On the Frontier: Australia's policy approach to foreign direct investment 1968 - 2004 as a case study in globalisation, national public policy and public administration

  • Christopher John Sadleir

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Since the latter half of the twentieth century patterns of economic flows and the deployment of systems of production have encouraged greater political and social integration between nation states. This phenomenon, called globalisation, has reinvigorated debate about the nation state as a mode of organisation, and created the conditions for an ongoing natural experiment concerning state adjustment. This experiment, while on a global scale, has led to different responses from national governments, as each grappled with how best to accommodate both domestic and international interests. One neglected aspect of analysis in these processes is the role played by national bureaucracy in state adjustment as a means to move with globalising pressures or to resist their impact. This thesis presents a qualitative analysis of the interaction of one globalising process, foreign direct investment (FDI),and the workings of the nation state, as a means of assessing the way in which the national government has used regulatory processes and its bureaucracy to control FDI. An extended historical case study is used to examine changes in policy, regulation and the organisation of the national bureaucracy concerned with FDI in Australia. The period examined is from 1968 to 2004 enabling comparisons to be made across the experience of seven successive national governments (those led by prime ministers Gorton, McMahon, Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating and Howard) in the way they managed the domestic and international circumstances that impacted on FDI. This thesis makes a contribution to the literature on the interaction of globalising processes, the nation state and the role played by national public bureaucracies where national and transnational interests intersect. In particular, this thesis identifies the national bureaucracy as a key agent for government in enabling and domesticating the processes of globalisation. This finding demonstrates that national bureaucracy is significant as both a facilitator and the inhibitor of processes of globalisation, and therefore is a key factor in understanding the issues of state adjustment in studies of globalisation.
    Date of Award2007
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorGwyn Singleton (Supervisor) & Jennifer Stewart (Supervisor)

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