• Class Number 7491
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Julie Lahn
    • Dr Julie Lahn
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course explores public policy towards Indigenous Australians both in recent years and historically. 
The idea of competing principles in Indigenous policy and practice is introduced. How the balancing of these might vary, both over time and geographically, is discussed. The roles of specialist knowledge, evidence, ideology and morality in the Indigenous policy arena are also discussed, while introducing a ‘three accounts’ approach to policy and governance. 
The course then examines a number of policy sectors which are central to recent debates in the Indigenous policy arena. These may change over time but could include: income support, alcohol, child protection, health, housing, land and education. Different sectors are used to think about various aspects and patterns of Indigenous policy processes, such as relations between Indigenous–specific and general policy mechanisms, the changing balancing of competing principles and the differential involvement in various sectors of the levels of Australian government.  
Recent experiments in ‘mainstreaming’ and whole-of-government policy will also be explored, both for their strengths and limitations. Finally we look at the ideas of failure and success in Australian Indigenous policy and how they relate to rhetorical registers and generational dynamics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. engage in informed debate about Australian government policy and practice towards Indigenous people;
  2. analyse other people's writing about Indigenous policy; and
  3. write critically and analytically about Australian Indigenous affairs policy debates.

Additional Course Costs

There are no additional costs in this course.

Required Resources

To complete this course you will need to access the ANU course WATTLE site. You will also need a good internet connection, webcam and microphone to participate in our weekly classes.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments on the two Essays
  • Policy Forum comments from other students and staff.
  • A course news forum open to the whole class.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

This course is delivered in a weekly, semester-long mode for both ‘in person' and 'online' students using an advanced seminar and discussion format.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The Idea of Policy
2 Current First Nations Policy Landscape
3 Academic Perspectives on Policy
4 Learning on Country and Education Policy Policy Forum Posting 1
5 First Nations Health Workforce Policy; Case Study - End Stage Kidney Disease, housing, kin and health Essay 1 Policy Forum Posting 2
6 Urgent Policy Demands: Bushfires and Sea Level Rise as Threats to Country and Place Policy Forum Posting 3
7 Evidence-Based Policy - The Research and the Politics Policy Forum Posting 4
8 First Nations People and the Public Service - history, contribution and challenges Policy Forum Posting 5
9 Generational Issues: Income Support and Welfare; Case Study - Out of Home Care or compulsory Income Management Policy Forum Posting 6
10 Measuring Success - Policy Evaluation and Co-Design Policy Forum Posting 7
11 Bureaucratic Cultures and Cultural Frameworks for Improved Policy Making Policy Forum Posting 8
12 Can there be Good Policy? Essay 2 Policy Forum Posting 9
13 week following end of lectures Policy Forum 10 Course Reflection

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials are not required for this course

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
First Essay 30 % 23/08/2021 06/09/2019 1, 2, 3
Second Essay 40 % 25/10/2021 08/11/2019 1, 2, 3
Policy Forums 30 % 01/11/2021 15/11/2019 1, 2

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation is not mandatory but gratefully desired. Most weeks we have guest specialists joining us to talk about policy research and practice - it is best for them to have an audience to engage with. Students should attend either in person or via Zoom starting at 3pm/ 1500 Canberra time. Note that this will change from Eastern Summer Time to Eastern Standard Time near the middle of the course. 

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 23/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 06/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

First Essay

Choose three readings (one each from weeks one, two and three) and analyse the story they tell about current First Nations policy landscape. You can write this in one of two ways. You can write in a first person-reflective style identifying ideas in the literature that align with or challenge your understanding. Or you can choose an op ed type plain English style such as that presented in the 'The Conversation'. You must make your points with reference to the readings to demonstrate your understanding. You can choose additional readings if they assist you in making your points, but use no more than six. Distinguish in your reference list, your three core readings from your additional readings.

Word limit: 1000-1500 words

Reference all readings in a consistent referencing style of your choosing.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 25/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 08/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Second Essay

Write an essay on one of the following topics:

  1. Choose a policy issue (close the gap, emergencies such as bushfires, calls for treaty and voice, heritage destruction), describe current policy approaches and debates (state or commonwealth, community, First Nations organisations). Identify challenges and opportunities for enchancement and obstacles to change in these areas. you can for instance consider how mainstream ideologies feed into debates and the extent to which there are moral agendas operating. To what extent to you think evidence and ideology can be separated in this policy sector?
  2. Choose a policy sector (eg health, education, income support, employment) and analyse the ways in which ideas of failure and success have recently been used in First Nations policy. Can these be related to the roles of ideology (such as neoliberalism), evidence, moral commitment, culture or competing principles in Australian Indigenous policy?
  3. You are a policy officer in a government department/agency or NGO. Write a briefing paper for your managers on an issue of concern that is arising from current practice inside or outside your organisation/agency/department. Identify how the issue is being handled (or not) in current practice and why this is being seen as a problem that requires policy attention. Who are the stakeholders, either within or outside your organisation, who are seeing this issue as a problem? What are the terms used to describe or construct that problem? What knowledge/evidence is being put forward to support that problem construction? Are there alternative constructions that you would propose and argue for? What options do you see for policy action? Are there options that you support more than others? Why? Give considered recommendations for policy action. Use a clear presentation style for this piece and include headings and a covering one page dot point summary.

Word Limit: 2500 words

Presentation requirements: This essay should include consistent referencing in a style of your choosing of all materials used in constructing your argument.


CRITERIAExceptional (High Distinction 80- 100%)Superior (Distinction 70-79%)Good (Credit 60-69%)Satisfactory (Pass 50-59%)

CONTENT (coverage of key issues, extent of background research, coverage of literature, linkage to wider issues and concepts from course)

Exceptional and comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and intellectual initiative demonstrated through: wide and relevant reference base; clear and concise overview and discussion of all key issues; follows through on all main points of argument and draws out commonalities or debates, in a sophisticated or original way.

Very high level of understanding of the subject matter and intellectual initiative, demonstrated through: very good coverage of reference material; clear and concise overview and discussion of all key issues; most of the key issues are followed through.

Good understanding of the subject matter and some intellectual initiative, demonstrated through: reasonable coverage of reference material; clear overview of the issues; some of the issues are followed through.

Adequate understanding of most of the basic subject matter possibly with some lapses and limited intellectual initiative, demonstrated through: adequate though limited reference base; an overview of some of the issues is provided, but perhaps without clear linkage to the argument; the writer does not follow through systematically on the issues.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS (awareness of assumptions in own and others’ work, recognition of different perspectives, discussion is evidence- based, claims in the literature are interrogated for gaps/ inconsistencies

Extremely high level of critical analysis and interpretation; Sophisticated or original critical analysis evident throughout; writer able to engage clearly with all the issues and analyse/critique them very thoughtfully.

Superior level of critical analysis and interpretation; with writer thoroughly able to engage with all the relevant issues and analyse/critique them


Good level of critical analysis; writer able to identify relevant issues and analyse/critique them sufficient to demonstrate a good understanding.

Limited critical analysis; writer unable to engage with issues and analyse/critique them.


introduced, terms defined, making an argument / with reference to literature and main issues/debates, signposting, summary of argument and drawing conclusions/implications)

Excellent structure; with very clear introduction and background identifying all key issues and arguments; key arguments clearly signposted; strong conclusion pulls together key arguments and draws out wider implications.

Very well structured; clear introduction identifies key issues and arguments; key arguments highlighted throughout; conclusion pulls together key arguments.

Satisfactory structure; introduction and background may be a bit weak; key issues and questions not always clearly delineated; conclusion is brief and serves only to end the essay; tends to treat papers separately.

Adequate structure but with some weaknesses; weak or minimal introduction, key arguments not well delineated; very weak or no conclusion; reviews the papers separately, with limited discussion of links between issues and implications.


Ability to refer to ACADEMIC SOURCES using a consistent REFERENCING style

Precise use of referencing and consistent presentation of referencing style.

Proficient use of referencing and consistent demonstration of referencing style.

Good use of referencing and consistent referencing style throughout.

Sufficient use of referencing technique and demonstration of consistent referencing style.

LOGIC and CLARITY (clarity of language, flow and linkage of ideas)

Excellent logical flow, each point clearly leading onto the next; sentences very clearly written using plain English; very good paragraph structure, with paragraphs clearly covering different points but very well linked to preceding and succeeding points.

Very good logical flow, most points clearly leading onto the next. Sentences clearly written using plain English. Good paragraph structure, with paragraphs mostly well linked to preceding and succeeding paragraphs.

Mostly good flow, but some rambling. Lack of clarity in some sentences, some indirect and/or convoluted language. Some weaknesses in paragraph flow and/or paragraphs of different lengths and hazy topic focus.

Some lapses in flow, with significant rambling and lack of clarity. Indirect and/or convoluted language. Weak paragraph structure, with paragraphs of different lengths and weak topic focus.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 01/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 15/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Policy Forums

There are three parts to this task.

Part 1 - During weeks 3 through 12 questions are posed on the week's topic. Choose and respond to one question in each week using up to 150 words. You are required to post ten (10) responses during semester. This part is worth 20% of the overall 30% for this assessment task.

Part 2 - The second part to this task is to present an oral summary of forum’s responses for one week only. This is a short summary 5-10 minutes maximum. You must present a summary of class responses in your own words and outline your own response to the postings noting key points of agreement and/or any missing issues or angles in the class responses. A written summary of your presentation points (one page max) is to be submitted to the convenors. You need to do this once only. You can sign up to your chosen week on the wattle site. This part is worth 5% of the overall 30% for this assessment task.

Part 3 - The final part of this task is to write a short narrative reflection on your academic insights and personal journey during the course, noting any shifts or challenges along the way. Cut and paste your weekly forum responses and submit in a single file. This part is worth 5% of the overall 30% for this assessment task.

Due Date: Weekly Policy Forum Postings are due Sunday 9am of each week; the one-off written Forum Summary (one page max) is due the day you present to the class.

Assessment criteria:

For weekly postings, these are assessed for their timeliness and the degree to which they directly address the question in one’s own words (not quotes) and with reference to the course readings.

For the Forum Summary, this is assessed on the accuracy of your summary of responses, whether you’ve noted any inconsistencies and critical missing pieces of information or issues.

For the Final Reflection, you will be assessed according to the set criteria.

Word Limit: 1500-2000

Presentation requirements: Weekly

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

A mark and comment on Essays will be entered into the course WATTLE site.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Students will not normally be allowed to resubmit assignments. If there are substantial reasons why you wish to resubmit an assignment you should speak with the Course Convenor about this as soon as possible.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Julie Lahn

Research Interests

Julie Lahn - Policy and Development; Work and Employment; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Experiences of Work in Government Bureaucracies; Professional forms of Work; Anthropology of Bureaucracy; Government Sector - Indigenous Sector interaction; also repatriation, museum and collecting, Native Title and Land Rights

Dr Julie Lahn

Monday By Appointment
Tuesday By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Julie Lahn
02 6125 3166

Research Interests

Dr Julie Lahn

Monday By Appointment
Tuesday By Appointment
By Appointment

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