn Global Voices Scholarship. Professor Mal Nairn was in attendance to personally award the scholarship to Claire. More news on Claire’s win can be found here.

School Dean Professor Benjamin Reilly provided brief information on the admission requirements to our Coursework programs and introduced Academic Chairs and staff.

Trade time bombs: the dangers of ‘harmonisation’

Anna GeorgePosted 7 July 2015

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) the level of concern it generated among some community sectors has broadened as other preferential agreements have emerged, not least the Trans-Pacific Partner- ship (TPP).

For the full article download the Trade time bombs: the dangers of ‘harmonisation’ PDF.

Is democracy in retreat?

Ben ReillyPosted 2 July 2015

The Australian Institute for International Affairs, in collaboration with The Millennium Project, has launched the Global Challenges project, a framework devised to assess fifteen interdependent issues affecting the planet and providing possible solutions. Sir Walter Murdoch School Dean Benjamin Reilly writes about one of these, the prospects for democracy worldwide on the Australian Institute of International Affairs website.

Invitation to hear from Western Australian Health Industry Leaders at Murdoch

Associate Professor Francesco Paolucci Posted 17 June 2015

At the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs we are opening the doors of SWM519 Strategic Health Leadership and Management unit and invite you to join us to hear from some of WA’s leading healthcare managers and academic experts. This unit is one of four that makes up the Graduate Certificate in Health Policy and Leadership, and it runs every Wednesday 1 July – 22 July (inclusive).

You are welcome to attend one or all of these special sessions. Also, you can enrol in the Unit only, and/or enrol in the Course.

Industry speakers include:

  • Tanya West – Tanya was a Charge Nurse in ICU at one of the large London training hospitals and has been in health care consulting for over 15 years with experience in private and public systems
  • David Ligovich – Chief Financial Officer of the Silver Chain Group
  • Dr Judith Daire – Judith has a teaching and research experience in an academic environment both in Malawi and South Africa with a special interest in maternal and child health
  • Dr Simon Towler – Medical Co-Director of Service 4 and Intensive Care Staff Specialist at Fiona Stanley Hospital
  • Professor Tarun Weeramanthri – Assistant Director General, Public Health in WA Health
  • Alain St Flour – Executive Director, Finance (Chief Finance Officer) for the North Metropolitan Area Health Service
  • Dr Nikolas Zeps – Director of Research at St John of God Health Care, Subiaco
  • Dr Martin Whitely – Senior Advocate at the Health Consumers’ Council of Western Australia (WA)
  • Dr Paul Mark – A/Executive Director at Fiona Stanley Hospital
  • Taylor Carter – Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Fiona Stanley Hospital

For those interested in attending or for more information, please contact Karen Ong – or Associate Professor Francesco Paolucci (, 9360 7237.

International Masters hits Backpacker’s Bucket List

Carl ErichPosted 15 June 2015

Australia’s relationship with Indonesia was not at the top of Carl Erichs’ mind when he arrived in Perth for a backpacking holiday from Sweden in 2013.

However, after catching up with two friends enjoying an exchange semester at Murdoch University, he realised that Perth could offer more than a great beach holiday.

Carl enrolled in a Masters in International Affairs at the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs, and is now looking forward to carving out a career working in military intelligence.

“The world of intelligence opened up to me during my year of drafted national service and I am amazed how people can operate in a bubble, thinking that global issues will not affect them,” Carl said.

“My Masters has enabled me not only to improve my English but also to build on my undergraduate degree in political science and learn about international relations.

“Most importantly I had the chance to gain some real world experience in my chosen field.”

Carl has just completed a six month internship at a security and Defence consulting agency called Risk Intelligence Solutions, where he has been gathering information about Australian and Indonesian defence and security cooperation.

“It was fantastic to learn first-hand about security and military intelligence and to gain a different perspective on global politics,” Carl said.

“The internship was an incredibly valuable way, not only to learn, but to establish what interests you in the field.

“I hope to use these skills to one day work for Swedish intelligence or in a central organisation that administers aid during disasters and society breakdown.”

Dean of the Sir Walter Murdoch School, Professor Ben Reilly, said that, as a European student, Carl’s eyes had been open to Indo-Pacific affairs, a skill that will make him stand out in the job market back home.

The Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs next Policy Seminar with Dr Peter Wilkins, Honorary Research Fellow, Murdoch University

Dr Peter WilkinsPosted 8 June 2015

Dr Peter Wilkins has been a practitioner and researcher into performance reporting and improvement, evaluation, accountability and governance. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs and has focussed his research on citizen trust in public administration, and in ‘watchdog’ accountability agencies such as the Auditor General in particular. Other current areas of research include public sector collaboration, collaboration between watchdogs and the interface between government and the not-for-profit sectors.

He has served as Western Australia’s Deputy Ombudsman and prior to this had been WA Assistant Auditor General Performance Review.  He has diverse work experience in Australia, England, Malaysia and Canada including roles as an engineer, research fellow, consultant and thirty years as a public sector manager. He is Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Australian Volunteers International, a member of the Australasian and European Evaluation Societies and the Australasian Study of Parliament Group, and a National Fellow and a Western Australian Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

Citizen Trust in Public Administration: What Should the Public Sector Do?

This seminar will examine views about the importance attached to the trust of citizens in public services, and in particular concerns that it is in decline. It will identify countries that have focussed effort to specifically and explicitly address this issue. Arising from different levels and trends in trust in New Zealand and Australia it examines the approaches adopted by each country. The Government of New Zealand has identified that this trust is important and has a range of initiatives focussed on improving trust. Most public administration systems in Australia have not developed initiatives specifically aimed at improving trust, the one exception being the New South Wales Government which has created an environment where specific actions to improve trust are encouraged. Lessons will be drawn from this experience and the wider literature to provide a response to the question ‘What should the public sector do?’


Dr Yvonne Haigh
Academic Chair – Public Policy and Management, Senior Lecturer in Policy and Governance
Sir Walter Murdoch School Public Policy and International Affairs
Wed 10 June 2015

Senate Meeting Room 2.002, Senate Building 425

12.30pm to 1.45pm
Light refreshments served

RSVP to – once received, you will receive a calendar invitation.

Managing Uncertainty: The AEC reform Journey’ Mr Tom Rogers, Australian Electoral Commissioner

Tom RodgersPosted 2 June 2015

The Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs in conjunction with the Institute of Public Administration Australia (W.A.) are hosting a special talk by the Australian Electoral Commissioner, Mr Tom Rogers, this Thursday in the Senate room at 11.30 am.

As one of Australia’s most senior civil servants, Mr Rogers will discuss the leadership and cultural challenges of leading a large and diverse organisation on a reform journey. Details below:

‘Managing Uncertainty: The AEC reform Journey’
Mr Tom Rogers, Australian Electoral Commissioner

Date: Thursday 4th June 2015
Venue: The Senate Room (room 2.002), Murdoch University, 90 South St, Murdoch
Time: 11:30am – 1:00pm
Closest car park: Visitor parking Car Park 4 off Banksia Tce (note this is a pay parking service)

As this is a special event, please RSVP directly to Mrs Jade Lim,  Academic Support Officer, Sir Walter Murdoch School at the following email

Note that seats for this session are strictly limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis.

Policy Seminar with Dr Roland Rich, Rutgers University, Former Head of the UN Democracy Fund

Posted 28 May 2015Roland Rich

Dr Roland Rich served for twenty-three years in the Australian Foreign Service including posts as Legal Adviser, Assistant Secretary for International Organisations and Ambassador to Laos. Dr Rich joined the Australian National University in 1998 as Foundation Director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions, Australia’s government funded democracy promotion institute. In 1997 he was appointed Executive Head of the United Nations Democracy Fund and concurrently for the last four of those years Director of the United Nations Office for Partnerships until his retirement from the UN in 2014. He now teaches post-graduate courses at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He has written or edited five books and is working on his sixth.

The United Nations Democracy Fund: Dealing with Five UN Pathologies
The Clinton Administration made democracy an integral part of American foreign policy and invited India to partner America. India declined. Discussions continued and in the course of the Bush Administration, India relented but on condition that the work be conducted through the United Nations. Thus was born the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and the USA and India have provided half of the USD150m it has raised since its establishment. To be an effective democracy support facility within the rules and politics of the United Nations is a continuing challenge. While the word democracy has established itself within the UN’s rhetorical and normative pronouncements, it remains a contested concept. Needless to say, the governments of many Member States of the UN see democracy as a threat. UNDEF has nevertheless been a success. This is due in no small measure to the support of a core group of Member States of which Australia was once a part. It is also due to UNDEF’s success in dealing with five UN pathologies each of which represented a serious threat to UNDEF’s effectiveness.

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

Friday 29 May 2015
Senate Meeting Room 2.002, Senate Building 425
12.30pm to 1.45pm
Light refreshments served.
RSVP to – once this is received, you will receive a calendar invitation.

Convergence theory explains the lack of choice in Australian politics

Posted 22 May 2015Ben Reilly

Economists disappointed by last week’s desultory federal budget and Bill Shorten’s “me too” reply may get some satisfaction by talking to their political science colleagues. For one of the most venerable scholarly theories of Australian politics appears to be making a comeback. The “convergence thesis” – which holds that the main Australian political parties will, over time, converge upon near-identical policy positions on most issues – was on full display last week.

The Coalition government did a convincing job of producing a Labor budget, with some sops to small business, while the opposition did its best to promise more of the same, unfunded. Credible plans for a balanced budget and the much more demanding task of intergenerational equity were studiously ignored by both sides.

Read full article

Policy Seminar with The Honourable Christian Porter MP

Posted 13 May 2015Christian Porter

The Honourable Christian Porter MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
Federal Member for Pearce

The Hon Christian Porter MP is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Australia and is the Federal Member for the electorate of Pearce in Western Australia. Prior to winning the seat of Pearce at the 2013 Federal Election, he served as a Minister in the State Government, variously holding portfolios of Attorney General, Minister for Corrective Services and Treasurer of Western Australia.

In December 2014, he was sworn in as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, with specific responsibility for implementing the Government’s deregulation agenda. He will oversee the Government’s plan to reduce the regulatory burden on individuals, small business and not-for-profits and to change the culture towards regulation.

Mr Porter will talk in his role as Parliamentary Secretary, with a focus on issues of Economic Deregulation.


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

Wednesday 20 May 2015
Senate Meeting Room 2.002, Senate Building 452

Please note if numbers exceed 36, we will move to Hill Lecture Theatre, E&H Building 450, this will be confirmed and updated closer to date.

12.30pm to 1.45pm
Light refreshments served.
RSVP to - once received, you will receive a calendar invitation.

Opinion: Allow Aussies to opt out of Medicare and rely on private health insurance

Posted 4 May 2015Francesco Paolucci

In an article for The Conversation, Associate Professor Francesco Paolucci, Head of the Health Policy Program at the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs, argues that Australia’s health financing system needs a reboot to reduce the distortions and inefficiencies created by the overlapping coverage between Medicare and private health insurance.

He says that one solution would be to allow individuals to voluntarily opt out of Medicare entirely and buy full coverage via their private health insurance.

Professor Paolucci calls for a coherent vision followed by consistent action to design and implement the policy changes necessary to guarantee a modern, sustainable and durable health care financing system.

The full article can be read here.

Policy Seminar with Dr Simon White, Independent Policy Advisor

Posted 23 April 2015Dr Simon White

Dr Simon White is an independent policy advisor working with national, regional and city governments, business organisations and development agencies to formulate and implement strategies for enhanced economic growth, business development and job creation. His major advisory and research interests focus on public policies for innovation, entrepreneurship and regional and local economic development. He also works on international development and the role of donor and development agencies, business environment reform, public sector governance, regulatory reform, and the promotion of private investment for development.

The Private Sector in Development: Challenges for the State This seminar will examine the role of the private sector in global development and the challenges posed to developing-country states and the donor and development agencies that support them. In 2002, the Monterrey Consensus highlighted the role of domestic and private finance in development. Where the capacity of developing-country governments is often overshadowed by the development challenges they face, governments are required to think more strategically about how they use of their own resources and the ways they can mobilise other resources. The private sector, whether through foreign or domestic investment, presents a potent resource for development, but this also brings dangers. This seminar will present the ways in which private investment is being mobilised for development and the questions this raises on the role of the state in development.

Dr Jane Hutchison
Academic Chair, Development Studies
Sir Walter Murdoch School Public Policy and International Affairs
Thursday 30 April 2015
Senate Meeting Room 2.002, Senate Building
12.30pm to 1.45pm
Light refreshments served

Health Policy: how do we deal with anti-vacccinators?

Posted 20 April 2015Katie Attwell

SWMS Capstone Coordinator Dr Katie Attwell has been contributing to debates around the new Federal Government policy of withholding benefits from parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. Dr Attwell researches into vaccine hesitancy and strategies for increasing vaccination rates.

She describes her entry into this field of research in a recent article in The Drum, and her latest article exploring the signals of vaccination policy has been published in both The Australian and The Drum.

Dr Attwell will be an expert panellist in a vaccine advocacy workshop at the University of New South Wales at the end of April. She is a contributor to the Sir Walter Murdoch School’s new health policy program, which examines major healthcare policy issues in the new Graduate Certificate in Health Policy and Leadership and related initiatives.

View the full story.

Study opportunities for not-for-profit sector

Posted 17 April 2015

Opportunities for people working in the not-for-profit sector to enhance their careers have emerged through new scholarships announced at Murdoch University.

Murdoch’s School of Management and Governance is partnering with the Australian Scholarship Foundation and the Bankwest Foundation to provide three full scholarships in one of the School’s Graduate Certificate Programs.

View the full story.

International Conference on "Public Policy, Global Governance and Security" during 23-24 February 2015 at JGU Campus

Posted 17 March 2015Opening of the joint Murdoch-OP Jindal conference

The Sir Walter Murdoch School joined with our counterparts at OP Jindal Global University in India to host an International Conference on "Public Policy, Global Governance and Security" in February 2015. The conference was held at the JGU Campus in Harayana, India.

Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Taggart and Professor Benjamin Reilly of the Sir Walter Murdoch School led the Murdoch delegation to Jindal University. The conference brought together Indian and Australian academics to explore important policy issues of mutual and regional interest, and helped in the consolidation of our relationship. Professor Jurgen Brohmer, Prof Shashi Sharma, Dr Rajat Ganguly and Dr Ian Wilson also participated in the visit. Several scholars also pursued other activities and visits in Delhi as part of this visit.

This conference on Public Policy, Global Governance and Security was organised by the Jindal Schools of Public Policy, Law School and International Affairs, along with the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs and featured a wide range of papers on Indian, Australian and international topics, including climate change, agriculture and food security, ethnic conflict, democratic governance, and development.

The event was attended by many leading academics, as well as the State Governor and Members of Parliament.

Download the conference program.

Policy Seminar with Professor T.V Paul, Professor of International Relations at McGill University, Canada

Posted 3 March 2015Professor T.V Paul

Professor T.V Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Paul is the author or editor of 15 books and over 55 scholarly articles/book chapters in the fields of International Relations, International Security, and South Asia.

He is the author of the books: The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World (Oxford, 2013); Globalization and the National Security State (with N. Ripsman, Oxford, 2010); The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons (Stanford, 2009); India in the World Order: Searching for Major Power Status(with B.R. Nayar Cambridge, 2002); Power versus Prudence: Why Nations Forgo Nuclear Weapons(McGill-Queen’s, 2000); and Asymmetric Conflicts: War Initiation by Weaker Powers(Cambridge, 1994). A former Vice-president of the International Studies Association (ISA), Paul currently serves as the editor of the Georgetown University Press book series: South Asia in World Affairs.

For more on Paul see:

Restraining Great Powers: Soft Balancing in World Politics

This book examines a crucial element of state behaviour -- the use of international institutions and economic instruments such as sanctions -- to constrain the power of dominant actors. Much of International Relations scholarship fails to capture the use of these non-military instruments for constraining superior power. Analysts have coined the concept ‘soft balancing’ to describe this phenomenon (Paul, 2005; Pape, 2005). The soft balancing debate has generated much literature in the past half a decade or so. However, it has been used exclusively in the context of responses by second-tier states toward U.S. power. The main objective of this project is to expand and test soft balancing arguments to historical eras (interwar period) and the emerging power, China. I seek to explore: under what conditions do states resort to soft balancing (relying on economic and institutional instruments) as opposed to hard balancing (relying on formal military alliances and arms build-ups)? When do they combine both? What are the differences and similarities between the 20th and 21st century cases of soft balancing--one under multipolarity, the other under near-unipolarity? When do soft balancing efforts elicit hostile reactions and when do they produce positive results? Finally, what are the implications of soft balancing for the rise of new great powers and the international order, especially conflict and cooperation in the 21st century’s globalized international system?


  • Professor Samuel Makinda
    School of Management and Governance


  • Professor Kevin Hewison
    Director Asia Research Centre, School of Management & Governance

Tuesday 3 March 2015
Senate Meeting Room 2.002, Senate Building
12.30pm to 1.45pm. Light refreshments served.

International Security and Antimicrobial Resistance: Why Policy Coherence Matters

Posted 23 February 2015Anna George

By Anna George

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a health security issue presenting unique challenges not only to human and animal health but also to economic and trade agendas.

Current tactics to combat AMR focus on preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics and on developing these unique health tools. While increased public funding has produced some progress (along with the recent announcement that scientists have discovered what could be the first new antibiotic in 25 years) scientists caution that the availability of new antibiotics is still some years away.
Public health experts generally accept the World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan concerning AMR. However, much of their framework remains to be given concrete form, including the basic usage and surveillance data necessary for any evidence-based policy approach.

Comprehensive data about the translational effects of antibiotics across various sectors of the economy is necessary to develop coherent strategies to combat AMR.  Of particular concern is that we don’t yet understand how using antibiotics in industrial food production may undermine their effectiveness, nor do we understand the health consequences of new bugs that may evolve in this environment. An alternative policy could be adopting a more proactive and precautionary approach, implementing more stringent standards for food production. However, industry pressure would likely inhibit governments from taking such measures.

Concerns about AMR transcend national boundaries.  Nevertheless, political leaders have been slow to recognise how the public, health systems and the economy are impacted by AMR. A recent report undertaken in the UK provides rather scary food for thought, asserting that drug-resistant superbugs could cost the global economy as much as $100 trillion between now and 2050.

Reasons for this slow response can be traced back to the diversion of resources and health policy leadership after 9/11. WHO issued its first major report on AMR – Global Strategy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance – on the eve of 9/11, meaning little if any notice was taken of its attempt to issue a health security wake up call. A decade and a half on, governments are beginning to take notice. However, much more attention is needed to combat the challenges of AMR.

Market Failures

Despite the recent announcement that scientists have discovered a new antibiotic teixobactin, no new class of antibiotic has entered the market since the mid-1980s. This is a significant and disturbing market failure notwithstanding the legal and monopoly privileges provided to patents as well as the substantial political support offered to the pharmaceutical industry.

While slightly chastened and aware of the public relations consequences, pharmaceutical companies may still be tempted to manipulate this health security issue to argue for further monopoly protection. However, the EU and US are already providing significant incentives to counteract this problem. The US has provided greater patent support against generics entering the market introducing the GAIN Act and, along with the EU, provides major funding support to develop new drugs alongside specific innovation rewards. On the regulatory front, the EU and US are working to minimise the time and administrative burdens for obtaining regulatory approvals.

A Clash between Health Policy and Trade Obligations

There are a number of economic and legal obligations that need to be included in the policy framework addressing AMR. Existing WTO obligations should be sensitised and in some cases neutralised proactively to prevent AMR policies from clashing with trade obligations.  The quantitative data pertaining to industrial food production is startling, indicating that between 70 and 80 per cent of antibiotics are used in various forms of food production.  National measures to block importing antibiotic resistant strains via food production should not become hostage to threats of a WTO dispute resolution, despite the incumbent political baggage that this may involve.

Here, WHO/FAO Codex Alientarius is an important institution, setting international food safety standards used by the WTO. Given the heath security problems associated with AMR, the Codex system needs to be made more sensitive. Effective global databases to collect and quickly disseminate information about AMR are also essential.

Further, cheap, accurate and rapid diagnostic tests to identify bacterial infections (essential to conserving antibiotics) have not been developed. However, recent changes to US intellectual property policy may promote development of diagnostics by placing limits on patents concerning gene sequences. Other countries should follow the US’ lead, since the EU, Japan and Australia continue to allow patents over naturally occurring gene sequences.

Alarmingly, investment agreements promoted in bilateral and regional FTAs can be used to sue governments for implementing policies or regulatory changes to counter AMR. For example, corporations can challenge domestic or import production standards for food production processes or labelling requirements, many of which may compromise AMR strategies. Phillip Morris’ case against the Australian Government’s plain packaging policy for tobacco illustrates corporations’ willingness to initiate these challenges. 

However, agreements such as the Australia-US FTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership are also used to promote and harmonise regulatory measures, standards and labelling requirements across borders. These legal obligations enable corporations to lobby at governmental levels about health or transparency measures. For example, the US introduced domestic changes to the use of antibiotics in animals. However, this was limited to ‘voluntary’ implementation. 

The global health industry is also influenced by trade imperatives, promoting the comparative advantage of developing countries’ ‘health tourism’ initiatives. Western governments seeking to minimise their domestic health budgets may be tempted to actively promote such policies.  Unfortunately, this may lead to greater AMR transmission globally, increasing domestic health costs. Governments and/or health insurers tempted to minimise costs by promoting these models should consider the price of dealing with increased cross-border transmissions of superbugs.

Overall, the most effective means we have to address AMR is implementing better basic public health strategies. These strategies are neither novel nor rocket science. Nevertheless, millions of citizens do not have access to hygiene, sewerage, toilets or clean water. The rise of AMR is yet another reason to prioritise these essential life-enhancing services.

Anna George is Adjunct Professor, Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs, Murdoch University and Associate Fellow, Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House. This article can be republished with attribution under a Creative Commons Licence.

Policy Seminar with Ms Emma Tomkinson

Posted 12 February 2015Ms Emma Tomkinson

We are kicking off our first policy Seminar for 2015, with Ms Emma Tomkinson, Social Business Consultant on 17 Feb 2015 Tuesday.

Ms Emma Tomkinson
Social Business Consultant
Emma is an Australian social impact analyst who works on a range of social investment and measurement projects with social purpose organisations. She applies a quantitative approach to social problems and programs. The bulk of Emma’s recent work and experience has been with Social Impact Bonds. Emma developed the Social Impact Bond concept for application by the New South Wales Government. Last year, she helped establish the Centre for Social Impact Bonds at the UK Cabinet Office, creating an online resource - the Social Impact Bond Knowledge Box. While in the UK, she co-wrote the first academic case study of a Social Impact Bond, the Peterborough Pilot, through the Said Business School at Oxford University.

'Social Impact Bonds and the Performance Agenda in the Government and Not-for-profit Sectors'
Social impact bonds combine performance-based contracts for social services with social investment. Both of these policy areas have attracted recent enthusiasm from governments around the world, as well as those seeking to do business with government. As of the end of 2014, there were 25 social impact bonds, 15 of which were in the UK and two in New South Wales. The South Australian and Queensland Governments are both progressing projects in this area, although both are open to broader ‘payment-by-outcomes’ (QLD) and 'pay-by-results' (SA). Emma will talk through what a social impact bond is, as well as explain how they have been used by governments to achieve different policy objectives, and how not-for-profits are responding. This will be a very matter-of-fact presentation full of anecdotes from the field and there will be plenty of opportunity for questions.

Dr Katie Attwell
Capstone Coordinator, Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and Int’l Affairs
Tuesday 17 February 2015
Building 513, Learning Link Building LL1.002, next to School of Management & Governance
12.30pm to 1.45pm
Light lunch will be provided. Please advise dietary requirements.

Please RSVP: if you are attending.

Assessing the roll-out of Dubai's Health Insurance Scheme

Posted 5 February 2015Dr Francesco Paolucci

Choices about universal mandatory health insurance coverage are some of the most important and actual policy challenges around the world. While some attempts to expand coverage remain politically polarising, such as Obamacare in the United States, other regions are forging ahead with new models.

Governments in the Middle East and the Gulf have been pioneering these efforts by gradually introducing and rolling out universal coverage with the purpose of enhancing access and affordability to health insurance for nationals as well as expatriates.

Dr Francesco Paolucci (Associate Professor & Head of Health Policy Program at Murdoch University) recently travelled to the Middle East to actively contribute to these public policy debates, and to advise on the introduction and phase implementation of the Universal Mandatory Coverage scheme in Dubai which is planned to be fully rolled-out by 2014-2016.

His article “ASSESSING THE ROLL-OUT OF DUBAI’S HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME”, was published on the Daily Dose magazine, and he was also interviewed by the popular and respected radio show ‘business breakfast’ on dubaieye1038 covering global and regional  health care reforms challenges, opportunities and best practices.

Dr Paolucci also contributed to the proceedings of the 2015 Murdoch Executive Series which focused on Health Reforms in the Middle East where he delivered a speech about the interaction between mandatory and voluntary health insurance schemes. This event was also widely followed and covered by the major newspapers in the region and radio.

Dr Paolucci says: “Lessons from our the world indicate is that the introduction of universal coverage calls for increased efforts from a regulatory perspective, both in terms of development of novel specialised institutions and also in terms of developing expertise in health policy, economics, leadership and management within the sector. Professionals will require training and highly developed skills to cope with and respond to the challenges of an increasingly complex healthcare sector, which is exactly what we had in mind when designing our new Graduate Certificate in Health Policy and Leadership currently on offer in our campus in Perth, and also planning to deliver it very soon in Dubai and Singapore including various executive education customised components for strategic partners.

New scholarship opens global doors

Posted 15 January 2015Ben Reilly and Professor Mal Nairn

Students at Murdoch University’s elite graduate policy school could find themselves mixing with world leaders like UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, thanks to a new scholarship.

The Mal and Karyl Nairn Global Voices Scholarship will enable a top performing student enrolled at the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs to join delegations of their peers at major international forums such as the United Nations, the World Bank and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meetings.

The delegations are organised by Global Voices, an organisation which aims to bring Australia’s future leaders face-to-face with key international decision makers.

“The Mal and Karyl Nairn Global Voices Scholarship will be a game-changer for the recipient,” said the Sir Walter Murdoch School’s Dean, Professor Benjamin Reilly.

“Many Sir Walter Murdoch students already pursue valuable research internships with Parliament or the State Government here in Perth. But this program opens up the possibility of completing their degree at a national and global level of decision-making. The contacts they make will be invaluable and possibly life-changing.”

Following a merit-based selection, the student’s journey with Global Voices involves serious preparation. As well as meeting Australia’s leaders in Canberra, delegates must produce a quality piece of research, become a published opinion author, and highlight their story through local media.

“The experience starts in Canberra with meetings with politicians and civil servants in government, the opposition and in Federal Parliament, before heading overseas as part of an international delegation, working closely with Australian government officials,” said Professor Reilly.

The successful student’s work as part of the Global Voices delegation will also count towards their Masters degree at the Sir Walter Murdoch School.

“We want to see our best students having influence on the world stage,” said Professor Reilly.

“By providing them the opportunity to engage with big policy issues both at home and abroad, the Global Voices scholarship fits the Sir Walter Murdoch School’s mission perfectly.”

Having experienced firsthand the incredible opportunities that come from studying overseas, both Mal and Karyl Nairn said they were delighted to be able to help others pursue opportunities found abroad.

Professor Mal Nairn is a former Murdoch University Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Veterinary School and his daughter Karyl Nairn is a London-based QC.

Professor Nairn’s belief in the value of the overseas student experience started with a PhD program at the University of Minnesota reinforced by his national involvement with the Australian-American Fulbright Commission and State Selection Committee for the Sir John Monash Scholarship.

Ms Nairn said following a law degree in Western Australia, enrolling for a masters degree at the London School of Economics played a pivotal role in her career and the broadening of her horizons.

The scholarship will be available to Sir Walter Murdoch School students from 2015.

For more information view the Global Voices scholarship webpage.

Sunday Times story – ‘New Murdoch University scholarship boosts WA students onto world stage'.