• Class Number 7305
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Azad Singh Bali
    • Dr Azad Singh Bali
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course will provide an introduction to the study of public policy. It provides an overview of the main theories of public policy processes and examples of their application in the scholarly literature. The course will review the key challenges facing public policy makers. The approach will blend theory and case studies.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand the key theories of the policy process;
  2. analyse case studies of policy making using a variety of policy making theories;
  3. understand contemporary public policy challenges and approaches to resolving them; and
  4. demonstrate advanced skills in oral and written communication, research and critical analysis.

Required Resources


  1. Althaus, C., P. Bridgman and G. Davis (2007) The Australian Policy Handbook. (4th edn). Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin
  2. Cairney, P.(2012) Understanding Public Policy. Theories and Issues. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  3.  Fenna, A.  and R Manwaring (2021) Australian Government and Politics. Pearson
  4.  Hill, M. (2005), The Public Policy Process (4th edn). (Harlow and New York: Pearson Longman).
  5. Howlett, M, M Ramesh and A Perl (2020) Studying Public Policy. New York: OUP  HRP is an advanced reading into public policy. It contains a lot of references to most recent scholarship that may be useful as you are writing your term papers

All lectures will be pre-recorded. These will be placed onto Wattle as close to midday on each Monday of class as possible. Any major deviations from this pattern will be notified in advance via wattle.

While it will vary, typically lectures will go for an hour or so. They may be split up into more bite-sized pieces as is needed.

Tutorials will be held in small groups. Once you select a tutorial, you are expected to stay in that group for the duration of the semester. Where possible Tutorials will be held in-person. Otherwise, they will be held in timetabled slots on Zoom. The running time of tutorials may vary week-to-week depending on the level of engagement and participation but may run to 50 minutes. 

The expectation is that students will have read the articles and viewed the lecture in preparation for the tutorial discussion. Moreover, students are expected to actively participate in the tutorial discussions. This participation is essential for you to maximize learning (and grades) in addition to making it a rewarding social experience for us all.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Course Introduction In this introductory class we will explain the course design and clarify the assessment tasks. We will encourage students to reflect critically on the central topic of the course: public policy. The various meanings of the term will be outlined, compared, and discussed. Students will be introduced to the stages model of the Policy Cycle, where each week we will study a particular stage.
2 Key Concepts in Public Policy In this week we begin to explore some of the key concepts and ideas that are used in public policy theories and frameworks in the coming weeks. In particular, we will pay attention to (i) path dependency (ii) institutions (iii) actors (iv) ideas (v) interests
3 Problem Defintion & Agenda Setting Assessment 1 Due Defining public problems is not a neutral act. It involves selecting certain facts and values as important in one’s representation of the world while dismissing others. At any given time, different groups push their problem definitions into the public and political realm. They work to ‘frame’ problems and issues to grab the attention of key power brokers (such as the mass media) and policy makers. Without this attention, even the best-argued case for policy reform can fall flat. This week we describe how the scarce resource of ‘attention’ is allocated in political systems. In particular, we will pay attention to the multiple stream model and the Issue-Attention Cycle
4 The Tools of Policy Formulation This week we will look at what tools (techniques and mechanisms available to governments) governments have at their disposal to address a particular policy goal. We will dive deeper into a popular framework in the literature used to classify and sort through different policy tools. This topic concludes with a checklist of five conditions for effective policy formulation.
5 Decision-Making Decision-making processes on what policies to adapt vary significantly from case to case and across countries. The decision-making process has an important impact on the design of the policies adopted and therefore also on their ability to effectively address the policy problems. This week we look at different approaches or models of decision-making. We will explore ideal-rational type, incrementalism, and the garbage can model which has been used to describe irrational or chaotic decision-making.
6 Policy Implementation Most policy arenas can be characterised as shared power worlds: no single actor can make binding decisions about policies and programs by themselves alone. This means that whatever their substantive disagreements may be, all actors (politicians, bureaucrats, interest groups, and citizens) in policy processes know that they are also at least in part mutually interdependent. This week develops this focus on interaction towards the pivotal issue of implementation, or as it once was put ‘what happens after a bill becomes a law.’ Several decades of implementation research suggests that the answer to this query is: ‘a great deal’, and that it is in fact the interactions at this post-decisional stage of the policy cycle that are perhaps the most crucial determinant of the success or failure of public policies and programs. Take home exam in the mid-semester break is scheduled
7 Policy Learning, Success and Failure Do governments learn from their mistakes? What is a successful public policy? Is success in the eyes of the beholder? This week we will interrogate these questions by looking how and to what extent governments learn, what factors precipitate learning, and what constrain them. We will also introduce a framework to evaluate policy success.
8 Policy Change Many theories of the policy process explaining the stability of public policies over time, but has struggled to explain policy changes. This week, we engage in the debate on policy reform but firstly considers various types of policy changes and differing trajectories of policy reform. There is a growing interest in analysing the role of ideas in policy change. Ideas are narratives linking events in causal order and thereby providing meaning to certain policy situations. All public policies rest upon a dominant idea. When ideas change, established policy institutions are challenged. We will discuss how institutions are affected by ideational change and what it means for the sustainability of the policy reforms. What may happen after policy reforms have been adopted? Do they survive and change the direction of actual government intervention, or are they reversed back to the original policy design?
9 Empirical Deep Dive: Health Policy
10 Empirical Deep Dive: Agriculture Policy
11 Thinking Comparatively about Public Policy This concluding section will summarize key concepts in the course, as well as introduce the idea of comparative public policy. For e.g. why is it that the American response to the pandemic was very different from that of Australia? What public policy concepts and ideas should we interrogate in responding to such a question.
12 Student Presentations Final Assessment

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment
Essay 1 due in Week 3 15 % 15/08/2022 30/08/2022
Take Home Mid Term Exam 50 % 06/09/2022 30/09/2022
Final Group Presentation in Week 12 25 % * *
Tutorial Work -- Continuous Assessment 10 % * *

* 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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.


Students are required to attend and contribute at tutorial sessions, where a note will be made by the tutor of individual contributions. Attendance and contribution is required to receive credit for your tutorial work.


There is a mid term take home exam. More details will be posted on the Wattle site

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 15/08/2022
Return of Assessment: 30/08/2022
Learning Outcomes: 

Essay 1 due in Week 3

 A 750 word essay on one of the following three questions. Ensure that your essay develops an argument and is research-based. References are not part of the word count.  


a.     The definition we use for public policy in this course is ‘public policy is understood as how societies deal with collective action challenges in the context of certain constraints’. What aspects of policymaking does this definition fail to recognise, and how can it be improved?


b.    ‘Engagement with stakeholders that will be impacted by a policy in an essential pre-requisite for effective policymaking’. Under what circumstances can policymakers still realise effective outcomes without stakeholder consultation?


c. ‘Path dependency constraints options that are available to policymakers’. Under what circumstances, if any, can policy makers overcome path dependency in policy formulation

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 06/09/2022
Return of Assessment: 30/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 

Take Home Mid Term Exam

The take home exam will be a take-home exam designed to test knowledge of the course material covered in the lectures, assigned readings and tutorials. The mid-term exam is expected to take up to three hours to complete. It requires students to respond to five short-answer questions. Each question will have three components. The first asks you to explain the concept is simple words, the second will ask you a specific aspect of the concept or theory that is discussed in the assigned readings, and the final component will be an applied question where you will have to either apply the concept or develop an analytical argument. Answers are expected to be succinct – no more than three paragraphs each addressing the relevant part of the question.

All five questions carry equal marks. The only way to prepare for the mid-term exam is to complete readings and tutorial questions on a weekly basis as they build the necessary scaffolding for a rigorous understanding of public policy.


An example of a midterm exam question.

What do you understand by the term policy cycle? What are its advantages of other frameworks of the policy process? How can the policy cycle be strengthened to better reflect policy practice?


Duration: 3 hours (writing)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 

Final Group Presentation in Week 12

During this course, you will be randomly assigned to a group (of 4-5 students) to work on a project that you will present in the last week of the course. You are required to make a presentation of 10 minutes where you will explain a policy outcome through any frameworks or concepts that you have explored during this course. For e.g. why is it that Australia does not have a federal ICAC? This policy outcome can be explained through any concept that is explored/explained/discussed in POLS 2002. Groups are encouraged to get in touch with your instructor to lock-in your project. The presentation will cover both the issue; the concept you are using; and an explanation/application of the concept to your issue. Your group is required to submit a 4000 word paper incorporating any comments you receive from the floor by the end of the week in which you make the presentation.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 

Tutorial Work -- Continuous Assessment

Students are required to attend and contribute at tutorial sessions, where a note will be made by the tutor of individual contributions. Attendance and contribution is required to receive credit for your tutorial work.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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.

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 Azad Singh Bali

Research Interests

Comparative Public Policy; Health Policy

Dr Azad Singh Bali

By Appointment
Dr Azad Singh Bali

Research Interests

Dr Azad Singh Bali

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions