Public policy permeates every aspect of our lives. It is the stuff of government, justifying taxes, driving legislation, and shaping our social services. Public policy gives us roads, railways and airports, emergency services, industry development, and natural resource management. While politicians make the decisions, public servants provide analysis and support for those choices.

Drawing on their extensive practical experience, the authors outline the processes used in making public policy. They systematically explain the relationships between political decision-makers, public service advisers, other community participants, and those charged with implementing the programs that result.

The sixth edition of this widely used introduction is fully updated, and includes new material on the professionalisation of politicians, the role of opposition members, loss of corporate memory in the public service, addressing systemic policy failure, nudge economics and the impact of social media and the sharing economy on policy making and government.

'An invaluable guide for practitioners, academics and students to the craft of policy analysis, development and evaluation. It is an important resource for those with a commitment to sound evidence-based public policy.'
Ken Smith, ANZSOG CEO and Dean

'An enduring and important contribution to the field. Althaus, Bridgman and Davis' pioneering policy cycle approach continues to offer vital insights into the policy-making process in Australia and internationally.'
Lisa Paul AO PSM, Former Secretary of the Department of Education

chapter |6 pages


Why The Australian Policy Handbook?

chapter 1|11 pages

Why policy matters

chapter 2|25 pages

The institutions of public policy

chapter 3|11 pages

A policy cycle

chapter 4|17 pages

Identifying issues

chapter 5|31 pages

Policy analysis

chapter 6|13 pages

Policy instruments

chapter 7|28 pages


chapter 8|20 pages


chapter 9|15 pages


chapter 10|22 pages


chapter 11|15 pages


chapter 12|29 pages

Managing the policy process

chapter 13|10 pages

When policies succeed and fail