Crisis Policymaking

Crisis Policymaking: Australia and the East Timor Crisis of 1999

Volume: 177
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Crisis Policymaking
    Book Description:

    East Timor's violent transition to independence, which began early in 1999, presented the Australian Government with a significant foreign policy crisis. This crisis was not sudden, totally unexpected or ultimately threatening to Australia's survival. But the crisis consumed the attention of Australian leaders, saw significant national and international resources employed, and led to the largest operational deployment for the Australian Defence Force since the Vietnam War. This crisis also created a significant rupture in the hitherto carefully-managed relationships between Australia and its important neighbor, Indonesia. The events of September 1999 ultimately led to the birth of a new nation and the deaths of many people who might have otherwise expected to enjoy that independence. In this major study, David Connery examines how the Australian Government—at the political and bureaucratic levels—developed and managed national security policy in the face of this crisis. The events, and the policymaking processes that both led and followed, are reconstructed using sixty interviews with key participants. This study identifies certain characteristics of crisis policymaking in Australia that include a dominant executive, secrecy, external actors and complexity.

    eISBN: 978-1-921666-57-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Abstract
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. About the Author
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Bureaucratic Classifications
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Chapter 1 Australian Policymaking and the East Timor Crisis
    (pp. 1-16)

    The East Timor Crisis of 1999 has received considerable attention in Australia. This attention has included accounts of the events and the military operations that year, especially those involving the International Force East Timor (INTERFET).¹ There have been some descriptions and analysis of how Australia’s actions in this crisis affected its regional standing,² and one paper about how the crisis was managed between Washington and Canberra.³ There have been numerous books about the rights and wrongs of Australian policy,⁴ and a short but sharp critique by William Maley which focused on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).⁵ Unusually,...

  9. Chapter 2 A Brief Outline of the East Timor Crisis: The View from Canberra
    (pp. 17-40)

    A number of books have been published about East Timor’s history during the period 1945–99,¹ and those efforts will not be replicated here. Instead, the main focus of this study falls on the seat of Australia’s Government, Canberra, during the period after December 1998 when Prime Minister John Howard wrote to Indonesia’s President B.J. Habibie concerning the future of East Timor. This event represents the beginning of this case study, as more Australian Government agencies became involved in developing, and then managing, new policies concerning East Timor. The period concludes in late October 1999 when Australian Government agencies began...

  10. Chapter 3 Initiating the Policy Cycle
    (pp. 41-82)

    Previous chapters introduced the concept of crisis policymaking, Australia’s system for crisis policymaking and briefly outlined the East Timor crisis from the perspective of Australian policymakers. This chapter examines policymaking during this crisis through the first three phases of the policy cycle, where policy is initiated. Each section examines one phase—starting with issue identification, then moving to policy analysis and policy instruments. The subsequent discussion is organised by using the characteristics of policymaking identified in the Australian Policy Cycle to compare crisis policymaking with the ‘typical’ characteristics described by Peter Bridgman and Glyn Davis. Each section concludes with observations...

  11. Chapter 4 Bringing Policy Advice Together
    (pp. 83-112)

    While advice may be well-developed after the initiating phases of the cycle, policymakers generally see advantage in exposing that advice to others before seeking decisions. Chapter 4 examines how international and domestic audiences are brought into the policy cycle through consultation, and other internal government actors through coordination. This chapter follows the format used in Chapter 3 and, once again, each section is drawn together by a short observation covering the main points about that phase in lieu of a conclusion for the chapter.

    The Consultation phase involves testing policy with audiences outside the originating policymaking department. For Peter Bridgman...

  12. Chapter 5 Decision and Beyond
    (pp. 113-136)

    This chapter completes the study of Australian policymaking during the 1999 East Timor crisis by examining the last three phases of the policy cycle: Decision, Implementation and Evaluation. This chapter follows the format of the previous two.

    The Decision phase is the pivotal point of the cycle where the analysts’ work is judged by the authoritative actors in the cycle—in this case, the prime minister and the National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSCC). The characteristics proposed by Peter Bridgman and Glyn Davis for the Decision phase are:

    Cabinet is dominant;

    Officials, when invited, answer questions of a technical nature...

  13. Chapter 6 Conclusion: East Timor and the Characteristics of Crisis Policymaking
    (pp. 137-146)

    The East Timor crisis had broad effects at many levels. At the global level, the international response to the crisis gave some reason to hope (at the time) that the United Nations could become an effective body for maintaining international order. At the regional level, this crisis changed a range of relationships, particularly those between Indonesia, Australia, the new nation-state of East Timor and their neighbours. Without overstating the effect, the crisis began a new and different period in Australian politics where policy was more self-confident, increasingly interventionalist within the region and even more closely aligned to the United States....

  14. Appendix
    (pp. 147-150)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 151-176)