Anne Tiernan

Anne Tiernan

Dr Anne Tiernan is a leading Australian scholar in public policy. Her career spans higher education, federal and state government, consultancy and teaching. Now managing director of mission-led consultancy firm Constellation Impact Advisory, Anne consults regularly to organisations committed to purpose and positive impact. She has written extensively on the political–administrative interface, governmental transitions, policy capacity and executive advisory arrangements. Her publications include The Oxford Handbook of Australian Politics (co-edited with Professor Jenny Lewis, 2021), Lessons in Governing: A Profile of Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff and The Gatekeepers: Lessons from Prime Ministers’ Chiefs of Staff (both with RAW Rhodes, Melbourne University Publishing, 2014), Learning to be a Minister: Heroic Expectations, Practical Realities (with Patrick Weller, Melbourne University Press, 2010) and Power Without Responsibility: Ministerial Staffers in Australian Governments from Whitlam to Howard (UNSW Press, 2007).

Dr Tiernan is a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). An Adjunct Professor with Griffith University, and previously a member of the university’s senior leadership team, Anne served as inaugural Dean (Engagement) of the Griffith Business School, where she led development of the Group’s internationally acknowledged Engagement Strategy and operating model.


Active citizens, constructive answers

EssayIN THE DAYS after Labor’s unexpected defeat at the May 2019 federal election, a social media storm raged. ‘What the hell is wrong with Queensland?’ was a common starting point ahead of calls for the state to be excised...

Beyond the nadir of political leadership

EssaySHORTLY AFTER SEIZING the prime ministership in September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull told reporters covering their third leadership coup against a sitting Australian prime minister in five years that the culture of his administration would be ‘consultative’. He promised his...

Power, populism and principles

GR OnlineAs someone with lived experience of a regime so consumed by its determination to cling to power, a regime unconcerned about and unmoored from principle or a raison d’être beyond its own survival, I've found the past three years chilling and shocking in equal measure.


GR OnlineSecrecy, a lack of accountability and lack of restraint breed incompetence and failure, creating a vicious cycle both for institutions and the public’s faith in them. And yet these are the hallmarks of how executive governance is now practised by populist leaders, including in the UK and Australia.


GR OnlineAmid the posturing and tumult shone three moments of clarity that highlighted the gulf between cynical efforts to divide Australians and the leadership needed to bind the nation together at a time of unprecedented uncertainty and challenge. Each revealed the potential to rediscover and reconnect with the ‘holding centre’ that has defined Australian politics...


GR OnlineCharacter matters in all facets of our lives, but seldom is it more consequential than in politics and political leadership. Even before the rise of Donald Trump, there was a widespread consensus in American politics that presidential character was just as important as intellect, organisational and policy capacity, media and presentational skills, and a vision for the nation’s future.

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