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Books

Grant, B.J. & Drew, J. 2017, Local Government in Australia: History, Theory and Public Policy, Springer, Singapore.
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This book offers a general introduction to and analysis of the history, theory and public policy of Australian local government systems. Conceived in an international comparative context and primarily from within the discipline of political studies, it also incorporates elements of economics and public administration. Existing research tends to conceptualise Australian local government as an element of public policy grounded in an 'administrative science' approach. A feature of this approach is that generally normative considerations form only a latent element of the discussions, which is invariably anchored in debates about institutional design rather than the normative defensibility of local government. The book addresses this point by providing an account of the terrain of theoretical debate alongside salient themes in public policy.

Chapters

Grant, B., Woods, R. & Tan, S.F. 2017, 'Subnational finance in Australia and China: The case for municipal bond banks' in Handbook of Research on Sub-National Governance and Development, IGI Global, USA, pp. 150-166.
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© 2017 by IGI Global. All rights reserved.The political and economic benefits of decentralization have been cogently represented, to the extent that decentralization and devolution comprise identifiable programs of reform across a range of polities. However, the public policy question of finance following function - and the oversight of this process - is less resolved. Further, concerns over the financial sustainability of sub-national governments continue across a range of polities. Against the backdrop of reforms to municipal finance in both Australia and China, this chapter provides an account of the formation and functioning of two successful sub-national financial institutions, the Local Government Finance Authority of South Australia (LGFA) and the Municipal Finance Authority of British Colombia. The case studies suggest that sub-national finance may not be the thorn in the side of decentralization it sometimes appears to be. The broader introduction of such financial instruments is considered.

Grant, B.J. 2017, 'Tokenism' in Moghaddam, F.M. (ed), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Political Behavior, Sage, Thousand Oaks.
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Tokenism in political discourse has two distinct meanings. First, if we choose to view politics broadly, i.e.: in terms of the pattern of outcomes (material and otherwise) generated by a particular society, tokenism is defined as the practice of satisfying the moral requirement for the inclusion of members of structurally disadvantaged people in groups that are better placed in society. This maintains the idea that social mobility is available to all when it is not. Second, if we limit our definition of politics to those institutions and practices that are designated as the specifically political i.e.: set against civil society and the family, tokenism is defined as the practice of appeasing or placating a demand for a particular course of action. This act of placation is generally perceived as both instrumentally unsatisfactory and morally inadequate.

Grant, B.J. & Drew, J. 2017, 'The thawing continent: The changing role of local government in a people's federation' in Bruerton, M., Hollander, R., Arklay, T. & Levy, R. (eds), A People's Federation?.
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One could be forgiven for thinking that the ‘Terms of Reference’ (ToR) for the Reform of the Federation White Paper released in June 2014 might have foreshadowed the expansion of the comparatively limited remit of Australian local government. In particular, the suggestion that the allocation of roles and responsibilities might be made with regard to the principle of ‘subsidiarity, whereby responsibility lies with the lowest level of government possible, allowing flexible approaches to improving outcomes’ territories appeared to presage a level of decentralisation far greater than that of the states, or at least a sustained investigation of the possibilities in this regard. If this course had been taken, the White Paper process could have engaged with the longstanding debates concerning regionalisation and regionalism in Australia, within which the subject of local government has necessarily formed an element. However, the subsequent Discussion Paper devoted just half a page to local government’s position in a document spanning 121 pages, with a clear presumption that state and territory governments were to remain the lowest level of government to be considered by process writ large, thereby consigning the cynical amongst us to infer that under this particular White Paper process Australia was destined to remain ‘the frozen continent’. This was resoundingly confirmed by the Turnbull Government’s discontinuation of the White Paper process.

Gray, N. & Pugalis, L. 2017, 'Place-based subnational development: Unpacking some of the key conceptual strands and normative dispositions' in Handbook of Research on Sub-National Governance and Development, IGI Global, USA, pp. 34-53.
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© 2017 by IGI Global. All rights reserved.This chapter offers a critical theoretically informed and policy-relevant exploration of some of the most prevalent conceptual strands informing place-based development scholarship, discourse, and practice. In doing so, it examines the emphasis on co-operation, open governance, and the assumption that all places have the potential to grow and prosper. Further, it analyzes normative dispositions - namely that place-based modes of subnational development could represent a viable and progressive approach which reconciles pervasive tensions between economic growth and spatial equity. In the process, the chapter identifies four key conceptual strands that characterize place-based development theory and practice.

Lawrie, A.J. 2017, 'The subnational region: A utopia? The challenge of governing through soft power' in Handbook of Research on Sub-National Governance and Development, IGI Global, USA, pp. 96-115.
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Most states worldwide possess two or three levels of government, from national to provincial and localities. Subnational governing arrangements are emerging in response to widespread decentralization, globalization, and urbanization, with this level increasingly considered the ideal spatial scale for effectively harnessing governing capacity. Yet regional governing arrangements often lack the traditional statutory and administrative governing tools of the state. Instead, they tend to rely on voluntary co-ordination and co-operation. Emboldened with more traditional governing tools, provincial and local states can work against these networks to protect their own power. This case study of Sydney, Australia, examines the dimensions of hard and soft power in a regional governing network and the role of provincial and local actors in determining the prospects for regional governance. In the absence of state-like mechanisms of hard power, the soft power on which regional governing networks rely will likely remain inferior for the governing task

Morris, A. 2017, 'The decline of social housing in Australia and its impacts on older tenants' in Ní Shé, E., Burton, L.J. & Danaher, P. (eds), Social capital and enterprise in the modern state, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK.

Ryan, R. & Woods, R. 2017, 'Women’s Political Empowerment: Lessons for Subnational Levels of Government: Nepal, Pakistan, Rwanda, and Indonesia' in Ryan, R. & Schoburgh, E. (eds), Handbook of Research on Subnational Governance and Development, IGI Global, Hershey, USA, pp. 385-405.
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Political participation by women is central to development and the empowerment of all citizens. This chapter argues for the recognition of opportunities for women in leadership, political participation, and the strengthening of democracy at the level of subnational governments. A key reason for focusing on gender equity in political life is that women constitute slightly more than half of the world’s population, and they contribute to the social and economic development of all societies to a greater degree than men because of their dual roles in the productive and reproductive spheres. At the same time, their participation in formal political structures and processes, where they can contribute to decisions on the use of societal resources generated by both men and women, remains far below parity. Drawing examples from a range of national parliaments and countries, this chapter demonstrates lessons for increasing political participation by women in subnational governance.

Tan, S. 2017, 'Local representation in Australia: Preliminary findings of a national survey' in Schoburg, E. & Ryan, R. (eds), Handbook of Research on Sub-national Governance and Development, IGI Global, Hershey PA, pp. 368-384.
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This chapter explores the challenges of local representation within the context of Australian local government reform. Since the 1990s Australian local government has been undergoing a continuing process of reform that has reshaped the role of the elected members or councilors. In many states, changes to the legislation since the 1990s clearly demarcate the role of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and that of councilors. The CEO generally has management responsibility, while councilors are responsible for strategy and policy making. While a great deal of effort has been expended in developing and effecting these reforms on an institutional level, little is known about whether councilors themselves understand responsibility or how they view their role. This research seeks to address this gap.

Journal articles

Dollery, B. & Drew, J. 2017, 'Paying the piper: A critical examination of ACIL Allen's (2016) An Economic Assessment of Recasting Council Boundaries in South Australia', Economic Analysis and Policy, vol. 54, pp. 74-82.
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drew, J. 2017, 'Playing for Keeps: Local Government Distortion of Depreciation Accruals in Response to High Stakes Public Policy-Making'.
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Drew, J. & Dollery, B. 2017, 'The Price of Democracy? Political Representation Structure and Per Capita Expenditure in Victorian Local Government', Urban Affairs Review, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 522-538.
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Local government systems across the world face acute and ongoing fiscal challenges. In Australia, the regulatory response has focused squarely on council consolidation. This has, unfortunately, meant that comparatively little attention has been paid to alternate, less disruptive methods for enhancing municipal sustainability. One such possibility lies in modifying the structure of local political representation. We conduct a number of estimations on a four-year panel of Victorian municipal data to test whether the “law of 1/n” has empirical support at the local government level. Our results clearly show that the number of geographically defined fragments, or wards, within a given municipality is a statistically significant determinant of local government expenditure. A number of public policy recommendations follow from the empirical evidence that might be broadly applicable to other municipal systems.

Drew, J. & Dollery, B.E. 2017, 'Hired guns: Local government mergers in New South Wales and the KPMG modelling report', Australian Accounting Review.
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Across the developed world, including Australia, public policymaking now rests heavily on commissioned reports generated by for-profit consultants, contrasting starkly with the earlier customary reliance on the civil service to provide informed policy advice to political decision makers. Dependence on commercial consultants is problematic, especially given the moral hazards involved in ‘hired guns’ providing support for policy ‘solutions’ desired by their political paymasters. This paper provides a vivid illustration of the some of the dangers flowing from the use of consultants by examining the methodology employed by KPMG in its empirical analysis of the pecuniary consequences of proposed municipal mergers as part of the New South Wales’ (NSW) Government’s Fit for the Future local government reform program. We show that the KPMG (2016) modelling methodology is awash with errors which render its conclusions on the financial viability of the NSW merger proposals fatally flawed.

Drew, J. & Grant, B.J. 2017, 'Means, motive and opportunity: Distortion of public policy-making performance management data', Australian Journal of Public Administration.
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Regulatory authorities are increasingly relying on performance data for public policy making purposes. However, this reliance necessarily assumes that the data is free from material distortion. This paper provides a conceptual framework for understanding the ‘means’, ‘motive’ and ‘opportunity’ for distorting data employed in high stakes performance management programmes. We present empirical evidence which suggests that the use of data drawn entirely from financial statements is by no means a guarantee of a distortion free depiction of performance. In addition, we provide econometric evidence of some important determinants of performance data distortion. Taken as a whole, the following analysis provides a comprehensive picture of the salient matters which must be addressed in order to ensure accurate data for public policy making purposes.

Drew, J. & Grant, B.J. 2017, 'Multiple agents, blame games and public policy-making: The case of local government reform in New South Wales', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 37-52.
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Politicians often use ‘independent experts’ to avoid blame for contentious public policy. The use of multiple agents, however, has attracted relatively little attention. We extend the blame-avoidance literature to identify additional opportunities and risks that arise when multiple agents are used to support/oppose particular public policies. We then test our propositions using evidence from recent local government reforms in New South Wales. The picture which emerges is largely one of confusion whereby independent agents provide contradictory opinions, attempt to shift blame to one another, and dispute interpretations of earlier advice. We conclude our analysis with a discussion of the salient factors for successful pursuit of the multiple-agent variant of the blame games.

Drew, J. & Grant, B.J. 2017, 'Subsidiarity: More than a principle of decentralization – A view from local government (in print)', Publius: The Journal of Federalism.
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A common interpretation of the principle of subsidiarity in the federalism literature is that decentralized government, which is closer to the people, is better able to respond to the preferences of its citizens. However, when the principle is denuded of its moral foundations in this fashion it not only fails to provide the grounding for achieving human dignity and the common good, but may also become the harbinger of fiscal crises and social dysfunction. We provide a more comprehensive account of the principle of subsidiarity and contrast this with various conceptions prominently presented in the federalism literature. We then explore how this more comprehensive view of subsidiarity would look in practice. In short, we argue that mere decentralization of government fails to capture the ontology and desirable outcomes of the principle of subsidiarity.

McFarlane, J., Grant, B.J., Blackwell, B. & Mounter, S. 2017, 'Combining amenity with experience: Exploring the hidden capital of a winescape experience', Tourism Economics: the business and finance of tourism and recreation, vol. In print, pp. 1-20.
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Industry and government bodies have recommended augmentation of traditional production and marketing techniques as ways of increasing an industry’s profitability. This paper values the amenity of the wine industry, a sensory experience that provides an array of opportunities both culturally to the tourist and economically to many regions across the world. Using the wine industry in the Central West region of New South Wales, Australia we use Input-Output analysis to assess the economic impacts of this industry and the amenity hidden within. Not only does the industry provide jobs and commerce supporting local prosperity, it also supplies a mixed production and consumption amenity from an agricultural product that meets the tourist’s leisure desire – an amenity that transcends from its origin in the vineyard to its destination at the table.

Mihret, D. & Grant, B.J. 2017, 'The role of internal auditing in corporate governance: a Foucauldian analysis', Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 669-719.
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Abstract Purpose – This study attempts to articulate the conceptual foundations of the role of internal auditing in corporate governance by drawing on Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a literature-based analysis of the role of internal auditing from a Foucauldian perspective. Findings – It is argued that Foucault’s notion of governmentality provides conceptual tools for researching internal auditing as a disciplinary mechanism in the corporate governance setting of contemporary organizations. The paper develops an initial conceptual formulation of internal auditing as (a) ex post assurance about the execution of economic activities within management’s preconceived frameworks and (b) ex ante advisory services to enhance the rationality of economic activities and accompanying controls. Originality/value – This paper extends the Foucauldian analysis of accounting to incorporate internal auditing. It offers original propositions as a research agenda and discusses ontological and epistemic considerations associated with adopting the Foucauldian framework for internal auditing research. Implications – The paper is expected to initiate debate on the choice of theory and method in internal auditing research. The propositions and research agenda discussed can be used to address research questions of an interpretive nature that could enrich our current understanding of internal auditing.

Morris, A. 2017, '“It was like leaving your family”: Gentrification and the Impacts of Displacement on Public Housing Tenants in Inner-Sydney'', Australian Journal of Social Issues, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 147-162.
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In March 2014, the minister responsible announced that all of the approximately 600 public housing tenants of Millers Point and the Sirius Building in inner Sydney are to be moved and the properties sold. Millers Point is probably the oldest public housing area in Australia. The Sirius Building was purpose built for public housing tenants in the late 1970s. The article briefly examines the gentrifica- tion process in the Millers Point area. However, the main focus, drawing on six in-depth interviews with public hous- ing tenants who are still residents in the area and 13 who have moved, is an examination of the impact of the govern- ment’s removal announcement and the actual displacement of residents. What this article illustrates is that the place attachment of most of the interviewees was profound and the removal announcement and the actual move were dev- astating. Interviewees spoke of deep sadness and anxiety at the thought of leaving what they considered a unique and genuine community. Residents who had moved told of their isolation and melancholy at having lost their local social network. The research shows that the human cost of policies and not revenue should always be the central consideration.

Morris, A. 2017, 'Housing tenure and the health of older Australians dependent on the age pension for their income', Housing Studies, no. forthcoming.

Morris, A. 2017, 'The removal of Millers Point public housing tenants in inner-Sydney by the New South Wales government: Narratives of government and tenants', Urban Policy and Research, vol. forthcoming, pp. 1-13.
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In 2014, the New South Wales (NSW) government announced that it was to evict all of the approximately 580 public housing tenants from Millers Point and The Rocks in inner Sydney, sell the properties and use the proceeds to build social housing. This article, drawing on government media material and in-depth interviews with tenants, examines the removal process and contrasts the government’s narrative with that of the tenants. What is argued is that the displacement reflects how in the current neoliberal climate, instrumental rationality is a central feature, i.e. little cognisance is taken of the human cost of policies.

Morris, A., Hulse, K. & Pawson, H. 2017, 'Long-term private renters: Perceptions of security and insecurity', Journal of Sociology, pp. 1-17.
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Many developed economies, especially in ‘liberal welfare regimes’, have experienced a substantial growth in private rental housing. Bound up with this dynamic is the rising incidence of long-term private renting (private renting for ten years or more). Regulation of the private rental sector in liberal welfare regimes is light and post the written agreement residents are subject to constant de jure insecurity. Drawing on a questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews (the primary focus), this article investigates the impacts of perpetual de jure housing insecurity on long-term private renters in diverse housing markets (low, medium and high-rent) in Sydney and Melbourne. The results indicate that de jure insecurity does not necessarily translate into de facto insecurity. Long-term private renters typically respond to perpetual de jure insecurity in one of three ways – incessant anxiety and fear; lack of concern; and concern offset by economic/social capital and traded off against locational preference.

Pawson, H., Hulse, K. & Morris, A. 2017, 'Interpreting the rise of long-term private renting in a liberal welfare regime context', Housing Studies, vol. DOI: 10.1080/02673037.2017.1301400, pp. 1-23.
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In liberal market Anglophone nations private rental housing is typically lightly regulated, offering residents little security of tenure. This is important in the context of a sector expanding to encompass growing numbers of families with children and others resident for long periods. Australia’s rate of long-term private renting (at least 10 years in the sector) has doubled since the 1990s.This means drawn-out exposure to risks of landlord-instigated moves and unpredictable rent increases. We explore the factors underlying this development and its implications in terms of the experiences and perspectives of long-term (private) renters – LTRs. While increasingly unaffordable home ownership is likely the prime factor underlying rising LTR rates, lifestyle choices are also significant – at least in Australia’s major cities which offer scope for trading-off desired location against owner-occupier status. While many tenants appear sanguine about their housing security, this is highly problematic for the lower-income residents lacking other choices and many of whom are likely to remain lifelong renters.

Pham, K. & Grant, B.J. 2017, '"Home, James, and don't spare the horses": The inevitability of a second Sydney casino', Australian Planner.
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Casinos have become an important yet controversial element of many contemporary metropoles, with cities on the Pacific Rim no exception. Twenty years after the opening of Sydney’s first casino, construction of its second is currently underway on a contentious site, the Barangaroo precinct. This paper offers a historical analysis of the current casino project against the backdrop of casino development in Australia generally, comparing the current project to the development of Sydney’s first casino, The Star (formerly Star City). We argue that both have been predicated on a cosmopolitan gaze contributing to the image of a ‘global city’ and the promise of increased tax revenues. As a result, planning processes have lacked legitimacy, particularly in the case of Crown, which involves the use of significant public assets. This paper critiques the spectacle of iconic developments of both The Star at Pyrmont and Crown Casino at Barangaroo when set against the morphology and urban form, suggesting that a more sincere engagement with the specificity of place on major developments would mitigate against the polarising effects of contested urban projects.

Pugalis, L.C. 2017, ''From Manchester to Sydney: City Deal fast policy experimentation, emulation and mutation'', Regions Magazine, vol. 304, no. 4, pp. 24-25.

Pugalis, L.C. 2017, ''The ‘carrots’ and ‘sticks’ of UK place-based deal-making'', Regions Magazine, vol. 304, no. 4, pp. 19-19.

Selim, Y. 2017, 'Examining victims and perpetrators in post-conflict Nepal', International Review of Victimology.

Tan, S.F., Morris, A. & Grant, B. 2017, 'Mind the gap: Australian local government reform and councillors’ understandings of their roles', Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, no. 19, pp. 19-19.
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Conferences

Pugalis, L. & Tan, S. 2016, 'Metropolitan and Regional Economic Development: Competing and Contested Local Government Roles in Australia in the 21st Century', Refereed Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Regional Science Association International, Australian And New Zealand Regional Science Association International, Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit, Lincoln University, RMIT.
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Economic development is a priority of all levels of government; irrespective of country, constitution or system of governance. This is particularly the case in Australia, where federal, state and local tiers of government are undertaking activities intended to support economic growth. However, roles and responsibilities are not always clear, which reflects interorganisational, intergovernmental and intra-organisational conflict, contradictions, duplications and fissures. Traditionally the role of local government in the subnational economic development policy space has been rather limited, although their remit and engagement in this sphere has increased steadily since the 1980s. Even so, the role of councils in subnational economic development – and metropolitan and regional economic development in particular – remains ambiguous and contested. Derived from findings from a project funded by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government investigating the role of local government in the organisation and promotion of economic development, this paper intends to make two contributions to the literature. First, it shows how the conceptual messiness of the notion of (metropolitan and regional) economic development can both enable and constrain local government practice. Secondly, a state-level policy vacuum is apparent, which is a source of frustration amongst local practitioners. A key policy implication is the need to open-up more space for dialogue between different tiers of government to help engender a shared understanding of economic development, including the roles of different actors.

Pugalis, L.C. 2016, ''The regional economic development paradox: policy order and complex practice'', ANZRSAI Conference 2016 - Towards the Future: Emerging Priorities in Regional Policy and Practice, RMIT, Melbourne.

Reports

Morris, A. & Hanckel, B. University of South Australia and University of Technology Sydney 2017, Local government and housing in the 21 century:, pp. 1-14, Adelaide.

Other

Christensen, H. & Grant, B.J. 2017, 'Participatory Budgeting: The Next ‘Big Thing’ in Australian Local Government?', Austaxpolicy: The Tax and Transfer Policy Blog.
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Australian governments of all levels are increasingly familiar with two trends in public budgeting. Firstly, the pressure to deliver ‘more with less’ in public budgets; secondly, an increased realisation by communities that they have a democratic right to participate in public policy decisions. In local government, processes of participatory budgeting (PB) are emerging, designed to assist meeting the challenge of these trends.

dowler, bruce, gamage, ryan & morris, A. 2017, 'Wellbeing of International Students in the City of Sydney', Sydney Morning Herald.