On Deploying Weapons of Mass Expertisation: Perceived Benefits and Risks for Public Policymaking

Stream: Panel 82 - Australian Politics / Media & Politics: Australian Sub-national Politics 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 11.00 am – 12.30 pm


Blame is the attribution of a perceived loss suffered by a particular agent at a specific point in time. Whilst it has long been recognised that politicians may use ‘independent expert’ agents in order to deflect blame for contentious public policy, relatively little scholarly attention has been given to the use of multiple agents. This paper examines the New South Wales (NSW) government’s use of six distinct independent agents during the course of prosecuting forced municipal amalgamations. We identify blame destruction and blame confusion as two outcomes specific to the use of multiple expert agents. However, we also identify a heightened risk of blame reversion when weapons of mass expertisation are deployed. We conclude our analysis with an enumeration of the factors necessary for the successful use of multiple agent approaches to mitigating blame.


Joseph Drew (Presenter), UTS IPPG
Joseph Drew is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Public Policy & Governance at the University of Technology Sydney. His research interests focus on expenditure and revenue structures for local government, performance measurement, corporate governance and fiscal federalism. His work has been recognised in the 2004 Australian College of Educators awards and he is the recipient of the University Medal (2003) and the D H Drummond award for economics in 2014.Recent publications have appeared in Local Government Studies, Public Money & Management, Public Administration Quarterly, the Australian Journal of Public Administration, Australian Journal of Political Science and Policy& Politics.

Bligh Grant, UTS IPPG
Bligh Grant is Senior Lecturer at the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance (UTS:IPPG). A continuing focus of Bligh's work is local government. He is co-author of two recent books, Funding the Future (2013) and Councils in Cooperation (2012), both with Brian Dollery and Michael Kortt. He has held positions as Lecturer in Business Ethics at the UNE Business School, Lecturer at the UNE Centre of Local Government and Associate Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Southern Queensland. He has taught in Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, Asian Studies and International Political Economy at UNE