A ‘found comparison’: Juxtaposing shifts in the arena of environmental policy and emergent indigenous Australia policy

Here are some comments that Helen Verran sent through following the discussion of our last meeting (6th November, 2014).

I’ve really enjoyed listening to the accounts that have been given to today’s meeting and it reminds me that in varying ways many of us work across the ‘imagined’ boundary between services delivery and research.  What we’ve heard today reminds us of how artificial that boundary is because irrespective of being ‘researchers’ or ‘services delivery personnel,’ in being involved with the social-political-cultural endeavour of governance in Northern Australia in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, we are participants in a national scale experiment in governance as the IAS administrative framework is gradually extended from the top down, being tinkered with here and there, in the process.  This is rather similar (but on a larger and grander scale) to the experiment in environmental policy that started up in the mid to late 1990s in Victoria and spread unevenly (in both time and space).

So I wonder do we have a sort of ‘found comparison’ here in juxtaposing the recent past of the shifts in governance in Australian environmental policy as the arena shifted to environmental services as the core object of governance, with emergent Indigenous Australia policy?  For example I am reminded of the recent paper that Allan’s group circulated tracking the flows and ebbs of changes in environmental policy frameworks that emerged from the Australian centres of government…

I am beginning to think that following this experience with the IAS collectively in our meetings for at least the next few months—which are recorded and transcribed we remind you. Will this become an important topic in publications that emerge from our discussions?

There’s particular questions there for me… One is this: do you all as university based practitioners  of governance, think and or talk about the common institutional distinction between research and services delivery? The distinction is important to the University, and distinguishes a university as an institution working in the social-political-cultural arena of governance in Northern Australia from other national level institutions.

This question is one which we may begin with next meeting… please feel free to post any thoughts here, and to be thinking about your response  as the basis for our next lunchtime discussion (Thurs 11th Dec).

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