Manfred Nowak

OPCAT series: Australia’s obligations under OPCAT: The challenging task of establishing an effective NPM in a federal state

Monday, 16 December 2019

Our guest speaker and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, outlines the history of the battle to eradicate the persisting practice of torture and ill-treatment around the world, and the unique potential of and risks around the implementation of OPCAT in Australia.

Holly Cullen

OPCAT series: Implementing OPCAT in Australia: Negative globalism resurgent?

Monday, 16 December 2019

Against the backdrop of the Australian Government’s increasingly sceptical position towards what has been termed as “negative globalism”, Holly Cullen cautions how such a sentiment could pose obstacles to the country realising the full potential of an effective implementation of OPCAT in preventing human rights abuses.

Steven Caruana

OPCAT series: The need for formal partnerships between civil society and the National Preventive Mechanism

Monday, 16 December 2019

Steven Caruana highlights the crucial role that civil society plays in the successful creation of a National Preventive Mechanism - from consultation processes to the designation of the adequate body. He stresses that substantial engagement with civil society organisations is not only international best practice, but also ensures that the systems to be set up are transparent, inclusive and efficient.

Professor Shamit Saggar

OPCAT series: Preventing torture and abuse: can we afford to rely on a complaints-based system?

Monday, 16 December 2019

UWA PPI Director Shamit Saggar examines the suitability of complaints-based monitoring mechanisms for the successful detection and, importantly, prevention of instances of torture and ill-treatment. He suggests that there are unique characteristics to the phenomenon of torture that need to be taken into account in the design of a preventative mechanism.

Aidan Storer

Federal economic policy – perspectives from WA: Australian Treasury’s stakeholder engagement in Western Australia

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Aidan Storer outlines the role of the Australian Treasury’s Office in furthering a better understanding of WA’s economic and business conditions and the impact of Commonwealth policy on WA businesses, government and the community and the importance of well-functioning stakeholder engagement in doing so.

Jessica Shaw

Federal economic policy – perspectives from WA: Keystart ‘low deposit’ home loans and WA’s housing market

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Governments around Australia are grappling with the challenges posed by a lacklustre housing construction market and tightened access to finance. Jessica Shaw argues that in developing any national response, federal policymakers must be mindful of the significant role the State Government plays in the Western Australian market through its unique Keystart loan scheme.


Public expenditure in targeted portfolios can be a powerful means to simultaneously pursue social and economic policy outcomes.

Georgina Molloy

Federal economic policy – perspectives from WA: The need for better access to justice services for consumers

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Georgina Molloy highlights some of the shortcomings of the WA consumer protection system, and puts forward practical suggestions around law reform and community education to fix them.


Western Australian consumers often face barriers that prevent them from enforcing their consumer rights. People across Australia have rights under the Australian Consumer Law, but we often see in Western Australia that consumers face impediments when it comes to enforcing these rights.

What are these barriers in Western Australia?

Nicky Cusworth

Federal Economic Policy - perspectives from WA: Challenges for modern regulators

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Nicky Cusworth outlines the complexities around regulating the fast-changing energy market in Western Australia, which serves as an apt example for the overall challenges that regulators face as technological innovations are transforming markets at an unprecedented rate. She suggests that rising to the challenge must involve rethinking not only hard rules, but also the ‘soft architecture’ of regulation.

Let Every Stage Advance book launch

Let Every Stage Advance: Politicians Think 2034

Friday, 29 November 2019

The University of Western Australia Public Policy Institute (UWA PPI) today launched its latest publication, Let Every Stage Advance: Policy Ideas for Australia’s Fiftieth Parliament, at Parliament House in Canberra.

Professor Rod Tyers

Trade War Series: Resolving the US-China Tariff Conflict

Friday, 8 November 2019

Building on a macro model of the global economy, Rod Tyers & Yixiao Zhou highlight key patterns that emerged from elevated US tariffs against China and their possible implications for a resolution of the US-China trade war. 

Jonathan Coppel

Trade War Series: Will the US-China trade war change the rules-based trading order?

Friday, 8 November 2019

Our speaker Jonathan Coppel looks at the long-term effect the trade war may have on the global rules-based trading order and the efficacy and architecture of its core institution, the World Trade Organisation – and calls on Australia to continue to defend free trade and the rules-based system that it requires.

Virginia Christie

Trade War Series: It may be time to reconsider the benefits of bilateral trade agreements

Friday, 8 November 2019

At a time when multilateralism - and with it the rules-based international trading system – is at threat, Virginia Christie asks us to reconsider the possible benefits of bilateral trade deals.

Professor Dirk Baur

Trade War Series: Could the trade war be positive for Australia?

Friday, 8 November 2019

Dirk Baur encourages us to think beyond the detriments of the US-China trade war on the global economy and to consider possible positive effects of a little less trade for Australia’s workers and its economy.


Recent headlines including the words ‘trade war’ sound scary and consequently alarmed many people including commentators, politicians and investors. War is bad so a trade war must also be bad. But the time before trade war was not a time of ‘trade peace’ illustrated by the long list of trade disputes brought to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Stephen Meek

University Policy Institutes series: How realistic is it to think that robust evidence drives policy?

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

What does the policy community look like from the other end of the telescope? In academia, assumptions abound: that evidence speaks for itself; that policy levers are linear and in abundance; and that political will is a given if the evidence is robust in itself. Here, Stephen Meek, formerly from Whitehall and now heading up a major policy institute, probes further and paints a highly nuanced picture of the practice of policymaking. His observations will help academics refine what the challenge of policy engagement actually is. Shamit Saggar


Professor Bobby Duffy

University Policy Institutes series: Translating, timing and trust: the view from the Policy Institute at King’s

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Perhaps universities have been underestimating their potential strengths in shaping public policy? It seems like a strange assertion. The grounds are based on understanding the rise of university policy institutes: how able are they in safeguarding independence and trust, delineating roles and operating nimbly in synch with policy cycles? Bobby Duffy, new-ish to academia, reflects here on this initial spell heading up the Policy Institute at King’s, London. Shamit Saggar 


Patrick Diamond

University Policy Institutes series: The coming age of university policy engagement and influence

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Research-led universities have often stood in the shadows of modern thinktanks in influencing policy agendas nationally and internationally. Until now. The past few years have seen the rapid growth of university ‘policy shops’ of various kinds, many of which have successfully begun to shape policy thinking and policy design. What lies behind this turnaround? Patrick Diamond, a former special advisor and now an academic political scientist, sheds light on the story in the United Kingdom, and posits that the future looks promising for university policy engagement. Shamit Saggar 


Professor Shamit Saggar

University Policy Institutes series: The warming climate for University Policy Institutes

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The warming climate for University Policy Institutes

- Shamit Saggar

Rizwana Abdul Azeez

Radicalisation Blog Series: Implementing ‘Pluralism’

Friday, 7 June 2019

What about efforts at counter-radicalisation in societies with a prevailing commitment to managing social, ethnic and religious diversity? This involves operationalising pluralist ideas in ways that address sources of alienation and the potential ‘minoritisation’ of Islam. Shamit Saggar


Raafia Raees Khan

Radicalisation Blog Series: Sabaoon - De-radicalisation through a Compassionate Approach

Friday, 7 June 2019

De-radicalisation is a broad term that comprises many ideas and practical actions. It is important to examine what is involved at a more granular level and here Raafia Raees Khan describes a specific, multi-faceted program in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in the country’s far north. There may be scope for policy learning and borrowing for other countries, including multi-ethnic, multicultural societies such as Australia. Shamit Saggar


Professor Michele Grossman

Radicalisation Blog Series: Michele Grossman examines the perceived asymmetry between Islamist-inspired and far-right violent extremism

Friday, 7 June 2019

The nature of radicalisation is changing rapidly. The phenomenon is increasingly atomised, nested in grievances, motives and everyday lives that are difficult to penetrate for policymakers. Here Michele Grossman examines these shifts and the perceived asymmetry between Islamist-inspired and far-right violent extremism. She concludes that a credible strategy to tackle these challenges relies, more than ever, on community based responses alongside criminal justice ones. Shamit Saggar