Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Quentin Beresford


The inability of the Australian federal governments to dominate the Senate has enhanced the Senate’s ability to review and make recommendations on public policy issues. In 1994, the Senate Standing Committee on Industry, Science, Technology, Transport, Communications and Infrastructure reviewed and made recommendations on Australia’s emergency management arrangements. Australian emergency management has developed in a complex environment where it has been heavily influenced by incremental development from its civil defence origins in the Second World War and by factors including international developments, federalism and the hazards impacting on Australia. The Senate Committee’s review was a unique opportunity for a high level investigation of the adequacy of the arrangements. The Review, although it produced forty five recommendations, failed to consider a range of significant issues in Australian emergency management. These omissions include federalism, the impact of economic rationalism, and the need for national emergency management legislation. The inquiry conducted by the Senate Committee failed to engage key stakeholders, notably local government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The inquiry also focused on administrative as opposed to policy issues. As a consequence of these deficiencies, it failed to result in significant change to Australia’s emergency management arrangements.