Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject focuses on contemporary Australian public policy, examining the major forces driving policy in a range of different areas, and the implications of this for power in Australia. The subject begins by introducing students to the major theoretical perspectives on power and policy-making, along with the historical and structural factors that shape government in Australia. We then focus in depth on a selection of policy issues that have been central to the political agenda in recent years, including topics such as inequality, welfare reform, industrial relations, environmental policy and media regulation. The aim is to illuminate the power dynamics that are central to understanding politics in Australia, and to give students a deeper understanding of contemporary policy debates. This subject is particularly recommended for students who are planning a career in the media, in government, or in NGOs, and for students who wish to research an Australian topic in their Honours year.

SchoolSchool of Humanities & Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorNicholas Barry

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites 15 credit points of any first year Politics subject and 15 credit points of any Humanities and Social Sciences subject, or subject coordinator's approval


Incompatible subjects POL2CAP

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsAn Introduction to Australian Public Policy.2nd ed.RecommendedMaddison, S. + Denniss, R.CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2013

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. An understanding of the major theoretical and empirical issues involved in the study of Australian public policy

Research paper

02. Write a research paper that demonstrates a broad understanding of the key issues at stake in selected policy areas

Research paper; exam

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2016, Semester 2, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorNicholas Barry

Class requirements

Lecture Week: 31 - 43
One 2.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.

Tutorial Week: 31 - 43
One 1.0 hours tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementComments% ILO*
Online activities (equivalent to 100 words)10 01, 02
One mid-semester take-home exam (equivalent to 1400 words in total).35 01, 02
Research paper: 2500 words55 01, 02