The Big Society in Australia: A case of 'non'-policy transfer?

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    7 Citations (Scopus)


    The Big Society was a flagship policy initiative launched by the UK Conservative party, under the leadership of David Cameron, to win office in 2010. Closely associated with the ideas of Phillip Blond, the Big Society agenda seeks to introduce new forms of civic activism and revive wider civil society. There has been speculation that the Big Society agenda might take hold in Australia, and Blond has been active in promoting it in Australia. Using Dolowitz and Marsh's policy transfer heuristic, this article examines the likelihood of the Big Society being adopted by the Abbott Liberal Coalition. The article outlines a number of potential variants of the Big Society, and concludes that for a variety of reasons it is unlikely to be adopted by the Liberal federal government in Australia. The case also highlights both strengths and limitations in the Dolowitz and Marsh framework, arguing that it can be used in an innovative way to speculate on potential transfers, but is limited in accounting for why transfer may or may not take place. The Big Society was a flagship policy initiative launched by the UK Conservative party in 2010. This paper uses a policy transfer heuristic to examine the likelihood of potential variants of this agenda taking place in Australia. The case highlights both strengths and limits of the policy transfer heuristic. Australian Journal of Public Administration

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-201
    Number of pages11
    JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


    • Big Society
    • Liberal party
    • Policy transfer


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