Who Defines the Public Interest?


Edited by TOM FRAME AM
Paperback, 196 pages. 
Release Date: December 2018 
ISBN: 9781925826234

Who defines the public interest? As the contributors to the collection have shown, the question itself is complex: which public and whose interests? The answer is controversial as well: it is not simply politicians and bureaucrats although they have a prominent role. Journalists and academics, community leaders and private citizens have all seized the initiative and asserted their entitlement as members of the public to assert shared interests and common aspirations principally in advocacy but sometimes through action. Does the authority to define the public interest come with a duty to see it promoted and protected? In addition to canvassing competing visions and contrasting expressions of the public interest and their relationship to the common good, the contributors also examine the limits of public interest claims and how a range of professional groups might discharge their obligation to act in the public interest.

Gun Control

Gun Control: What Australia got right (and wrong)

By Tom Frame
Release Date: September 2019
ISBN: 9781742236346

In the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre on 28 April 1996 – when a gunman murdered 35 people and injured another 23 at a popular Tasmanian tourist attraction – John Howard, a conservative prime minister who had been in office for just six weeks, surprised his colleagues and startled the nation by moving swiftly to transform Australia’s lax firearm laws. The National Firearms Agreement, produced just twelve days after the massacre with support from all levels of government and across the political divide, is now held up around the world as a model for gun control.

Gun Control analyses whether the Australian Government achieved its intention and what it might have done in response to the massacre, and didn’t.

Getting Practical Cover2

Getting Practical about the Public Interest

Edited by Tom Frame
Book 2: Public Interest Series
Paperback, 210 pages
Release Date: January 2020
ISBN: 9781925826784

How is the public interest best served? It is one thing to define the public interest… it is another to pursue the interests of the public. Given the problems associated with abstract definitions, this collection of essays explores individual approaches to acting in the public interest and examines institutional strategies for advancing the public interest.

The contributors consider the practical dimensions of promoting and protecting the public interest in diverse settings ranging from policing to planning, and national defence to resource allocation. While the main focus is executive decision-making, they critique the processes and procedures that have been used to identify the public interest in the midst of personal hopes and private desires, political priorities and commercial aspirations. Drawing on their experience and expertise, the contributors have tried to show where the public interest began as a guiding administrative principle that became an effective practical tool.

PROFESSOR TOM FRAME AM is Director of the Public Leadership Research Group at UNSW Canberra and the Howard Library at Old Parliament House. The contributors to this collection include former federal and state cabinet ministers, civil servants, journalists and academics with expertise in public administration and national policy.