Improving Public Administration - A 50th celebration event



Tuesday, 19 April 2016


Flinders University Victoria Square, 182 Victoria Square, Adelaide SA 5000


9:00 am – 12:30 pm (Registration from 8:30 am)

Slides: Download Here

For 50 years Flinders University has been a focus for long term and systematic education and research in the field of public policy and administration.  Its public policy activities have always had a strong collaborative element working with government.

Over the past 50 years the public administration landscape has changed dramatically and the fundamental issues of organising our society to steer new directions, and harness our resources to deliver public value has been highly contestable.  Our public servants have very hard jobs giving policy advice and managing programs

This half day seminar provided pointers to the future, and looked at lessons we can learn from the past.

The session was chaired by Professor Adam Graycar, School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University. 

Our two keynote speakers brought knowledge, vision and experience

Dr Zeger van der Wal 
The 21st Century Public Manager: Trends, Challenges, and Competencies

Drawing on cutting edge research, Dr van der Wal will outline how public managers, faced with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity can face future challenges and risks.

He will show that these challenges and risks also provide unprecedented opportunities, enabling public managers to be more entrepreneurial, faster, “flatter”, responsive, and innovative in their ability to respond to citizen needs, policy challenges, and demands and assignments from political and administrative bosses.   In his outline of how to deliver “better” public management he will draw upon his forthcoming book The 21st Century Public Manager. His opening address will cover:

  • Key drivers and trends affecting the operating environment of public managers in the 21st century, such as Climate Change, Aging, Ultra-urbanization, Economic Interconnectedness, and Disruptive Technological Change
  • Seven clusters of demands, dilemmas, and enablers resulting from these trends, such as Managing Stakeholder Multiplicity, Managing Authority Turbulence, and Managing the New Work (Force)
  • The potential of a new paradigm of 21st Century Public Management to complement Traditional Public Administration, New Public Management, and New Public Governance
  • The ability of our field to stay relevant to practice amidst rapidly changing and highly dynamic environments and contexts

Mr Kym Kelly
Lessons from the past: Values to lead and Capacity to manage

Following the coffee break we heard from four people closely associated with the School, two who have been involved in teaching, and two Masters graduates

  • Dr Cassandra Star,  Associate Professor in Public Policy
  • Dr Jo Baulderstone, former Associate Professor in Public Policy
  • Mr Phil Fagan-Schmidt,  currently Executive Director, Housing SA
  • Ms Barbara Dickens currently with RenewalSA

Speaker Bios


Chair: Professor Adam Graycar

In 2015 Professor Adam Graycar joined the School of Social and Policy Studies at Flinders University.  For five years before that he was Professor of Public Policy at the Australian National University and also Director of the Transnational Research Institute on Corruption (TRIC).  He acquired extensive policy experience over 22 years in the senior level posts he has held in government, both Commonwealth and State, including Australia’s first Commissioner for the Ageing, and later Head, Cabinet Office, government of South Australia.


Dr Zeger van der Wal, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore

Dr Zeger van der Wal is Assistant Dean (Research) and Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, based at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He currently serves as Associate Editor of Public Administration Review, one the premier journals in the field. Zeger has (co)authored over 75 publications, including books, journal articles, and op-ed pieces in magazines and newspapers. Top-tier journals which have published his work include International Public Management Journal, Public Administration Review, Public Administration, and Public Management Review. Zeger manages an active executive education and consulting portfolio. His areas of interest are: ethics, values, and good governance, performance management, and strategic HRM. Currently, he is working on a textbook geared towards MPA, MBA, and executive education classrooms, titled: “The 21st Century Public Manager”.


Mr Kym Kelly, Adjunct Senior Lecturer School of Social and Policy Studies Flinders University, (former CE SA Dept Attorney General and Justice)

Kym Kelly is a lawyer with long experience in the public sector. His areas of expertise are public sector administration and management, regulatory systems, prudential management, probity experience, government procurement, statutory regimes, government structures and entities and the general machinery of government.

He has held senior positions in both the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department and the South Australian government. From 1988 to1999 he was Chief Executive (Secretary) of the South Australian Attorney General’s Department and Chief Executive, Department of Justice.

He has also occupied the posts of Deputy Crown Solicitor, Commissioner for Corporate Affairs, and Chief Counsel, Crown Solicitor’s Office,

Together with Professor Adam Graycar he has taught executive courses for Commonwealth public servants on topics such as complexity in policy, attainment of policy outcomes, and also with Graycar has worked on research projects on integrity and corruption for international agencies such as the World Bank and Transparency International.


Dr Cassandra Star, Associate Professor, Public Policy, Flinders University. 

Dr Cassandra Star has been teaching undergraduates and postgraduates in political science and environmental studies for two decades, specialising in inspiring students about their place in the political world, and awakening them to the political nature of their actions.  She is a twice nationally-awarded tertiary teacher.

Her research focuses on environmental politics and policy, with a focus on the politics of climate change and on the role, actions and influence of non-government organisations in this arena This research agenda intersects her interest in higher education policy and the influence and impact of informal leadership and social learning amongst academic workers.

She engages with the broader public on political and policy issues by giving public talks, by doing training for the Institute of Public Affairs Australia (SA), and via her work for various government departments and agencies.


Barbara Dickens, Manager, Engagement, Renewal SA

Barbara Dickens is a community engagement specialist who graduated with a Master of Public Administration (Management) from the Flinders University School of Social and Policy Studies in April 2013, gaining the Chancellor’s commendation. She had previously undertaken the Public Sector Management Program and won the IPAA High Achiever Award for the highest total marks in South Australia in 2008. For the past 11 years Barbara has been responsible for the development and delivery of engagement strategies for major South Australian Government urban renewal and infrastructure projects, working collaboratively with key internal and external stakeholders to build relationships and negotiate sustainable outcomes within a broader political and government policy context. She is currently the Manager, Engagement with Renewal SA, the Authority formed to provide a fully integrated approach to delivering an inspiring urban future for the State.


Dr Jo Baulderstone, former Associate Professor in Public Policy

Jo  Baulderstone’s career began in the Australian Public Sector was characterised by asking ‘why’ and occasionally ‘why not’? Seeking answers to these questions led to enrolment in the Master of Policy and Administration and morphing into an academic. With a primary interest in applied research, Jo’s academic career focussed on non-profit organisations’ intersection with government, with a particular interest in accountability and inter-agency collaboration.  Her third career, as an ‘academic at large’, is proving to be the best yet.
Jo is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Flinders University and with the Australia New Zealand School of Government.


Philip Fagan-Schmidt, Executive Director, Housing SA

Philip Fagan-Schmidt was appointed to the position of Executive Director, Housing SA in 2009.  He was holds the Degree of Master of Public Policy from Flinders University.  He was awarded a Public Service Medal for his work in social housing policy and practice in 2015.  Philip has worked in both academic and government spheres and in a range of areas including health, housing, natural resource management, infrastructure and major projects.