Monthly Archives: December 2016

Happy Holidays! Multiculturalism Show

In which the Nerds take seriously the PMs claim that Australia is the “most successful multicultural society on earth” and discuss multiculturalism, its origins, politics and policy with a diverse (get it) group of guests.  The Nerds also talk about a new book on animal welfare policy in Australia


  • Dr Amanda Elliot, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney
  • Dr Stewart Jackson, Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney


  • Doctor Sev Ozdowski, Director, Equity and Diversity, Western Sydney; Chair of Australian Multicultural Council.
  • Associate Professor Christine Inglis, Honorary Associate Professor, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney
  • Dr Leticia Anderson, National Centre for Cultural Competence, University of Sydney
  • Dr Peter John Chen, Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney

With show extras! Including a book give away. Ho ho ho.

Podcast Special: Interview with Meagan Tyler

A full length interview with Dr Meagan Tyler (RMIT University), recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was his paper, titled “The ‘Nordic Model’, prostitution policy, and women’s rights in Australia”

The abstract for the paper is:

    Prostitution policy in Australia is determined at the state and territory level, consequently, there are various approaches taken across the country. Some states have introduced systems of legalisation or decriminalisation, while other states have criminalisation or de facto criminalisation, often based on long out-dated laws. Problems with each of these existing approaches have led to a number of reviews and inquiries regarding prostitution policy in different Australian states and territories since 2010. During this same time period, a relatively new form of prostitution policy has been gaining traction internationally. Originating in Sweden, and increasingly known as the ‘Nordic Model’, this legislative approach is a type of asymmetric decriminalisation: all prostituted persons are decriminalised, but the purchase of sex is made illegal. Central elements of this model include a recognition of prostitution as a serious site of violence against women and an understanding that the existence of systems of prostitution hampers efforts to achieve gender equality. Many of the recent prostitution reviews in Australia mention the Nordic Model, but have most often dismissed it as an unfeasible policy option. This paper will provide a theoretical, thematic analysis of the understandings of the Nordic Model provided in these reviews. In particular, the analysis will consider if and how the elements of the Nordic Model relating to women’s rights, violence against women, and gender equality, are dealt with in the Australian context.

Podcast Special: Interview with Ben Spies-Butcher and Gareth Bryant

A full length interview with Drs Ben Spies-Butcher (Macquarie University) and Gareth Bryant (Sydney University), recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was his paper, titled “The Shifting Politics of Financialising Higher Education”

The abstract for the paper is:

    This paper explores the Australian innovation of income contingent student loans as a form of financialised social policy. The expansion of finance has been a defining feature of contemporary capitalism. Within the welfare state, two dynamics have seen a growing role for finance. The first involves the tensions between growing tax resistance from business and sustained support for existing and maturing social provision from the public. That tension generates a ‘politics of austerity’ in which financialised policies like Australia’s Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) can provide a potential response. The second involves demands from finance markets to ‘unlock’ the relatively secure savings of households. Most advanced in housing and pension policy, this form of financialisation has extended to student loan markets in the United States. Using this framework, the paper argues HECS combined elements of a tax and a loan in ways that confounded standard accounting principles and advanced a ‘Third Way’ politics of social expansion within neoliberalism. However, by shifting the form of policy towards a financial instrument, HECS changed the nature of political contest. The paper uses recent reports from think tanks and the Parliamentary Budget Office to explore how accounting frameworks are becoming an increasingly important site of policy contest and relates this to a broader trend evident in debates over tax expenditures and public private partnerships.

Podcast Special: Interview with Rachel Eberhard and Lyndal Hasselman

A full length interview with Rachel Eberhard (Queensland University of Technology) and Lyndal Hasselman (University of Canberra), recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was their paper, titled “When and why governments and non-government stakeholders engage in collaborative governance of water policy – lessons from the Murray Darling Basin and Great Barrier Reef”

The abstract for the paper is:

    Environmental policy issues are classic wicked problems – where problem complexity and stakeholder divergence resist resolution. In water policy, major water users (typically agriculture) need to change their behaviours. Good governance practice suggests that collaborative strategies are the best approach to resolving wicked problems that involve stakeholder behavioural change. Collaborative governance promises better policy design, greater community acceptance and the negotiation of implementation roles. Influential non-government organisations that represent different communities of interest mediate policy development and implementation through formal and informal pathways. The need to engage and negotiate water policy within and across government, as well as with key stakeholder groups, challenges the traditional hierarchical modes of government decision-making. This paper presents findings from research examining the evolution of water policy in the Murray Darling Basin and Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. Adopting a critical realist approach, the research has explored the dynamics of water policy evolution and the roles and institutional logics of government and non-government organisations active in policy dialogue. Preliminary findings document the contexts and mechanisms that have driven institutional behaviour in these two case studies. These offer tantalising insights into how policy debates can be better facilitated to support effective collaborative governance, required to negotiate the resolution of water, climate and other environmental issues that are of critical significance and urgency.