Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Education


In 1995, two major factors were highlighted, in relation to the state of arts education in Australia by the Senate, Environment, Recreation, Communications and Arts Reference Committee inquiry. First, it was confirmed that arts education in primary and secondary schools was still a largely neglected area, and second, the two previous major Commonwealth initiatives established to improve this situation, had failed to achieve their desired outcomes.

This enquiry analyses the policy process of one of these federal initiatives: the Education and the Arts (1985) policy. The implementation of this policy is examined in detail, investigating the events that preceded its formulation and those that followed. Factors are thus recognised which impeded the success of the implementation of this as well as other initiatives. These factors are still at play today and left unattended are likely to maintain the poor status of art education in Australian schools.

This enquiry is both comparative and diachronic. It investigates the policy process across bureaucratic settings, between organisations and inter-governmental departments, both at the federal and state level. It focuses on the implementation process as it occurred in time from the formulation in 1984, through to the publishing of its final outcomes in 1991.

The enquiry adopts a theoretical framework appropriate to the study of policy implementation. It applies a framework or model integrating implementation theory developed by Winter (1990) and Goggin, Bowman, Lester and O'Toole (1990), to examine intergovernmental policy implementation.

A constructivist methodology is employed for this enquiry based on qualitative research methods. The research methodology applies multiple methods of data collection, through elite unstructured interviews, semi-structured interviews and document analysis.

The results of this study support existing policy research and importantly, highlight a number of neglected factors or variables which may influence the policy process.

This enquiry is significant in that it makes a contribution to the field of policy studies. It also provides insights into advocacy issues appropriate to arts education.