Understanding agenda-setting in health and environmental policy

Dumping site at El Fasher Hospital, North Darfur. Most of the medical waste is dumped in an area that later is managed.

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 29 September 2015


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building (8), Fellows Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Phillip Baker and Kyla Tienhaara


Emma Larking
+61 (0)2 6125 1513

Why do some health and environmental initiatives succeed or fail in attracting political priority? This presentation will engage with theory as well as empirical cases of actual agenda-setting processes to provide some answers to this question.

Agenda-setting is the issue-sorting phase in the policy process, when some issues rise to the attention of policy-makers while others receive little attention or none at all. Although material factors (e.g. the social or environmental impact of the issue) matter, other factors such as the mobilization of expert and civil society networks, a supportive institutional and political context, public framing of the issue by advocates and opponents, and the characteristics of an issue are important.

Phillip Baker will introduce the topic and present his research on political priority for obesity prevention and related nutrition issues in the Australian context. Following Phillip, Kyla Tienhaara will discuss her own experience in trying to influence the Australian government’s agenda on trade and investment policy.

About the Speakers

Phillip Baker is a Research Fellow at the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet). His PhD research explored the rise and fall of the obesity issue on to the agendas of the World Health Organization and the Australian Commonwealth Government. He recently begun a five-year programme of work within the Centre for Research Excellence on Health Equity, funded by the National Health & Medical Research Council, examining the factors that have facilitated or impeded political priority for health equity in Australia.

Kyla Tienhaara is a Research Fellow at RegNet. Her research focuses on the intersection between environmental governance and the global economic system, with a particular emphasis on international investment. At present she is working on a three year research project on ‘Building a green economy? The politics of green infrastructure stimulus in the wake of the global financial crisis’ funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet