The fourth annual Sir Samuel Griffith conference will be held in Brisbane in June 2016 at a challenging time in the history of federal reform.  In the context of continuing public discussion around reorganisation of responsibilities in the Australian Federation and tax reform, Griffith University’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy will bring together academics, public officials and community stakeholders to discuss a vision for the democracy we want for the 21st century.

The conference will feature a series of panel discussions on several areas related to federal and democratic reform including:

  • The changing Roles and Responsibilities in the Federation
  • Improving Intergovernmental Collaboration and Cooperation
  • Reforming Intergovernmental Financial Relations
  • Engaging the public in Federal Reform

The conference will be conducted across Thursday 16 June and Friday 17 June 2016, and feature a conference dinner all at The Shore, Southbank Brisbane. 


We look forward to welcoming you to this important event.



This conference is hosted by Griffith University's Centre for Governance and Public Policy under the Federalism, Regionalism and Devolution program.


For further information on the Federalism, Regionalism and Devolution program, as well as information and results from the Australian Constitutional Values Survey and the Future of Australia's Federation Survey: Australian Policymakers and Practitioners Study, please visit the program website HERE.


Professor John Kincaid

Lafayette College, USA

John is the Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Professor of Government and Public Service and Director of the Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania. He is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations of the American Political Science Association, and recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management of the American Society of Public Administration. He served as Senior Editor of the Global Dialogue on Federalism, a joint project of the Forum of Federations and International Association of Centers for Federal Studies (2001-2015); Editor of Publius: The Journal of Federalism (1981-2006); and Executive Director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Washington, D.C. (1988-1994). He is the author of various works on federalism and intergovernmental relations, co-editor most recently of The Covenant Connection: From Federal Theology to Modern Federalism (2000), Constitutional Origins, Structure, and Change in Federal Countries (2005), Routledge Handbook of Regionalism and Federalism (2013), Intergovernmental Relations in Federal Systems: Comparative Structures and Dynamics (2015), and Political Parties and Civil Society in Federal Countries (2015) and editor of Federalism (4 vols, 2011).

Professor Carol Weissert

Florida State University, USA

Carol served as editor of the international journal, Publius: The Journal of Federalism for ten years (2005-2014), and is a fellow at the prestigious National Academy of Public Administration. She is the recipient of the Daniel J. Elazar Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations, and also the Donald Stone Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Intergovernmental Relations. She was president of the Southern Political Science Association in 2008-2010 and she serves on the editorial boards of four journals including the American Political Science Review. She was on faculty at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, fourteen years prior to moving to Florida State. At Michigan State, she headed the Institute of Public Policy and Social Research; at Florida State, she heads the LeRoy Collins Institute for Public Policy. She has also served as staff of the premier intergovernmental groups in the United States—the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Carol’s research is focused on federalism, health politics and policy. She is co-author of a book, Governing Health: The Politics of Health Policy, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, now in its 4th edition. Her academic articles have dealt with health policy, intergovernmental relationships, comparative federalism, state politics, and fiscal federalism. The topic of cooperation and coordination between federal and state governments is a long-time interest for Carol.

Professor Nicholas Aroney

University of Queensland

Nicholas Aroney is Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Queensland. He has initiated and led several international collaborative research projects on constitutional law and legal theory, with particular emphasis on questions relating to the theory and practice of federalism, the design and performance of bicameral parliamentary systems, and freedom of speech. His books include: Restraining Elective Dictatorship: The Upper House Solution?(UWAP, 2008) (co-edited with Scott Prasser and John Nethercote); The Constitution of a Federal Commonwealth: The Making and Meaning of the Australian Constitution (Cambridge, 2009); The Future of Australian Federalism(Cambridge, 2012) (co-edited with Gabrielle Appleby and Thomas John); The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia: History, Principle and Interpretation (forthcoming, Cambridge, 2015) (co-authored with Peter Gerangelos, James Stellios and Sarah Murray); and Courts in Federal Countries (forthcoming, Toronto, 2016) (edited with John Kincaid).

Professor A.J Brown

Griffith University

A J Brown is professor of public policy and law in the Centre for Governance & Public Policy at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.  He is also a board member of Transparency International Australia, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and Fellow of the Regional Australia Institute.  He has worked or consulted in or for all levels of government, and in all branches of government in Australia, including as a State ministerial policy advisor, and researches, consults and teaches widely in public policy, public sector management, public accountability and public law.  A leading commentator on Australian federalism, intergovernmental relations and devolution, he is foundation lead researcher of the Australian Constitutional Values Survey, conducted every two years since 2008.  His books include Restructuring Australia: Regionalism, Republicanism and Reform of the Nation-State (Federation Press, 2004) and Federalism and Regionalism in Australia: New Approaches, New Institutions? (ANU E-Press, 2007). In 2008, he was a delegate to the Australia 2020 Summit.  In 2011, he was a member of the Australian Government’s Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government.  He is currently leading an Australian Research Council Discovery Project on the future of federalism, Confronting the Devolution Paradox.

Professor Alan Fenna

Curtin University

Alan Fenna completed BA, MA and PhD degrees in Canada and is Professor of Politics at The John Curtin Institute of Public Policy, Curtin University, Western Australia.  He specialises in Australian public policy and Australian and comparative federalism and publishes widely in those areas.  His most recent book, co-authored with Thomas Hueglin, is Comparative Federalism: a systematic inquiry, 2nd edn (University of Toronto Press, 2016).  He has been an elected member of local government, worked for the Federal Affairs division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet WA, and served as president of the Australian Political Studies Association (APSA).

Professor Richard Eccleston

University of Tasmania

Richard Eccleston is Professor of Political Science and founding Director of the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of Tasmania. He is a specialist in domestic, comparative and international politics. Richard is the author of six books and over 50 articles and his specific expertise is in the politics of public finance and taxation reform having researched these topics around the world in recent years. He has been awarded 3 ARC Discovery grants since 2010 and was a 2014 Fulbright Senior Scholar (based in Washington DC). His most recent books are The Dynamics of Global Economic Governance (2014) which examines the origins and effectiveness of attempts to regulate tax havens in the aftermath of the GFC and The Future of Federalism: Multi-level governance in an age of austerity (forthcoming 2016). Richard is a respected commentator on national political affairs.

Professor Benjamin Reilly

Murdoch University

Professor Benjamin Reilly is Dean of the Sir Walter Murdoch School of Public Policy and International Affairs at Murdoch University. He is a political scientist specializing in democratization, comparative politics and political development. Formerly Professor of Political Science, head of the Policy and Governance program and Director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University (ANU), Prof Reilly has also worked with the Australian government, the United Nations and other international organisations, and held visiting appointments at Harvard, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins universities. He has authored or edited seven books and over 100 scholarly papers, and received financial support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the United States Institute of Peace, the East-West Centre, the National Endowment for Democracy and the Australian Research Council. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the ANU.

Professor Rodney Smith

University of Sydney

Rodney Smith is Professor of Australian Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, where he has worked since 2001.  His books on Australian politics include Australian Political Culture (2001), Keywords in Australian Politics (co-authored, 2006), Contemporary Politics in Australia (co-edited, 2012) and Contemporary Australian Political Party Organisations (co-edited, 2016).

Associate Professor Robyn Hollander

Griffith University

Robyn Hollander is an associate professor in the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University, Brisbane.  Her interest in federalism began during her doctoral research into Australian housing policy and has informed her research agenda ever since. She has brought a federal perspective to a wide range of policy areas including competition policy, business regulation, forestry and the environment, higher education and most recently, morality policy.  She is currently working in an ARC funded project exploring attitudes towards Australia's federal arrangements. 

Associate Professor Roberta Ryan

University of Technology Sydney

Associate Professor Roberta Ryan is the Director of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Institute for Public Policy and Governance and the UTS Centre for Local Government. Roberta is a leading social researcher and policy, program evaluation and stakeholder engagement practitioner with over 30 years’ experience in both the public and private sectors. With considerable expertise in intergovernmental relations and a specialisation in sub national governance she has worked in and with all levels of government, across jurisdictions and internationally.

Dr Tracey Arklay

Griffith University 

Dr Tracey Arklay is a senior lecturer in the School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University. She is the program director for the Graduate Certificate in Policy Analysis and an adjunct research fellow in the Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland. Tracey's research blends theory with practical insights. Her research interests include: Federal and State politics, policy capacity, parliamentary analysis, disaster management, and electoral campaigning. She is the author of two books: Arthur Fadden: A political silhouette, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2014 and The Ayes have it: History of the Queensland Parliament 1957-1989, ANU Press, Canberra, 2010 (with John Wanna). Dr Arklay is on the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Public Administration. She is a research associate with the T.J. Ryan Foundation and a member of the Australasian Study of Parliament Group (Queensland Chapter). She currently sits on the advisory panel for the Inspector-General Emergency Management. Her most recent article (with Graeme Orr) on Voter ID - its rationale and impact - will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Australian Journal of Political Science. 

Dr Scott Brenton

University of Melbourne

Scott Brenton is a Lecturer in Political Science and the founding Director of the Doctoral Academy at the Melbourne School of Government. He is the author the forthcoming book The politics of budgetary surplus: ideology, economic governance and public management reform (Palgrave Macmillan) and co-edited Constitutional conventions in Westminster systems: controversies, changes and challenges (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Scott has authored several other journal articles on comparative politics, ethics and accountability, and worked at several universities in Australia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. He has also worked at the Commonwealth Parliament as the Australian Parliamentary Fellow. He is currently leading a research project on renewing Australian federalism, in collaboration with the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Dr Bligh Grant

University of Technology Sydney

Bligh Grant is Senior Lecturer in Political Studies at the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance (UTS:IPPG). He is one of Australia's best published, transdisciplinary local government scholars, co-authoring two recent books, Funding the Future (2013) and Councils in Cooperation (2012), both with Brian Dollery and Michael Kortt. He publishes in leading national and international journals on Australian local government. He has written on a range of other topics, including strategic management theory and leadership, business education and wine economics. His first edited book, Pauline Hanson, One Nation and Australian Politics, was published by UNE Press in 1997.


Prior to his current appointment Bligh held positions as Lecturer in Business Ethics at the UNE Business School, Research Lecturer in Local Government Studies at the UNE Centre of Local Government and Associate Lecturer in Political Economy in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance at the University of Southern Queensland (2010). He has also taught in Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, Asian Studies and International Relations, all at UNE.

Dr Paul Kildea

University of New South Wales

Dr Paul Kildea is a Lecturer at UNSW Law School and the Director of the Referendums Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law. His primary areas of research are federalism, referendums and electoral law. He is a co-editor of Tomorrow’s Federation: Reforming Australian Government (Federation Press, 2012) and has published in law and political science journals, both within Australia and internationally. Paul is currently undertaking research into federal political culture, the regulation of referendum campaigns and citizen participation in constitutional reform.

Dr Benjamen Gussen

University of Southern Queensland

Benjamen F. Gussen is a law lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland. His main field of research is law and economics, especially constitutional economics and constitutional law. He is an expert on the principle of subsidiarity and its application in unitary and federal polities. His PhD thesis was on the application of subsidiarity as a constitutional principle in New Zealand where he argued that subsidiarity is the essence of the Treaty of Waitangi (between Māori and the Crown) which should afford the indigenous population a wide margin of legislative and administrative autonomy. Ben’s other research interests include the comparative analysis of sub-national constitutions, and the application of complexity theory to the analysis of legal pluralism. Ben is the convenor of the Queensland chapter of the Australian Law and Economics Association. He holds graduate degrees in law, economics, engineering, business administration and education.

Dr Noeleen McNamara

University of Southern Queensland

Dr Noeleen McNamara is a Senior Lecturer within the School of Law and Justice at the University of Southern Queensland. Noeleen has a Masters of Laws in Environmental Law from Macquarie University and completed her PhD on the environmental regulation of mining at USQ. Prior to joining USQ, Noeleen lectured environmental law at The University of Queensland. In this role, she taught engineering, environmental management and environmental science students, as well as law students. Prior to her career in academia, Noeleen worked with Arthur Andersen and Ernst and Young in Sydney and Hong Kong in their insolvency/ litigation support sections, and with Baker & McKenzie in Sydney.

Dr Tod Moore

University of Newcastle

Since 2010 Dr Moore has worked as a Lecturer in Politics, Policy & International Relations (and Head of Discipline since 2014) at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on the history of Australian political thought, sovereignty theory, and Australian federalism. He has been researching history of political thought, history of Australian political thought, sovereignty theory, Australian political bibliography, Australian politics, international relations theory, Australian constitutionalism, Australian liberalism and socialism. He is currently researching liberal intellectual groups in Australia and elsewhere in the first half of the twentieth century, federal theory, and the use of social media in the Bernie Sanders campaign for the US elections of 2016.

Jennifer Menzies

Griffith University

Jennifer Menzies is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University and a member of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. She has over 25 years’ experience in public administration and public policy. She was a senior executive in the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet including holding the position of Cabinet Secretary from 2001 to 2004 and Executive Director Strategic Policy. Jennifer was the inaugural Secretary for the Council for the Australian Federation. She publishes in the area of intergovernmental relations, federalism and caretaker conventions.

Peter Cosier

Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists

Peter Cosier is a Member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, a private institution established in 2002 with the aim of connecting science to public policy.The Wentworth Group has been active in water reform, native vegetation management, climate change, carbon in the landscape, and environmental accounting. Peter has a background in science, natural resource management, and urban and regional planning.  He has worked at all levels of government and in private business, including six years as a Policy Advisor to the then Australian Environment Minister, Senator Robert Hill. Peter spent many years in South Australia, as a Planning Consultant with PPK, in the Premier’s Department producing Regional Development Strategies, and later as a Director in the SA Cabinet Office under Ian Kowalick. Their most recent Blueprint for a Healthy Environment and a Productive Economy, was produced with the assistance of other experts has attracted widespread interest to ensure the conservation of natural capital is included in Australia’s economic and federation reforms.

Bronwyn Hinz

Victoria University

Bronwyn is a Policy Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Education Policy at Victoria University. Her PhD - examining federalism and school funding reform - was undertaken in the School of Social and Political Sciences and the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. She has worked as a historian, a Chief of Staff to a federal parliamentarian, and policy consultant, and studied at Columbia University Teachers College and Sciences Po in Paris. Her work has won multiple national and international awards and her analysis frequently appears in Australian and international media. Her first book was launched by former prime minister Malcolm Fraser. More recently she wrote a commissioned report evaluating the federalism white paper taskforce's proposals for reforming roles and responsibilities in Australian schooling. She is also Vice-President of community-run preschool.

Joseph Drew

University of Technology Sydney

Joseph Drew is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Public Policy & Governance at the University of Technology Sydney. His research interests focus on expenditure and revenue structures for local government, performance measurement, corporate governance and fiscal federalism. Previously he worked in senior management positions in performance monitoring within the retail banking sector. His work has been recognised in the 2004 Australian College of Educators awards and he is the recipient of the University Medal (2003) and the D H Drummond award for economics in 2014.Recent publications have appeared in Local Government Studies, Public Money & Management, Public Administration Quarterly, the Australian Journal of Public Administration, Australian Taxation Forum and Policy& Politics. He has consulted with numerous Victorian and New South Wales councils on municipal reform, accounting, finance and economic matters. Joseph has also been called as an expert witness for State and Federal Government Upper House inquiries.

Mark Bruerton

Griffith University

Mark Bruerton is a senior researcher with the Centre for Governance and Public Policy. He recently completed his PhD at the University of Adelaide with the thesis ‘COAG, Democracy and the Australian Constitution: you can choose two.’ He has worked for a number of academic research centres both at Griffith University and at the University of Adelaide including the Socio-Legal Research Centre (Griffith University), the Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning (University of Adelaide) and the Institute for International Trade (University of Adelaide). He has co-authored several articles and conference papers on federalism, democratic accountability and public accountability.

Jacob Deem

Griffith University

Jacob is a PhD candidate at Griffith University's Centre for Governance and Public Policy. He has a keen interest in federalism and issues of multi-level governance. Jacob's research focuses on the 'principle of subsidiarity', and in particular investigates whether public attitudes of citizens in Australia, Germany, Canada and the UK explain variations in subsidiarity's realisation in those countries."


The Shore at South Bank

Located in the heart of Brisbane’s iconic South Bank Parklands, The Shore Restaurant and Bar offers a glorious open air meeting and dining experience surrounded by gardens and fountains with views to the river and beyond.