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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 Medal.

He worked 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 environmental management). 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 suggest yielded significant results - eg it was seen to be on 'the leading edge of the social sciences' by Professor Chalmers Johnson a US expert on Japan's rapid industrial development).

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 also personally.

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 Establishing 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 Goss administration). However 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 Hypocrisy?).

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 Queensland,1996; 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 Position, 2015).

In 1998 his  public service position (which had been  temporally re-established in1996) was again terminated by the incoming Beattie administration (again without discussion of explanation) with all the speed that its obvious importance to the former Goss Government justified.

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 political process.

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 Craig


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 supported.

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 organisational development.

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 1993).

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.