Royal commissions and policy influence

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Royal commissions are established at the Commonwealth and state levels in Australia to investigate matters of significant public concern. These distinctive entities are highly respected both by government and the community. They are typically expected to produce reports that will have significant impact. Although a large number are created primarily to determine why specific events happened and where accountabilities lie, many are expected to generate findings and recommendations that will lead to policy change. We review common strategies that actors in and around government deploy with the purpose of shaping public policy. This leads to an exploration of the influence strategies deployed by three Australian royal commissions that achieved high levels of policy impact. Lessons are drawn for how future royal commissions might create policy legacies that deliver high public value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-96
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • evidence-based policymaking
  • influence strategies
  • public administration
  • public enquiries
  • review
  • royal commissions

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