Research Students

Anita PhillipsPhD Candidate



Centre for Change Governance


Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra

Research Interests

I am intrigued by how politicians and other policy makers engage in and direct the policy process and am currently interested in exploring this. I have undertaken action research, for example reporting on the procedures within the field of child protection for the ACT government, but have yet to begin my “real research” journey.


"The process of policy development using the NDIS as a case study"


I want to explore how politicians and other policy makers decide what “policies” they will escalate onto the political agenda, which ones then get traction and then become legislation and are implemented. The National Disabilty Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a brand nes “policy” just being implement throughout Australia and I believe ideal to use as a case example to research the above aspects of the policy process. I will not be assessing or evaluating the NDIS as such, but focusing on the theoretical aspects of its development. 


Assoc Prof. Paul Fawcett (primary supervisor), Prof Laurie Brown (secondary supervsor) and Prof Mark Evans (advisor)


I have recently retired from full time work. My early career was spent as a social worker in acute, chronic and mental health settings, in child protection, disability and community agencies. In later years it has been predominately spent within the Public Sector as an Executive Director in Federal, State/Territory and Local government in the community services sector in Queensland and the ACT. My last position which I held for nearly ten years was as ACT Public Advocate/Guardian. I have also been involved at the Executive level as a Ministerial adviser to several Ministers and as a Member of the Queensland Parliament.  I am now keen to spend time reflecting on some of the issues that arose during my working life and to do further research and writing particularly in the areas of  policy development and implementation. I am a “mature aged” student, a mother of three daughters and grandmother. My permanent residence is still in Queensland, but during semester I am commuting to Canberra from a little cabin on the NSW south coast.      


  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies (UC 2012)
  • Master of Public Administration (UC 1990)
  • BA/Dip. Social Studies (Uni of Melb. 1976)
  • “Who is caring for the ACT’s children” A report on the emergency care processes in the ACT. ACT Government publication
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