Distinguished Lecture to explore power of PM

Professor Pat Weller, Griffith University, at lectern.
Professor Pat Weller will deliver the annual Distinguished Lecture on Thursday night.

Prime Ministers are not unknown to Professor Pat Weller and neither is Griffith University’s doyen of political science unknown to a host of Australia’s recent Prime Ministers.

During a 40-year academic career he has observed closely the trials, tribulations and triumphs of the heads of government that have come and gone from Gough Whitlam’s election in 1972 to Tony Abbott’s arrival at the top table last month.

Professor Weller is the author of two books on Prime Ministers, First Among Equals (1985) and Malcolm Fraser: Portrait of a Prime Minister (1989).

He is presently researching why some Prime Ministers succeed and others fail as part of an ARC Discovery Grant worth $269,392.

It is fitting therefore that Professor Weller, Centre for Governance and Public Policy, should deliver the second annual Distinguished Lecture titled: ‘Can Prime Ministers Govern? The Elusiveness of Executive Power’.

The lecture will be hosted by Griffith’s School of Government and International Relations at the Queensland College of Art at South Bank on this Thursday, October 10.

“We established the Distinguished Lecture to address, confront and unlock key issues at the heart of politics in Australia today,” Associate Professor Martin Griffiths, head of the School of Government and International Relations, said.

“With this year’s lecture we will present an insight into the role of the Prime Minister and how a Prime Minister effectively goes about the business of being Prime Minister, or not as the case may be.

“There are few if any academics in this country better placed than Professor Pat Weller to discuss and explore this subject thoroughly.

“His passion for politics, public policy and institutions of government has been built on strong, enduring, often robust relationships and exchanges with government officials and public servants.”

The one-hour lecture starts at 6.30pm and will be followed immediately by a question and answer session chaired by Associate Professor Griffiths.

Professor Pat Weller completed a doctorate in political science at the Australian National University in 1972, building his early academic career in Canberra before his move to Queensland during mid-1980s to be Griffith’s Foundation Professor of Politics and Public Policy.

He has held numerous public positions including chair of the Queensland Corrective Services Commission from 1994-96 and being a member of the Prime Minister’s task force on Australian Public Service reform in 2009.

He was the inaugural director of the Centre for Australian Public Sector Management at Griffith University in 1988 and during 30 years at the University, his roles have included Head of Department, Centre Director, Dean, and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Science and an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).