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Wise Practice collection

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ANZSOG’s Wise Practice collection is a combination of public administration and policy resources centred on the knowledge and culture of the First Peoples of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

The evolving Wise Practice collection focuses on stories which demonstrate how First Peoples culture, knowledge and perspectives can achieve successful outcomes when Indigenous communities and governments come together to work in partnership.

The Wise Practice collection draws on material from the renowned John L. Alford Case Library, established to recognise Professor Alford’s outstanding contribution to ANZSOG and to public management across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. The collection also includes resources produced by the ANZSOG First Peoples program, including the 2017, 2019 and 2021 First Peoples public administration conferences.

These resources are FREE to access and use for teaching or research purposes.

NB: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this website may contain images, voices and videos of deceased persons.

These cases demonstrate the wise, resilient, and innovative ideas and practices of Indigenous peoples, and successful partnerships with government, as well as unsuccessful attempts in Indigenous public administration. The following cases are available online for practitioners and scholars to use in public administration teaching and practice.

Video case:

1. 2021 Proud Partnerships in Place: First Peoples Public Administration Conference

Due to the changing levels of COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty regarding travel restrictions for both speakers and delegates across all jurisdictions, the conference was moved online. The 4-day conference, spread over 4 weeks, was a bold first-time event for ANZSOG. Despite three lockdowns in NZ and Victoria during the conference, the program of 25 Indigenous speakers continued to deliver uninterrupted each week, to an audience of 500 public servants, academics, not for profit Indigenous community leaders, and students.

2021 Conference speakers

NB: there were varying online connectivity and recording quality challenges, as most presenters were working from home during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Videos for the Proud Partnerships in Place: 2021 ANZSOG First Peoples’ Public Administration Virtual Conference will be uploaded gradually from September 2021. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified or regularly visit this page or the conference playlist.

Event 1:

  1. ‘Opening address’
        1. Hon. Ken Wyatt AM Minister for Indigenous Australians

        1. Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Foreign Affairs, New Zealand

  2. ‘Defining partnerships’
      1. Judge Caren Fox, Deputy Chief Judge Māori Land Court
      2. June Oscar AO, Aboriginal Human Rights Commissioner

  3. ‘Delivering on promises and remaining accountable’
      1. Pat Turner AM, Chief Executive NACCHO
      2. Trevor Moeke, Poutaiki Director Te Ao Māori/ NZ Treasury
      3. Dame Naida Glavish DNZM JP, Chief Advisor Tikanga Waitemata District Health Board
      4. Tom Calma AO, Chancellor of the University of Canberra

 Event 2:

  1. ‘Caring for Country and Mana whenua’
      1. Cheryl Leavy, Executive Director Partnerships, Department of Environment & Science QLD
      2. Scott Falconer, Director Forest & Fire Operations, DELWP, Victoria
      3. Shane Graham, Pou whakahaere Te Runanga Ngāti Rārua, South Island, NZ

  2. Cultural Burning and the Sacredness of Water
      1. Dr. Erin O’Donnell, Water Law Specialist, University of Melbourne
      2. Trent Nathan, Chair Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Djandak

Event 3:

  1. ‘Treaty- yesterday, today, tomorrow’
      1. Honourable Justice Sir Joe Williams KNZM, Supreme Court Judge, New Zealand

  2. ‘Treaty obligations and accountabilities’
      1. Lil Anderson, CEO, Te Arawhiti, New Zealand
      2. Reuben Berg, Member of the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria
      3. Oliver Parsons, Team Leader Systems Design & Strategy, New Zealand Treasury

Event 4:

  1. ‘Transformative health services’
      1. Dr Dawn Casey, Deputy CEO NACCHO
      2. Te Ao Kapa, General Manager, Te Kaha o Te Rangatahi Trust, South Auckland

  2. ‘Justice re-investment’
      1. Hata Wilson, Kaihautu Matua, Director Tamati Whangai Services, Te Rūnanganui o Te Ati Awa
      2. Wally Haumaha, Deputy Commissioner – Iwi and Communities, NZ Police
      3. Regan Tamihere, Māori Responsiveness Manager, NZ Police

  3. ‘Closing address’
        1. Hon. Willie Jackson, Minister Māori Development, Associate Minister for ACC, Associate Minister for Justice

2. 2019 Reimagining Public Administration: First Peoples, governance and new paradigms conference

The 2019 First Peoples Conference offered the opportunity to recognise Indigenous leadership in the public purpose sector with over 480 people attending including public servants, academics and Indigenous community leaders. Two excellence awards were given for video entries showcasing an initiative, policy, program or personal story that demonstrates Indigenous strength and leadership in public administration in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand.

All 2019 First Peoples Post- Conference resources, including videos, photos, PowerPoint slides and Twitter highlights can be found here.

Jurisdictions were invited to submit a three-minute video and the 10 entries were judged by a panel, and the two winners premiered their video at the conference dinner.

    • 2019 Australia – ‘Yirrganydji Tourism: Dawul Wuru Aboriginal Corporation’

    • 2019 Aotearoa (NZ) – ‘Mahuru: Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services’


3. 2017 Can’t we do better? Indigenous Affairs and Public Administration Conference

The 2017 First Peoples Conference, in partnership with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and the University of Sydney marked 50 years since the 1967 referendum resulted in the Commonwealth gaining national responsibilities for the administration of Indigenous affairs. The conference questioned the impact of the past 50 years of public administration and raised issues for the next 50 years in this important nation building area. The event was attended by over 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, other Indigenous peoples, public servants from state and federal governments, and academics.

ANZSOG saw outstanding contributions from a range of speakers including Australia’s Chris Sarra, Leila Smith, Joy Savage, Andrea Mason, Martin Nakata, Ian Anderson, Maggie Walter, Gregory Phillips and New Zealand’s Arapata Hakiwai and Geraint Martin, to name just a few.

This paper was commissioned by ANZSOG for this conference to seek to examine the risks and barriers to greater devolution of authority to First Nations communities and organisations (including Peak organisations).

The National Agreement on Closing the Gap, signed by all Australian governments and the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations in July 2020, commits to systemic and structural transformation to give effect to the New Approach where policy making that impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is done in full and genuine partnership with them.

Shared decision-making partnerships are mandated so that First Nations representatives can engage with government as equals. Such partnerships range from policy partnerships involving national action to place-based partnerships between all levels of government and local or regional First Nations communities. They also include data and information sharing partnerships so that First Nations regions and communities can assess the data and information needed to make decisions about their future development.

These partnerships require governments (ministers and bureaucrats) to share power with First Nations representatives. They are much more than mere funding agreements.

Similarly, Government [p]Parties to the National Agreement have acknowledged that First Nations community-controlled services are better for their people, achieve better results, employ more First Nations people and are often preferred over mainstream services, and committed to increasing the proportion of service[s] delivered by First Nations organisations, particularly the community-controlled organisations. This already occurs in some sectors, primary health care, legal services and child protection are best known examples, but public servants must be prepared to give up more policy design, program implementation and service delivery to First Nations organisations.

Shared decision-making partnerships and greater delivery of programs and services by First Nations organisations is not business as usual. Public servants may be hesitant to effectively implement these commitments because of real and perceived risks or barriers.

This paper seeks to examine the academic literature around devolution and seek to identify, through interviews with current and former public service leaders, their concerns about the risks and barriers and some of the innovative approaches put in place to address them.

The paper does not, and could not in the time and budget available, identify every risk or barrier in every jurisdiction and provide a possible solution. But it does discuss some of the important structural and systemic changes needed to bring about real and lasting change.

It is up to you as public servants to identify the specific barriers in your area of policy or program and service delivery and to seek to implement solutions that remove the obstacles.

Read the Devolution paper here

(word version)

ANZSOG seeks to promote work from First Peoples authors regarding the roles of First Peoples in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand’s public services. Some examples include:

ANZSOG founded the APO’s First Peoples & Public Policy Collection which brought together diverse, policy-relevant resources from the existing APO repository, as well as new materials. The Collection supported the public sector to source and access the policy, practice and research information they need, and was curated from a broad selection of key Indigenous policy topics.

ANZSOG worked with the APO to produce a range of articles related to the Collection, including:

A range of external resources with relevance to First Peoples Policy.