Book Launch: How Government Experts Self-Sabotage (ANU Press, 2022)

Presented by ANU College of Science

"The ANU Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS) is pleased to invite you to the official book launch of How Government Experts Self-Sabotage: The Language of the Rebuffed (ANU Press, 2022) by Christiane Gerblinger."


About the event

The book will be introduced by Professor Joan Leach (Director, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science) and launched by Professor Anne Tiernan (Griffith Business School).

It analyses how Australian policy advisers communicate when executing one of their core roles: supporting the government as it delivers its policy agendas and priorities. 

Its premise is simple: after official policy advice to governments is publicly released, governments are often accused of ignoring or rejecting their experts. Commonly represented as politicisation, this depiction is superficial. Digging deeper, is there something about the official advice itself that makes it easy to ignore?

Instead of lamenting a demise of expertise, Christiane asks: does the expert advice of policy officials feature characteristics that invite its government audience to overlook or misread it? To answer this question, Gerblinger critically examines official policy advice and finds the language of the rebuffed: government experts reluctant to disclose what they know so as to accommodate political circumstances. She argues that this language evades stable meaning and diminishes the democratic right of citizens to scrutinise the work of government.

Download your own copy for free and learn more at


About the author

Christiane Gerblinger is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University in Canberra. An alum of Australia's prestigious Sir Roland Wilson scholarship, Christiane completed a PhD on the language of rejected policy advice in 2021 (which was nominated for a JG Crawford prize in 2022 as an outstanding ANU research thesis), a PhD in Gothic science fiction in 2000, and a BA (Hons) in literature in 1995. In between, she worked in a range of public sector roles (including as a senior policy adviser on counter-proliferation, data, energy, health and rural policy and as a speechwriter in an economic portfolio), and has continued working in communication-related government roles.



Date and Times


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