Tag Archives: Royal Commissions

Podcast Special: Interview with Heath Whiley

A full length interview with Heath Whiley (University of Tasmania), recorded at the 2016 Australian Political Studies Association conference at UNSW Australia.

The subject of the interview was his paper, titled “Appointing royal commissions for political gains: is it a bad thing?”

The abstract for the paper is:


    Discourse on royal commissions indicates that they are appointed for either policy advisory or inquisitive reasons. Recent trends in Australia point to a third reason for the appointment of royal commissions, namely their appointment for political advantage. This paper argues that a political advantage through a royal commission occurs through blame avoidance, the shaping of the political agenda and to gain a political edge over competing parties or interests groups. Reviews of recent royal commissions into trade union corruption, natural disasters, child sex abuse and the home insulation program illustrates a developing trend for them to be established for political gain. The act of establishing a royal commission for political advantage can quite commonly be seen as politicising its process, recommendations and conclusions. This can limit its effectiveness because a royal commission is independent from the government that establishes it. This research recognises the seriousness of each royal commission it discusses, and elaborates on both the disadvantages and advantages of their use for political gain.