John Craig's primary qualification was in civil engineering. He graduated in
1967 from the University of Queensland with First Class Honours and a University
for more than 25 years on strategic policy R&D functions
with the Coordinator General's and Premier's Departments in Queensland, and
subsequently as the principal of a Centre for Policy and Development Systems.
During the 1970s, his role in the Queensland's Government involved
participation in the
application of a systems development approach to public administrative machinery
that was being led by Sir Charles Barton. This involved what might now be called 'strategic management' methods being used to upgrade the ability of Queensland's government machinery to
deal effectively with then-current new priorities (ie regional development and
A 'systems' approach might simplistically be thought of as concerned with
the (often complex) relationships between things and with improving the
way in which problems are solved. A 'strategic management' approach (which can
be contrasted with centralized 'strategic planning') can simplistically be
thought of as identification of strategic goals and enabling grass roots
options to be developed to achieve them.
During this period he had the opportunity to learn something about regional
Queensland while acting in 1973 as Regional Coordinator for North
Queensland when regional planning machinery was being trialled, and to write a Master's thesis related to coordination in government in 1978.
From 1979 to 1982 three years were spent with the Snowy Mountains Engineering
Corporation on construction of the Wivenhoe Power Station.
During the 1980s, he was engaged in the Queensland Government on the
development of policy related to technological and economic development - and
applied a systems development approach, though this time in a market-economy
context. This included an opportunity to author
Towards a Strategy for Technological Development in Queensland in 1983 –
which was the first to describe Queensland’s challenges and opportunities in
shifting to a knowledge based economy and led to a brief role as Director of
Technology Policy (see also
Smart State: An Informal
History). He also contributed to the development (mainly by others) of
a theory of 'market facilitation' (which effectively combined the ideas of
competition policy with those of industry cluster development). He had the
opportunity to apply this theory in practice in several situations - in the form
of what could be called 'strategic market management' (in effect building a
project from the fence out by raising stakeholder awareness of, and seeking /
disseminating their ideas about, an opportunity). For example this approach was
used in concept development for a Cape York International Spaceport proposal
which resulted in the 'creation' of significant value for that extremely
unlikely project, and considerable international commercial interest. The method
was also applied in early concept development for a Trade Gateway role in the
Asia Pacific region for Brisbane. Involvement in concept development for
the Japan-sponsored Multifunction Polis project, which was to promote cultural
and technological interchange, provided an opportunity to study in depth the
intellectual basis for rapid East Asian economic development and compare that
with Western traditions (an effort that some apparently-informed observers
yielded significant results).
Through the Centre for Policy and Development Systems
(whose efforts are recorded on this web-site)
restoration of a professional
basis for Public Service has been advocated, as politicisation (ie
seeking a Public Service dominated by politically-compliant-rather-than-professionally-competent 'yes men')
escalated dramatically from 1989 and this proved damaging not only
to government effectiveness, but
Personal Impact of Whistle-blowing and Public Service
Politicization: He was excluded from all meaningful work at the close of the
National Party era in Queensland in the late 1980s after having blown the whistle on the influence
that ultranationalist Japanese organized crime seemed to be having on
Japan's and Queensland's economic (and political) affairs (see
Japan's Post-WWII Political and Economic Systems and
The Dark Side of
Japan in Australia). The criminal intelligence
groups in Queensland's then newly established Criminal Justice Commission
seemed to believe that his suggestions about gangs' local influence could
have substance (though they later advised informally that
different organized crime groups seemed to be be doing better
under the incoming administration and police and CJC leaders who
started taking a strong interest in organized crime in Queensland
did not retain their positions for long - see
Reform of Queensland Institutions or a Rising Tide of Public
He was then subject to an abuse of natural
justice under the incoming Goss administration - when an administrative
appeal endorsed the Department of Premier and Cabinet's refusal to allow
professional merit to be considered in a dispute about the process of
filling a senior policy R&D position (see
Seeking Natural Justice).
One observer saw this as a test case in relation to the Westminster
tradition of an independent professional Public Service (McDermott P.,
`Tenure of Senior Queensland Public Servants',
Australian Journal of Public Administration, March 1993).
That 1992 abuse of natural justice needs to be viewed in the context of the incoming
(and subsequent) administrations'
inexperience, out-of-date-ignorance and emphasis on consolidating their political
power rather than on the requirements of effective government (see
Towards Good Government in
Evidence of Dysfunctions, 2001+;
Queensland's Economic Strategy, 2002;
Reform of Queensland Institutions or a Rising Tide of Public Hypocrisy?,
2004+; Smart State:
Some Informal History, 2012; and
Accounting Tricks Make it Impossible to Know Queensland's Real Financial
Efforts have also been made to strengthen the ability of civil institutions to
(a) take a lead in identifying enterprising options for community or economic
development and (b) provide more modern and practical inputs to the democratic
In the mid 1990s, a book, Transforming the Tortoise: Improving Australia's
Place in the Economic Race, was published
presenting a systems approach to economic development which treated the latter
as a process of accelerating societal 'learning'. This work perhaps represents
a theoretically and
philosophically significant advance in understanding
of economic growth (ie it suggests that knowledge should not be simply seen as an
input to a production function as in 'new' economic growth theory, but also as a means for
changing the production function).
In the late 1990s he participated in, or critiqued, all state
and regional development economic strategies in Queensland (and the more
significant Australian national work). A detailed study was made of competition
policy, and its limitations in not developing the (often systemic) capabilities
required for successfully competing. Also significant state agencies were
facilitated in identifying the possible
development of a 'strategic intelligence' front-end on the Queensland
Government's planning processes (ie systematic efforts to collect
information about opportunities, threats and external changes that might
require agencies / Queensland to do different things in future). Under the
incoming Beattie Government in 1998, eliminating his
briefly-re-established public service role in the Coordinator General's
office without reasons or discussion again seemed to be a priority.
Building on study of the different intellectual foundations for economic
development in Western and East Asian societies, increased efforts have been made
from 2001 through the Centre for Policy and Development Systems to
explore issues related to the implications for global society of the potential
'clash of civilizations', including the war against terror and the global
financial crisis as manifestations of those unresolved tensions.
Detailed CV for John
Secondary Education at Church of England Grammar School (Brisbane). Senior
Examination (1963) with 7 A's. Initial tertiary education at University of
Queensland (Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) in 1967 with First Class Honours
and a University Medal). Master of Engineering Science from University of
Queensland (1978) with an interdisciplinary orientation. A thesis dealt with
methods for coordination of government planning based on Queensland's
experiences during the 1970s.
1964 - 1966: University vacation experience
- Main Roads Department (Queensland); Coffey and Hollingsworth (Soil
engineers); and Hydro-Electric Commission (Tasmania).
1968 and 1969: Army - National service, including war service in Vietnam in 1969.
1970 to 1978: Coordinator General’s Department
- Various engineering positions in the Coordinator General’s Department where a
systems approach was being used to develop the ability of the public sector to
respond to matters of then current critical concern such as regional
development, energy policy, disaster control and environmental management. This
involved the development of several mechanisms for regional and administrative
coordination (eg involving a position as Acting Regional Coordinator for North
Queensland in 19973/74), public works programming and study in depth of public
sector coordination and administration for a Master’s thesis.
1970 - 1972: Engineer, Coordinator General's Department. Diverse
research was undertaken relating to: siting for possible alternative airport
for Brisbane; State Capital Works Programs; beach profile data computer
systems; population modelling; Great Barrier Reef Commission investigations;
and planning information requirements.
1973 - 1975: Engineer, Coordinator General's Department. A leading
role was taken in establishing regional coordination arrangements in North
Queensland (Acting Regional Coordinator, North Queensland for 12 months);
stimulating and managing a consultative process for analysis of Northern
(Townsville) Region; organising (and at times Chairmanship) of Burdekin
Basin investigations. Support was provided to Coordinator General in:
negotiations leading to Aurukun Agreement Act; establishing State Disaster
Control arrangements; establishing warning systems for cyclone surges and
Brisbane River flooding; investigation of impact of Brisbane Tornado in
1974; and methods to relate capital works program to regional planning.
1976 - 1978: Executive Engineer, Coordinator General's Department.
Research was conducted into coordination processes in large scale
organisations such as government, touching on administrative, political,
economic, financial, regional, environmental, and social processes. The
result was a Master's thesis (1978). Research was also undertaking in
relation to: Standardisation of General Conditions of Contract; and a North
Australian Transcontinental Railway proposal. A computerised system for
Queensland's capital works program management was developed.
December 1978 - August 1979: Executive Engineer, Technical
Division, Coordinator General's Department. Research was undertaken
regarding: regional development at Pumicestone passage; and computer
modelling of Queensland's capital works subsidy scheme.
1979 - 1982: Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation
- On secondment for construction of Wivenhoe Hydro-electric Power Station. Acting
as Resident Engineer (Power Station) for a period during this time.
1982 to 1989: Coordinator General’s Department (later Premier’s
Department) - In various policy research and development positions concerning the application
of a systems development approach to economic issues. This involved research
related to policy for technological development, contributions to several
government economic strategies and participation in concept development for
proposals for developing Queensland’s economy such as the Japanese Multi
Function Polis and the Cape York International Spaceport.
September 1982 - June 1983: Executive Engineer, Project Assessment
Branch, Coordinator General's Department. Research directly for Coordinator
General on implications of national policy developments during 1970s
regarding possible new economic directions for Australia. A preliminary
approach to technological development was advanced.
July 1983 - April 1984: Executive Engineer, Special Services Group,
Premier's Department. Researched technological development issues, and
prepared a proposed Queensland strategy.
May 1984 - May 1985: Senior Planning Officer, Trade and Investment
Branch, Premier's Department. Research and liaison were undertaken regarding
requirements for success by elements of economic infrastructure such as:
innovation centres; and technology parks. The establishment of a Centre for
International Business at the University of Queensland was stimulated and
June 1985 - December 1985: Senior Executive Officer,
Inter-governmental Projects Branch, Premier's Department. Research and
liaison regarding: potential for economic growth based on innovation in
Queensland; requirements for venture capital machinery; implications of
deregulation; problems at the public / private sector interface; the need
for a broader policy capability in Premier's Department; economic role of
Brisbane; and problems to be expected with Victoria's economic strategy.
Participation in working party for the 1985 Task Force on Employment.
January 1986 - November 1986: Senior Engineer, Policy Studies
Branch, Premier's Department. Participated in production of an interim State
development strategy Queensland: Directions for Sustainable Growth,
and researched the implications of the strategic management approach it
suggested with particular reference to West German ordo-liberalism and
Japanese management methods. Participated in establishing concept
development and pre-feasibility studies for Cape York International
Spaceport proposal. Research was conducted into overall problem of reform
and development in Queensland.
December 1986 - December 1987: Director (Technology Policy Branch),
Policy Division, Premier's Department. Research was also conducted into:
economic history of Great Depression; requirements for sustainable economic
recovery; and regulatory reform (December 1987). Informal liaison was
established with many organisations regarding development of their roles
including: Chambers of Commerce; Royal Society; Queensland Confederation of
Industry; and Small Business Development Corporation.
December 1987 - September 1989: Principal Executive Officer, State
Economic Development Strategy Division. Initial concept development for
Japanese Multi-Function Polis (MFP) proposal as means for international
collaboration and economic development. Analysed issues involved in Western
societies understanding Japan, and research ways to enhance Australia's
strategic positioning in the Asia / Pacific region. Researched: the
requirement for a more effective economic strategy than Quality
Queensland; deficiencies in Queensland’s traditional project oriented
methods used for economic management; implications of quality management
methods education; upgrading Queensland's technological capabilities; and
government roles in economic recovery.
October 1989 - May 1992: Department of Premier, Economic and Trade
Development - Senior Executive Officer, Office of State Development, and in Economic and
Trade Development Division from August 1990. Researched various economic and
administrative development issues, and initiated concept development for a
trade Gateway role for Brisbane.
Research and liaison regarding: integration of various aspects of new
government's reform agenda; cultural development; requirements for effective
public sector change; and assessment of implication of the MFP proposal;
divisional organisational matters; micro-economic reform; pro-active
developmental roles for Chambers of Commerce; selection of regional
development objectives; achieving substantial outcomes from regional
development; and Gateway Port proposal for Brisbane.
May 1992 - June 1996: Centre for Policy and Development Systems -
Undertook research independently or on commission oriented to stimulating and
supporting organisations interested in administrative, economic or
Researched: the Queensland Government's economic strategy Leading State;
methods for forming more effective economic policy; industrial recruitment;
strategic concepts for corporate planning by entities at the Brisbane
Cultural Complex; a possible fast growth solution to unemployment; SEQ 2001;
the likely effectiveness of the Commonwealth's White paper Working Nation;
improved productivity as a better alternative to reduced public spending in
solving potential current account deficit constraints; proposals for
enhancing the effectiveness of government in Queensland in 1995; and SE
Queensland’s economic capabilities.
A book outlining conclusions over the previous decade research related to
economic development was completed and published: Transforming the Tortoise:
A Breakthrough to Improve Australia's Place in the Economic Race? (May
July 1996 - July 1998: Office of Coordinator General
- Research and development was undertaken on a large range of strategic issues
related to Queensland’s modernisation.
National Competition Policy and the need to enhance the
Queensland’s capabilities in its implementation and in operating in a
competitive environment; concern about competitiveness of electricity
enterprises; limitations in the proposals of the Queensland Commission of
Audit (which were also based on competition policy); and the need for more
than competition to ensure competitiveness.
Strategy: current practices for strategic planning in business and
government; current literature on economic development strategy; means to
enhance the effectiveness of various regional economic development
strategies (especially in Southern Inland Queensland and SE Queensland; and
the Rural and Regional Development strategy); and suggestions in relation to
the State Strategic Plan / State Economic Development Strategy etc;
Public administration: the Victorian model of a ‘contract’ state;
the need for concern with outcomes rather than for accountability;
competitive service delivery; the proposed Management Framework for the
Queensland Public Service; Chief Executive Performance Contracts; leadership
development; role of the Office of Coordinator General; non financial
performance indicators; and Managing for Outcomes.
Infrastructure: the complexities of infrastructure provision in a
competitive environment, and the need for further development of the policy
framework (eg to allow private leadership of partnerships).
Economic Development: the emerging pressure for ‘industry policy’
as a means to enhance competitiveness; corporate headquarters in Queensland;
the ‘new’ American economy; Treasury draft position paper on Economic Growth
and Development; means to assess the ‘development’ of a state or regional
economy; limitations of micro-economics in ensuring competitiveness (ie the
business strategist’s viewpoint); knowledge (replacing capital) as the key
factor in productivity; knowledge management; enterprise education;
marketing Queensland in an international arena; using major investments as a
catalyst for development of the economy; liaison with the Institution of
Engineers regarding engineers scope for leading economic development and the
creation of an Engineering Enterprise Development Centre; and liaison with
groups interested in an Enterprise Development Network in Queensland.
Scenario analysis: study of methods of analysis and of prior work
in developing future scenarios in Australia; analysis of current Queensland
practices for analysis of emerging trends; convening an IDC on the Preparing
for the Future project; and collection of data relevant to several major
issues which could be the subject of ‘whole of government’ analysis.
Other: the trend towards adjustment of GDP as a measure of
community welfare to account for social and environmental factors;
differences in East Asian and Western styles of market economy’s; pressure
for ‘greenhouse’ gas emission constraints; ‘The Revolt of the Elites’ and
the trend towards populist policy; the implications of the ‘One Nation’
phenomenon’; the link between social and economic policy in Queensland; the
potential for a new oil crisis; the effect of the Asian financial crisis;
and analysis of structural changes in financial markets in USA.
August 1998 - present: Centre for Policy and Development Systems
- Most CPDS activities can be readily identified through the
CPDS web-site. Other minor research activities included: development of an institutional
architecture to enable accelerated development of economic capabilities for
a major sub-regional complex near Brisbane; provision of technical support
to groups interested in community and economic development in rural areas.