Public inquiries have had major impacts on the direction of public policy. Listed below are just some of the hundred of inquiries that have been appointed and which are noteworthy.
- Royal Commission on Sites for Seat of Government of the Commonwealth (1903) – gave advice on where Australia ’s capital should be located.
- Royal Commission on Public Service Administration (1918) – responsible for establishing the modern Commonwealth Public Service.
- Royal Commission on Espionage (1954) – investigated the famous Petrov Russian spy issue that had a great impact on Australian politics.
- Royal Commission into the Federated Ship Painters’ and Dockers’ Union (1980) – responsible for uncovering corruption in the union movement, tax evasion schemes and incompetence and maladministration in the Australian Tax Office.
- Committee of Inquiry into Australian Financial System (1979) – lead to financial deregulation and a major influence on the direction of Australian economic policy.
- Commission of Inquiry into the Current Health Status of the Australian Population (1985) – gave impetus to more preventative health policies.
- Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education Funding (1987) – responsible for the introduction of the HECs system of students payment for university study.
- Royal Commission of Inquiry into HIH (2001) – investigated the causes of Australia ’s largest corporate collapse.
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- Royal Commission into Organised Crime in New South Wales (1973) – exposed corruption in this area.
- Committee of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (1987) – the Fitzgerald Inquiry that brought down the long ensconced National Party Government in Queensland.
- Royal Commission into the State Bank of South Australia and the State Group of Companies (1991) – examined the actions of the South Australia State Bank that almost bankrupted the State.
- Royal Commission into Commercial Activities of Government and Other Matters (1991) – provided a full expose of WA Inc and Labor Party government corruption.
- Board of Inquiry into Allegations of Corruption in the Police Force in Connection with Alleged Abortion Practices in the State of Victoria (1970) – brought to public light a major public scandal of non-enforcement of law.
- Royal Commission into the Edmund Rouse Bribery Affair (1991) – Tasmania ’s first inquiry into political bribery.
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Below are some key articles and books on royal commissions and public inquiries. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather provides a basic introduction. More detailed references are found throughout the site.
- Borchardt, D.H., 1991, Commissions of Inquiry in Australia , La Trobe University Press, Bundoora
- Cushing, F., 1991, Australian Federal Government Inquiries: 5 December 1972 to 31 December 1990 , Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, Canberra
- Prasser, S., 1985, “Public Inquiries in Australia : An Overview,” Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol XL, No 1, March, 1-15
- Lindell, G., 2002, Tribunals of Inquiry and Royal Commissions, Federation Press, Sydney
- Sherman, T., 1997, Executive Inquiries in Australia: Some Proposals for Reform, Centre for International and Public Law, Faculty of Law, Australian National University, Law and Policy Papers, Paper No 8, Canberra
- Weller, P., (ed), 1994, Royal Commissions and the Making of Public Policy, Macmillan, Melbourne
- Doern, B., 1967, “The Role of Royal Commissions in the General Policy Process and in Federal-Provincial Relations,” Canadian Public Administration, Vol 10, No 4, 417-433
- Hodgetts, J.E., 1964, “Should Canada be De-Commissioned? A Commoner’s View of Royal Commissions,” Queens Quarterly, Vol 70, No 4, Winter, 477-483
- D’Ombrain, N., 1997, “Public Inquiries in Canada ,” Canadian Public Administration, Vol 40, No 1, Spring, 86-107
- Simpson, A.C., 1978, “Commissions of Inquiry in the Policy Process,” in S. Levine, (ed), Politics in New Zealand: A Reader, Cheshire , Melbourne
- Premfors, R., 983, “Government Commission in Sweden ,” American Behavioral Scientist, Vol 26, No 5, May-June, 623-642
- Bulmer, M., 1983, Royal Commissions and Departmental Committees of Inquiry: The Lessons of Experience, Royal Institute of Public Administration, London
- Cartwright, T.J., 1975, Royal Commissions and Departmental Committees in Britain , Hodder and Stoughton , London
- Chapman, R.A. (ed), 1973, The Role of Commissions in Policy-Making, Allen and Unwin, London
- Rhodes, G., 1975, Committees of Inquiry, Allen and Unwin, London
- Hanser, C.J., 1969, “Royal Commissions for the US?” in T.E. Cronin and S.D. Greenberg, (eds), The Presidential Advisory System, Harper and Row, New York, 305-311
- Flitner, D., 1986, The Politics of Presidential Commissions: A Public Policy Perspective, Transacrions , New York
- Wolanin,T.R., 1975, Presidential Advisory Commissions: From Truman to Nixon, University of Wilconsin Press , Madison
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