Dr Kirril Shields and Professor Linda Shields were commissioned by the Queensland ‘Together’ Union to conduct a study of health policies in Queensland from 2011-2014. Their report provides a detailed example of how the habit of borrowing ideas and people from the British National Health Service has proved disastrous for Queenslanders.
Learning from what others do is a normal part of personal and organisational development. This has been christened ‘policy transfer’ by scholars of political science and the history of Australian federalism provides many examples of successful policy transfer between states or between the Commonwealth and states. But there is no guarantee that this is always a sensible strategy, particularly when there is a major difference in culture between the two systems involved. Given our imperial past, Australians frequently look to Britain as a source of policy enlightenment, often to their detriment.