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Parliamentary accountability and technology evaluation: the Australian spaceport project

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Over the past 20 years, many international scholars have noted the relative decline of the advisory influence of conventional "think tanks" and the relative rise of management consultants and "ideological" groups. The paper presents an alternative formulation whereby an Australian Senate Committee concerning space-launch capabilities operated as a parliamentary "think tank". In so doing, it led to significant changes in policy processes within government, structure of both policy advice and operational agencies and, in part, informally coordinated the work of ongoing official enquiries into more general space policy matters. The case study provides a rare example of the efficacy of the Senate as an instrument of both ex ante policy making and post hoc governmental accountability.

Keywords: Accountability; Australia; Central government

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 1999

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