Policy Briefings (australia-and-climate-change-negotiations_0

briefing should be 500 words long.

Your first policy briefing must be the Economics Policy topic.

On Wednesday morning of Weeks 4 and 10 at 9am a folder containing one or more policy documents [such as a detailed Report on a specific policy issue] will be released on the AIP Cloudeakin page. You must submit your briefing by 11.59pm Friday of that same week. So, in effect, you have three days to prepare your Briefings.

Submit online into the relevant dropbox in the CloudDeakin Assignments Folder, via Turnitin.

Ensure that each policy briefing is clearly identified, pages are numbered, and you have included a header with your name and student number on every page.

The task

You are to assume the role of a ministerial adviser. Your minister holds a senior portfolio in the current government (ie, your minister is not a member of the opposition). Your minister is a busy person and will soon attend a meeting to make a decision on how to proceed in a particular policy area. Your policy briefing should include what the minister needs to know in order to make that decision.

Your briefing will be based on a particular policy document. This might be a government or opposition policy document, a research report, the transcript of a speech, or another similar document.

To complete your policy briefing, follow the guidelines below.


This should be a simple statement of no more than one sentence. It may be as little as the name of the policy document, or it may be a phrase that encapsulates the issue.


In this section of your policy briefing you should clearly and concisely summarise the policy document you are analysing. What is the main argument? The key findings?

You should also outline the implications of the policy document you are analysing. Why is the issue important to the minister for whom you are writing the brief? Why do they need to know about this? What are the implications of the document for your minister, other stakeholders, target groups, and so on?

Remember, the Minister will probably not read the original document so they are relying on you to provide them with accurate information about the policy area.

Policy context

This section of your briefing should be a concise overview of the background to the policy issue. This may include discussion of current and previous policies addressing the issue or topic; views or policies of the various parties; the views of the main actors or stakeholders; and media debate and public discussion. You might also want to address the question of why this issue is on the agenda.

Note: Section 3 will probably require you to do additional research. You should refer to this research in the briefing, although you will not include a bibliography.


Your briefing must conclude with some recommendations (between 1 and 4 is a good target). Your recommendations should be numbered, expressed in no more than a sentence or two. The recommendations section should start: ‘That the minister should ….’

Consider your tone carefully and ensure that you are making recommendations that are actually within the scope of powers available to the person you are briefing.

Note: It is extremely important that you think about tone in writing your briefing. If your briefing includes assumed knowledge that the reader does not actually possess, or if you incorrectly assume that the reader shares your values or priorities, then your communication will be far less persuasive. Consider who you are writing for, the party they are from, and what their views on the policy might be. It is not necessary for you to make recommendations based on the ideology of the current minister, but they should be realistic. For example, it is unlikely that any minister would find the recommendation ‘Make all education free’ very useful.

Marking Criteria

When marking, assessors will look for the following:

Has the student followed instructions and guidelines?

Does the student demonstrate an ability to summarise a body of complex information, identify the key issues, and communicate these issues clearly and concisely?

Does the student demonstrate a good understanding of the context and broader debates of this policy issue, and has correctly identified relevant actors and stakeholders?

Does the student write clearly and succinctly, and with a professional tone?

Receiving Marks and Feedback

You will receive comments as well as a mark for the first policy briefing within three weeks of the submission date. However, we will be treating the second policy briefing as an exam, and you will only receive a mark for that task at the end of trimester.

[Reference: This exercise has been amended from Maddison, S. and Denniss, R. (2013) Public Policy in Australia: Theory and Practice, Cambridge University Press: Port Melbourne, pp 224-5.

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