The annual Sam Richardson Award recognises the author, or authors, of the most influential paper published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration.

The Award

Each year the editors of the Australian Journal of Public Administration provide a shortlist of papers published in the journal during the preceding calendar year for consideration for the Sam Richardson Award.

The papers are assessed by a judging panel of distinguished public administration academics and young Australian public administration practitioners.

The judging panel assess each paper against two criteria:

  1. that they make a significant contribution to knowledge in the theory or practice of their field
  2. that they demonstrate a capacity to engage the interest of a diverse readership that includes practitioners, researchers, teachers and students.

A recommendation from the judging panel is presented to IPAA’s National Council for ratification, prior to the public announcement of the winner.

About Professor Sam Richardson

Professor Sam Richardson was a proficient academic, administrator and lawyer. He was born at Gosport, near Portsmouth, in England in 1919, and graduated from Trinity College, Oxford in 1940 with honours in politics, philosophy and economics.

He served with the Royal Marine Commandos of the British Army in the Far East during the Second World War before joining the Sudan Political Service.

In 1959 Sam was called to the bar and in the same year began work in northern Nigeria with the Institute of Administration where he remained until 1965. While Deputy Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University he survived several dangerous encounters with Nigerian Army Officers in the coup d’état of 1966–67, before working as a professor of administrative studies and acting Vice-Chancellor in Mauritius in 1968 and 1969.

In 1969 Sam was appointed Foundation Principal of the Canberra College of Advanced Education, now known as the University of Canberra.

During his 16 years at the College he was closely involved in the management of universities in the South Pacific and Papua New Guinea, and in the development of the International Institute of Administrative Services in Brussels.

2022 Sam Richardson
Award Winner

Dr Pepin-Neff and Ms Caporale



Best person or best mix? How public sector managers understand the merit principle, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 81, Issue 3, pp 401-418.

As public sector organisations around the world enact strategies to progress gender equality, managers are forced to navigate the apparent conflict between making employment decisions on individual-level ‘merit’ and considering the collective constraints and disadvantage that occur along gender lines. In this paper, we investigate how managers’ understandings of merit contribute to this tension. Analysing data collected in focus groups with 273 mid-level public sector managers in four Australian jurisdictions where efforts to promote gender equality were actively under way, we found that many managers adhered to a highly individualised understanding of merit which precluded them from considering gender or addressing gendered inequality in their employment decisions. Only a small proportion of managers who believed that creating a more representative bureaucracy was a legitimate public sector objective were able to justify considering a candidate’s gender as a source of merit. We argue that public sector organisations seeking to promote gender equality should focus managers’ attention on the benefits of achieving a more representative bureaucracy and give managers greater normative and regulatory certainty about how to assess and apply merit in that context.

List of Sam Richardson
Award Winners


Regulating the post-employment of public officials: Australian experience in an international context, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 80, Issue 2, pp 201-216.

The potential abuse of power by public officials after they have left government employment became a major issue in Australia with the appointment of two recently retired senior federal ministers to lucrative positions with firms which had close dealings with their former departments. The cases raise important questions about the regulation of ‘the revolving door’ which is an increasing feature of governance as the public and private sectors move more closely together. Australian Commonwealth rules relating to both ministers and public servants are analysed in the context of international practice and as part of the wider issue of conflict of interest. Four types of conflict are relevant to post-employment: ingratiation, profiteering, influence, and switching sides. The regulation of each type is discussed and Australian practice seen to be deficient in certain respects, particularly in relation to ministers. Regulation in this area faces two general challenges: definition of the offence and the comparative absence of oversight and sanctions. But international exemplars offer prospects for strengthening Australia’s ethical regime.

Jeannette Taylor —  The University of Western Australia (2020)

What causes employees to whistle while they work? Factors affecting internal whistle-blowing in the Australian Public Service, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 78, Issue 4, pp 497–515.

What causes employees in the Australian Public Service (APS) to internally blow the whistle on corruption in the workplace? This research examines the impact of the nature of corruption, organisational culture, and employees’ work attitudes and actions on internal whistle-blowing in the APS. The respondents were found to internally blow the whistle for most types of corruption: fraud, conflict of interest, unlawful disclosure of government information, and perverting the course of justice. Their whistle-blowing behaviour was, however, unaffected by observations of theft of official assets. They were also unlikely to report observations of cronyism and nepotism. Active observers of workplace bullying (those who have blown the whistle after witnessing someone else being bullied) were three times more likely to also internally report corruption than inactive observers of bullying.

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Funny Evidence: Female Comics are the New Policy Entrepreneurs, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 77, Issue 4, pp 554–567.

The last decade has seen on‐going issues of gender inequity as well as arguably the golden age of female comics. From Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s renditions of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in 2008, to Amy Schumer’s critique of US college rape culture, this is an extraordinary time to consider the role of female comics in policy making. This article will examine this period by locating these comedic skills within the policy entrepreneur literature. First, it will review policy entrepreneurship elements; secondly it will propose a framework for policy entrepreneurship that builds on intersectional feminist principles. Lastly, it will apply the framework to female comic’s influence on political issues. In all, we argue that female comics can serve as policy entrepreneurs in public administration by using their identity to locate themselves as relevant actors, attaching solutions to problems, biasing political outcomes, benefiting from their engagement, and introducing narratives that change the emotional habitus of an audience and influence the broader public.

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Between Two Worlds: Indigenous Leaders Exercising Influence and Work across Boundaries, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 76, Issue 1, pp 3–17.

The paper gives a contextualised account of emerging Indigenous leadership practice, which relates this practice to the literature on Indigeneity and leadership more broadly. We discuss the complexities of working between two worlds drawing on the experience of Indigenous interviewees. We show that this practice has important implications both for the organisations in which Indigenous leaders work, and for the practice of leadership more generally.

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John Alford and Sophie Yates — ANZSOG and The Melbourne Business School (2017)

Co-Production of Public Services in Australia: The Roles of Government Organisations and Co-Producers, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 75, Issue 2, pp 159–175.

Based on a telephone survey of 1,000 Australian adults, this research replicates a five‐country European study focusing on three policy domains: neighbourhood safety, environment, and health. It adds to the emerging empirical literature on citizen co‐production.

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Darren R. Halpin and John Warhurst AO — The Australian National University (2017)

Commercial Lobbying in Australia: Exploring the Australian Lobby Register, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 75, Issue 1, pp. 100–111.

This article provides the first analysis and review of the Australian Federal Lobby Register. It documents the size and structure of the Australian commercial lobbying scene. The article examines the changes in the lobby world as a consequence of a change of government. It concludes with a discussion of future research.

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Dean Carson and Adam Wellstead — Flinders University and Michigan Technological University (2016)

Government with a Cast of Dozens: Policy Capacity, Risks and Policy Work in the Northern Territory, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 74, Issue 2, pp. 162–175.

There are a number of challenges to maintaining high‐quality policy capacity in sparsely populated areas such as Australia’s Northern Territory (e.g. natural resource dependent economy, prominence of Indigenous issues, provision of local services). Moreover, the Territory government has recently been undergoing a host of public sector changes. This paper utilises survey methodologies of policy workers that were recently developed in Canada and examines nine risk factors to policy work.

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Jacquie Hutchinson, Elizabeth Walker and Fiona Haslam McKenzie — University of Western Sydney and the Curtin Graduate School of Business (2015)

Leadership in Local Government: ‘No Girls Allowed’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 73, Issue 2, pp. 181–191.

This article explores the under‐representation of women at the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) levels of Western Australian (WA) local government. It draws on data collected from 21 second tier senior women managers about their perceptions and experiences of leadership within the sector, as well as their aspirations for CEO appointment. By applying critical gender analysis to the data, gender and specifically masculinity emerges as a significant and valued leadership attribute.

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Michael Di Francesco — ANZSOG and University of Melbourne (2014)

Under Cover of Westminster: Enabling and Disabling a Public Service Commission in NSW, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 72, Issue 4, pp. 391–396.

The March 2011 New South Wales (NSW) state election can be counted among the few in the modern era where the health of the public service figured so prominently as a policy issue. After 16 years of Labor rule – and, in respect of public service reform, policy drift – there was an almost overwhelming public perception (and not insignificant evidence) that the professionalism and neutrality of the NSW public service was in a state of disrepair.

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Will Sanders — The Australian National University (2013)

Coombs’ Bastard Child: The Troubled Life of CDEP, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 71, Issue 4, pp. 371–391.

In the mid 1970s HC Coombs was a major promoter of the idea behind the CDEP scheme: that rather than pay lots of Aboriginal people in remote areas unemployment benefits it would be more constructive for them to be employed part‐time by local Indigenous organisations to undertake socially useful tasks. From this simple idea was born one of the most significant and, in time, one of the largest Indigenous‐specific programs Australia has seen, the Community Development Employment Projects scheme. The birth was not easy and neither has been the subsequent life of what I have called, with great licence, Coombs’ bastard child.

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Catherine Althaus — University of Victoria, BC (2012)

Assessing the Capacity to Deliver – The BER Experience, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 70, Issue 4, pp. 421–436.

This article uses the education sector to explore the ability of successive Commonwealth governments to more directly intervene and engage in areas traditionally the responsibility of state and territory jurisdictions. The APS continues to battle against a lack of street‐level knowledge to help structure delivery, including effective feedback and sense‐making mechanisms. While the overall thrust of policy intent might be achievable and even laudable, the potential for success is undermined by structural imbalances, suspicion and information and power asymmetry.

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Arjen Boin and Paul t’Hart — Utrecht University and Louisiana State University; Australian National University and Utrecht University (2011)

Organising for effective emergency management: Lessons from research, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 69, Issue 4, pp. 357–371.

The February 2009 bushfires have prompted a debate with regard to contemporary arrangements for dealing with large‐scale disasters. In this article, we seek to contribute to that debate by culling lessons learned from the literature on crisis and disaster management. We discuss what constitutes an effective disaster response system, we identify some key barriers to the effective functioning of such a system, and offer some suggestions for improvement.

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Michael Limerick — Griffith University (2010)

What Makes an Aboriginal Council Successful? – Case Studies of Aboriginal Community Government Performance in Far North Queensland, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 68, Issue 4, pp. 414–428.

Indigenous community governments are at the frontline of current efforts to ‘close the gap’ between Indigenous and non‐Indigenous living standards. Yet there is little empirical evidence about successful performance by these organisations and considerable scepticism about whether introduced Western governance models can ever be viable in Indigenous communities. To identify the governance attributes that contribute to successful performance, case studies were conducted at three Aboriginal councils in far north Queensland.

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The Hon. Jocelyn Bourgon PC OC — President Emeritus at the Canada School of Public Service (2008)

The Future of the Public Service: A Search for a New Balance, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 67, Issue 4, pp. 390–404.

Public administrations are vehicles for expressing the values and preferences of citizens, communities and societies (Bourgon 2007). Some values and preferences are constant; others change as societies evolve. Periodically, one set of values comes to the fore, and its energy transforms the role of government and the practice of public administration.

Reflecting back on the last three decades, we can now see how public administrators around the world embarked on an astonishing journey of experimentation and innovation. The nature and pace of change has been extraordinary. Australian practitioners and scholars have contributed far more than their expected share to the international public administration community. You have inspired and influenced reforms around the world.

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R.A.W. Rhodes and John Wanna — The Australian National University (2007)

The Limits to Public Value, or Rescuing Responsible Government from the Platonic Guardians, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 66, Issue 4, pp. 406–421.

In various guises, public value has become extraordinarily popular in recent years. We challenge the relevance and usefulness of the approach in Westminster systems with their dominant hierarchies of control, strong roles for ministers, and tight authorising regimes underpinned by disciplined two‐party systems.

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Jennifer Craik — University of Canberra (2005)

Dilemmas in Policy Support for the Arts and Cultural Sector, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 64, Issue 4, pp. 6–19.

This article questions the specific challenges that the management of culture poses for government. Unlike some ‘public good’ policy domains, such as prisons, defence or infrastructure, or benefit provisions such as unemployment, disability or health measures, the complex area of cultural policy cannot be justified in instrumental terms as an essential ‐ or unavoidable ‐ policy of government. Nonetheless, the cultural lobby is an effective and indefatigable pressure on government. The area of culture is just one small component of the public agenda that governments are obliged to support. Given other pressing portfolios, why do governments continue to take an interest in culture?

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Jenny Fleming — The Australian National University (2004)

Les Liaisons Dangereuses: Relations between Police Commissioners and Their Political Masters, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 63, Issue 3, pp. 60–74.

This article reflects on the difficult and ambiguous relationship between Australian Police Commissioners and their political masters. The article looks at South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales and examines the nature of the conflict arising in these jurisdictions from the ambiguous nature of the roles Police Commissioners and Ministers are expected to play. In exploring the uncertainties and expectations that surround the Police Commissioner–Minister relationship, the article considers what lessons can be drawn from such examples. The article reflects on the political and social ramifications of such altercations and considers ways of managing future conflict.

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David Adams and John Wiseman — Department for Victorian Communities; Victoria University (2003)

Navigating the Future: A Case Study of Growing Victoria Together, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 62, Issue 2, pp. 11–23.

In an increasingly volatile, uncertain and complex world governments internationally are seeking new frameworks to think about future directions which can guide policy choices that can be turned into realities. This article presents an insiders’ case study of the initial development of the Victorian Labor government’s Growing Victoria Together, launched in November 2001; it expresses the vision, policy priorities and its key progress measures.

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Patrick Bishop and Glyn Davis — Griffith University (2002)

Mapping Public Participation in Policy Choices, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 61, Issue 1, pp. 14–29.

In an era of democratic discontent, more and better participation in policy making has become a standard expectation. Yet it is rarely clear what counts as participation, and how the many practices loosely bundled under the label should be understood. This paper has a modest undergrowth‐clearing objective: to examine assumptions behind competing typologies of participation, and to propose a classification framework less laden by idealist notions of democracy.

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Richard Mulgan — The Australian National University (2001)

Auditors-General: Cuckoos in the Managerialist Nest? Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 60, Issue 2, pp. 24–34.

The role of Auditors‐General has expanded in recent decades, particularly with the development of performance auditing. Performance auditing originated in the managerialist concern for monitoring results, but in some respects Auditors‐General have found themselves at odds with managerialism, particularly where outsourcing and privatisation have reduced the level of public accountability. Performance auditing has also increased the potential for Auditors‐General to clash openly with elected governments, though for the most part they confine their scrutiny to the activities of public servants. Auditors‐General have more authority to confront governments over matters of propriety than over efficiency and effectiveness issues.

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Michael Di Francesco — University of Sydney (2000)

An Evaluation Crucible: Evaluating Policy Advice in Australian Central Agencies, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 59, Issue 1, pp. 36–48.

Policy advice is a core function of government that until quite recently remained outside the formal processes of performance evaluation. Evaluation, by its very nature, is designed to question both the effectiveness and relevance of government activities; applying it to policy advice opens up a traditionally confidential and politically sensitive arena. This paper reports on an evaluation experiment in Australian government — policy management reviews (PMRs) — that sought to evaluate the quality of central agency policy advice.

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Shaun Goldfinch — The University of Canterbury NZ (1999)

Remaking Australia’s Economy Policy: Economic Policy Decision Makers During the Hawke Keating Labor Government, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 58, Issue 2, pp. 3–20.

This paper reports on interviews with 93 members of strategically located institutional elites and nominated influentials. It examines the sources of economic ideas in economic policy and studies a select number of key economic policy decisions made during the Labor governments of Hawke and Keating. It will argue that the economic liberalisation carried out during the Labor government reflected the influence of a range of individuals and institutions, depending on the economic decision in question, while a variety of domestic and internationally based institutions and individuals contributed ideas to economic policy‐making.

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David de Carvalho — Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission (1998)

‘The Captain is a Schizophrenic!’ or Contradictions in the Concept of the Steering State, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 57, Issue 2, pp. 107–114.

The Amazing New Paradigm:  It Slices, Dices, Chops and Grates!  But Wait – There’s MORE!

Over the last decade, the belief that a new paradigm for governance is needed has rapidly taken hold in the minds of influential theorists and practitioners of public policy in Western democracies. This belief is based on the assessment – fundamentally correct – that the old ideological dividing lines of left and right, liberal and conservative, are breaking down.

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Patrick Weller and John Wanna — Griffith University (1997)

Departmental Secretaries: Appointment, Termination and their Impact, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 57, Issue 2, pp. 107–114.

This report examines the conditions of appointment and termination of departmental secretaries in the APS and considers the impact of these conditions on: the secretaries themselves; the potential pool from which secretaries are drawn; and the likely continuing influence on the way in which the APS operates.

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Gary Sturgess — Sturgess Australia (1996)

Virtual Government: What Will Remain Inside the Public Sector? Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 55, Issue 3, pp. 59–73.

Around the world, the public sector is changing in ways which challenge the Weberian or bureaucratic paradigm. If we are to comprehend these changes, we must abandon the binary model of public and private sectors and better understand the non‐state public sector. Looking to historical and international examples, this article asks what has to remain inside the state. While acknowledging that there are significant drivers for reform, it argues that the size of government — large or small — should not be a matter of ideology.

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Robert Gregory — Victoria University NZ (1995)

The Peculiar Tasks of Public Management: Towards Conceptual Discrimination, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 54, Issue 2, pp. 171–183.

Recent contributions to AJPA have suggested new conceptual directions for public management in response to the stand‐off between managerialists and their critics. In emphasising the inherent political dimensions of public management, this article seeks to build on these contributions. It does so by combining some of the insights of previous contributors with a simple matrix devised originally by American scholar James Q Wilson. The central proposition is that attempts to render public management more like private management have been too far‐reaching, and do not adequately appreciate the intractable difficulties that stem from the types of task that are peculiar to public organisations. It is suggested that there should be less reliance on dubious metaphors borrowed from the business domain. Instead, a greater degree of theoretical eclecticism and conceptual discrimination should be used in understanding and developing public management.

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Anna Yeatman — Macquarie University (1994)

The Reform of Public Management: An Overview, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 53, Issue 3, pp. 287–295.

A major process of reforming public management has been occurring in the liberal democratic state jurisdictions over the last 15 years or so. It is not over yet, but it is possible now to map more clearly the feature of what we after others (see e.g. Hood 1991) can call the new public management.

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John Alford — University of Melbourne (1993)

Towards a New Public Management Model: Beyond “Managerialism” and Its Critics, Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 52, Issue 2, pp. 135–148.

With the debate about “managerialism” stuck in a hole, there are calls for a new model of public sector management. Drawing on practical and theoretical developments, this article seeks to move the discussion forward by analysing the protagonists’ positions. It argues that neither the managerialists nor their critics give a proper account of the task and context of public sector management, and advances an alternative conception. It uses this conception to assess the administrative prescriptions of the two camps, and suggests an alternative approach, one consistent with the actual practice of the most innovative of the managerial reformers.

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Owen Hughes — Monash University (1992)

Public Management or Public Administration? Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 55, Issue 1, pp. 286–296.

The debate over managerialism has been the most controversial issue in Australian public administration journals in recent years. Although most articles have been critical, there have been responses in favour of the changes by senior public servants. One unfortunate consequence of this debate has been the appearance of a gap between academic public administration and public service practice.

This paper argues that, from several angles, the work now carried out by public services is management rather than administration. It argues that managerialism is a long‐overdue reform to a model which has outlived its usefulness.

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