Inaugural Mastercraft Seminar – Royal Commissions, Public Inquiries & Reviews


On 11th May 2023, IPAA Queensland hosted the first in our new Mastercraft Series. This series is designed to deliver the latest information and thinking about core areas of the craft of public administration.

For our first topic we dived into one of the most impactful and debated policy functions, Royal Commissions, Public Inquiries and Reviews. Our expert speaker, Dr Scott Prasser, explored some key questions drawing on his depth of academic knowledge and practical experience in policy making and advice, with insights from a career of studying the past and present of Commissions, Inquiries and Reviews in Australia.

The following key questions were dissected:

  • Why we do we have them?
  • What do they do?
  • What is their impact?
  • And, most importantly – why should public purpose workers care or invest in these processes?

…”appointed not so much for digging up the truth, as for digging it in” (Herbert, 1961)

The session was chaired by IPAA Queensland Councillor Mark Le Dieu, Group Manager (Community Grants Hub), Department of Social Services, who offered his own insights about the importance of paying attention to Royal Commissions. He reflected on the significance of the current Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme for the Australian Public Service (APS) and the impact that such mechanisms of review can have on Commonwealth Government policy.

Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry are launched to forensically investigate and make public findings and recommendations about individuals, organisations and matters of public concern – usually regarding a specific incident or series of allegations.

Often, they involve contentious, complex issues, and attract significant media attention. The hearings themselves and the recommendations that result can have very serious impacts on businesses, key individuals, or entire industries.

According to Dr Prasser, a Royal Commission is like the Rolls Royce of policy instruments available to governments. Further:

  • They are a cornerstone of a rational decision-making process.
  • They do have impacts.
  • And, importantly, their impacts can be profound for the public sector.

The masterclass dived into these issues and traced the evolution, key characteristics, and outcomes of a rich history of Commissions, Inquiries and Reviews in Australia.

We are excited to make the full event recording freely available to the public purpose community as part of IPAA Queensland’s mission to advance the capability, integrity and professionalism of public administration and promote pride in service.








We thank Dr Scott Prasser for his support for IPAA Queensland.


IPAA Queensland was delighted to present our expert speaker, Dr Scott Prasser. Dr Prasser is a public policy consultant and commentator. He is the editor of the recently released book New Directions in Royal Commissions and Public Inquiries: Do we need them? and provides regular analysis is print, radio and television media. He has held senior policy and advisory roles in state and commonwealth public services, and served as ministerial advisor to three federal Cabinet Ministers.  He holds undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications from the University of Queensland and Griffith University. Dr Prasser is also a IPAA Queensland Councillor.


IPAA Queensland’s Mastercraft Series is the latest in our original and unique program of initiatives aimed at supporting and developing the public sector in Queensland.

These events are designed to deliver the latest information and thinking on core areas of knowledge for all public service professionals. The aim is to promote evidence-based and thoughtful practice in public policy and public management, and to develop essential knowledge and skills in the craft of public administration (particularly amongst young professionals and those new to public service).

Delivered in an engaging and sharp format, including relevant and interesting case examples and lots of opportunity for Q&A, the Mastercraft Series will become a sort-after addition to our annual program.

The series are offered free to IPAA Queensland individual members and organisational member employees in alignment with our mission to build the capability, professionalism and integrity of public service in Queensland.