Comparative Public Policy

Three assessment tasks are set for this unit.
All assignments are compulsory. Failure to complete one of the assessment tasks will result in the student being awarded a “Fail” for the unit.

Please also note the attendance requirements for both internal and external students, as explained on page 3 of this Unit Outline.

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IMPORTANT: The 3 assessment tasks articulate with one other. Please consider the requirements of Assignments 2 and 3 when you are working through the requirements for Assignment 1.You will need to choose your research area (Assignment 1) wisely to ensure enough comparative material exists in other jurisdictions to enable you to complete Assignments 2 and 3.
If you are in any doubt about choosing your research area, please consult the Unit Convenor.
Assessment tasks

Assessment Summary

Task Task Name % Due Date
1 Assignment 1 – Critical analysis of one policy area in a selected Australian jurisdiction (see details below); identification of sub-area for further research; identification of poorly performing program in an Australian jurisdiction – 1000 words 25 Friday 25 March
2 Assignment 2 – Critical comparative analysis of a ‘similar’ program applied in two or more other jurisdictions; identification of and justification for selection of the program which possesses the greatest potential for borrowing – 1750 words 35 Friday 13 May
3 Assignment 3 – Critical evaluation of whether or not the program identified in Assignment 2 can/should be introduced into the Australian jurisdiction selected in Assignment 1 – 2000 words
Total: 100

Task 1 – Assignment 1 Weight Due date Linked unit outcomes Linked graduate capabilities
Critical analysis of one policy area
Word Limit: 1000 words 25% Friday March 25 1,2,3,4,5,6 1,2,3,4,5,6
Assignment 1

25% Background Review Friday 25 March 2016

Assignment 1 requires students to familiarise themselves with a contested Australian policy area and with basic resources that identify specific programs within that area. The assignment constitutes an introduction to the policy borrowing exercise in which you will be engaged over the semester.

The first assignment consists of: an introductory analysis of one of a number of Australian policy areas, as that policy area appears in a specific Australian jurisdiction (i.e. a particular state or the Commonwealth); an exploration of a particular dimension of that broad policy area; and identification of a particular program that addresses that dimension and that is currently operating less than adequately in your chosen Australian jurisdiction.

In Assignment 1, you are required to canvass the broad policy area and to identify a smaller dimension which you will intensively research in the next two assignments.

Among the elements you should explore (but not necessarily write about within the
1 000 word limit) in Assignment 1 are:

Why is the broad policy area considered a problem?

What is the specific jurisdiction you have selected and how (if at all) does its identity relate to the policy area?

Is the broad policy area regarded as political in nature? Or economic? Or moral? Or social? Or cultural? Do different groups define the problem differently?

Which smaller dimension of the larger policy area do you intend to research in the next two assignments?

What major policy actors are involved in the smaller aspect of the policy?

What attempts have been made within Australia broadly – and within your selected jurisdiction – to address the smaller policy aspect in the past? Have there been or are there now different approaches to the problem in different Australian jurisdictions?

Identify a particular program addressing the smaller policy aspect that has been implemented in your chosen jurisdiction but about which questions have been raised as to its adequacy. What deficiencies have been noted; by whom?

Note: this list is a minimum, not a maximum. The object of this assignment is to:

(a) establish a knowledge base upon which to seek a ‘better’ program from other jurisdictions which you will analyse in Assignment 2; and

(b) establish a broad policy framework to enable you to consider whether the potentially ‘borrowable’ program (which you will identify in Assignment 2) might be successfully applied in your chosen Australian jurisdiction (Assignment 3).

Your initial sources for Assignment 1 are likely to be media reports, think tank or department reports, and government/ministerial statements, but these comprise only one aspect of the way the problem has been characterised. Academic analyses and commentary should also be canvassed.

Assignment 1 should conclude with (a) a clear statement of the specific dimension of the broader policy area that you plan to research in the next two assignments; (b) identification of the specific Australian jurisdiction into which you will attempt to transfer your ‘borrowed’ program; and (c) identification of the existing program which needs to be replaced and a statement of its perceived inadequacies.
Note that in previous years, this unit required a focus on one of a number of specified policy areas. In 2014, for example, three areas were nominated:

• Aboriginal health
• Literacy education
• Youth unemployment

In 2016, the choice of policy area has been extended so that no specific policy area is nominated; choice is thus widened though a good deal of material on the three areas above will be used in the course for illustrative purposes.

Looking ahead: Note that Assignment 2 requires you to identify and analyse ‘similar’ programs that (a) have been implemented in at least two other jurisdictions; and(b) that address your selected policy dimension.

In Assignment 2 you are also required to make a case for borrowing one of those programs.

Assignment 3 requires you to carefully assess the practical pros and cons of transferring the identified “borrowable” program to the relevant Australian jurisdiction.

Choose your area of analysis wisely – it pays to look ahead a little to make sure your area is one that has been addressed in other jurisdictions.

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