The Magic of Harmonisation: A Case Study of Occupational Health and Safety in Australia

The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration Vol. 34, No. 2 (December 2012) 137-155

28 Pages Posted: 1 May 2013 Last revised: 24 Feb 2014

See all articles by Eric Windholz

Eric Windholz

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Graeme Hodge

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Harmonisation is both a substantive policy reform and a political project. Using the lens of Pollitt and Hupe’s ‘magic concepts of government’ and the harmonisation of Australia’s occupational health and safety laws as a case study, this article argues that as a political project, harmonisation has a magical rhetorical quality that obscures traditional differences, eases the business of governing and makes it almost irresistible as a policy solution. The article observes, however, that harmonisation’s magic is: illusory (in that it obscures rather than resolves policy differences); seductive (in that it entices stakeholders to overestimate its capacity to reconcile such differences); and time limited (with reform outcomes eventually becoming vulnerable and fragile). The article concludes that harmonisation’s ‘magic’ and its limitations need to be better acknowledged, government use of harmonisation tools approached with a healthy level of scepticism, and policy and regulatory review processes designed to guard against its seductive qualities.

Keywords: Harmonisation, Magic Concept, Policy, Politics, Occupational health and safety, OHS

JEL Classification: H77, K32

Suggested Citation

Windholz, Eric and Hodge, Graeme, The Magic of Harmonisation: A Case Study of Occupational Health and Safety in Australia (2012). The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration Vol. 34, No. 2 (December 2012) 137-155, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2258258

Eric Windholz (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Graeme Hodge

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
90
Abstract Views
464
rank
306,856
PlumX Metrics