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ANZSOG 2019: New staff, new research program, more courses in regional Australia 

25 February 2019

News and media


Professor Ken Smith

ANZSOG is in for an exciting 2019, with new staff, a revamped research program, greater Indigenous engagement and a focus on regional Australia.

ANZSOG Dean and CEO, Professor Ken Smith said ANZSOG is continually adapting to meet the needs of students, public managers and owner governments.

“The public sector is operating in an increasingly volatile and complex environment. It is more important than ever that we invest in the skills of our public managers to get them ready for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges,” Professor Smith said.

“2019 has started off strongly with the Reimagining Public Administration conference on Indigenous affairs held in Melbourne and the new EMPA cohort completing the foundation Delivering Public Value subject.

“The year ahead will see the introduction of further education and research initiatives, with new staff appointments, greater diversity of our professional and academic staff, Indigenous engagement and new courses in regional Australia.”


Professor Smith said ANZSOG had expanded its faculty and staff over the past year with the recruitment of senior practitioners to key roles. These include two new Associate Deans: former Victorian Education Department head Gill Callister, and former ACOSS head and DPMC Deputy Secretary Lin Hatfield-Dodds.

Other key appointments include Professor Janine O’Flynn as ANZSOG Professor of Public Management, Dr Subho Banerjee as Research Program Director, Dr Chris Walker as University Relations Director and the appointment of three Indigenous staff, Aurora Milroy, Sharon Nelson-Kelly and Kiel Hennessey.

ANZSOG is also recruiting senior academics to be based at the Australian National University to replace long term chair, Professor John Wanna who is retiring after 16 years in the position, and new positions at Curtin University and Victoria University of Wellington, to extend its geographic footprint further across the jurisdictions it represents.


Professor Smith said that many public managers live and work in regional Australia and need access to executive education that is relevant to the unique challenges they face.  “In 2019, ANZSOG is introducing a new regionally-focused version of our Towards Strategic Leadership program – Strategic Leadership for Northern Australia – to be held in Cairns and which will directly tackle the challenges of leadership within a remote, culturally complex region.  “The program will be led run by Professor Paul ‘t Hart and Robbie MacPherson and will bring their unique student-focused approach to a new audience of regional public managers.”  ANZSOG will also be bringing Harvard’s Professor Malcolm Sparrow to Cairns in May to run his six-day Managing regulation, enforcement and compliance workshop, and ensure that his expertise is available to public sector leaders working in northern Australia.


Professor Smith said that ANZSOG was working with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to develop strategies to make public administration more responsive to the needs of Indigenous  people and increase Indigenous involvement in government decision-making.  “This is part of the journey that ANZSOG is on as an organisation to incorporating Indigenous knowledge and viewpoints into our daily work,” he said.  The partnership began in 2017 with the Indigenous Affairs and Public Administration: Can’t We Do Better? conference in Sydney which brought together 250 academics, public servants, academics and Indigenous leaders representatives to discuss Indigenous policy.

Professor Smith said ANZSOG had built on this success in 2019 with Reimagining Public Administration: First Peoples, governance and new paradigms, held in Melbourne on February 20-21 and attracting more than 450 attendees, with speakers including Professor Marcia Langton, Michelle Hippolite, Adam Goodes, Jill Gallagher AO, Craig Ritchie and Professor Tom Calma AO.

“This conference provided a fantastic forum for Indigenous voices, with 50 out of 54 speakers being First Peoples from Australia, New Zealand and the USA,” Professor Smith said.

“It was a chance to look forward and imagine how we can involve Indigenous communities in every part of the policy cycle, from design to evaluation, and discuss how we build Indigenous capability within our public services and embed Indigenous knowledge and culture.”

ANZSOG will produce and distribute a report summarising the conference.


ANZSOG will hold two CEO Forums in 2019, both will provide opportunities for heads of agencies to connect with their peers, reflect on the challenges of work and discuss critical issues in a confidential forum. This year’s themes will be The Future of the Public Service – integrity, trust and the challenges to liberal democratic institutions (April) and A Global Perspective on Public Leadership (August). The forums will be facilitated by Professor Glyn Davis AC, Jeff Harmer and Gill Callister PSM.


ANZSOG is also in the process of significantly reshaping its research program, to focus more directly on research of practical assistance to governments and the communities they serve.

ANZSOG’s annual research budget will be increased from $250,000 to $750,000 and will operate on the basis that every dollar is at least matched by a government, university, foundation, or other partner. This will result in at least $1.5 to $2.25 million in funding for research into public administration and public policy issues each year.

ANZSOG is developing a new model for undertaking such research projects and will consult with governments this year.

Professor Smith said that as part of ANZSOG’s contribution to the Thodey Review of the Australian Public Service, the organisation has been contracted to produce a series of six major research papers which would be released in coming weeks.

“We have got some of the leading academics in the field to produce papers which will lead discussion on key issues in informing directions of not only the Australian Public Service, but no doubt more broadly across Australia and regionally, with a focus on reforming the Australian public sector,” Professor Smith said.