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Developing Government Policy Capability by Dr. Chivonne Algeo, Dr. Vanessa McDermott, Henry Linger, Dr. James Connor, Dr. Jill Owen

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2

CHAPTER

Policy Work in Australia

The roles and functions of modern government include the provision of a range of goods and services, often targeted to specific groups, as well as intervention in the economy (Keating, 1989). The pluralistic nature of modern life, constituted by social groups with competing interests as well as differing attitudes and values, makes reaching clear and agreed-upon solutions to complex policy issues problematic (Head, 2010). In this sense, policy is a “wicked” problem (Rittel & Webber, 1973).

Consequently, both political leaders and public sector managers face a range of pressures that impact the effective development and implementation of policy initiatives. Factors that add to the complexity of policy work ...

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