2016 Solomon Lecture

The Office of the Information Commissioner is pleased to present Professor Anne Tiernan delivering the 2016 Solomon Lecture on "Collaboration in Place: The central role of information and data in securing Queensland’s future prosperity."

After more than a quarter of a century of almost continuous growth and prosperity, Australia confronts an uncertain economic future. Like other advanced nations, our expectations and our public policy settings will need to adjust to the realities of an international context characterised by low growth and falling living standards. And  growing inequality?

But if the last seven years are any indication, the prospects for reform and change look grim. Australia’s politics has been notable for its volatility and hyper-partisanship, played out in one-term governments, rapid turnover among political leaders, growing and falling support for the major parties. The federal election of 2 July 2016 only confirmed the widely shared sense that a deep malaise has afflicted our politics – fuelling voter disengagement and undermining public trust in our public institutions and political processes.

Far from the elite debate, however, something quite different is happening. Across the country, and particularly in Queensland, a range of exciting, community-led collaborations, like the Logan Together initiative are demonstrating how open innovation practices can catalyse and drive social change. Networks of partners from all tiers of government, the community and private sectors, and from universities, are using evidence and data to re-imagine the provision of human services.

At a time when place is recognised as fundamental to innovation and the knowledge economy (Deloitte 2016), could locally-responsive approaches premised on collaboration between individuals, communities, businesses and governments provide the key to our future prosperity and to rebuilding trust in public processes and institutions?

Professor Anne Tiernan explores these questions in the 2016 Solomon Lecture. She argues that strategic investments in knowledge infrastructure and the favourable policy environment created by Queensland’s Right to Information laws give our state a unique capacity to realise the many benefits - democratic, economic, social and environmental, that might flow from more collaborative, community-led and data-informed public policies. Professor Tiernan identifies the formidable barriers and impediments to be overcome, the commitment and leadership that will be demanded of all players, if we are to seize these opportunities for Queensland and Queenslanders.

About Professor Tiernan

Professor Anne Tiernan is the Director of the Policy Innovation Hub at Griffith University. A political scientist, with earlier careers in government in the Commonwealth and Queensland, and in teaching and consultancy, Anne is respected for her independent, professional and research-informed analysis and commentary on national politics, public administration and public policy.

Anne is author and co-author of five books including: Lessons in Governing: A Profile of Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff, The Gatekeepers: Lessons from Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff, Learning to be a Minister: Heroic Expectations, Practical Realities, Power Without Responsibility: Ministerial Staffers in Australian Governments from Whitlam to Howard, Caretaker Conventions in Australasia: Minding the Shop for Government. With Julianne Schultz, Anne edited Fixing the System, the most recent edition of Griffith Review.