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  • Law and justice sector reform in the Pacific: How can Australia adapt its assistance to specific local contexts?

Law and justice sector reform in the Pacific: How can Australia adapt its assistance to specific local contexts?

  • 29 Apr 2010
  • 5:45 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Spender Theatre, Australian Defence College, Weston Creek ACT


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Abby McLeod, Coordinator Policy & Governance, Australian Federal Police (AFP)

It is widely recognised that there is no one size fits all response to state building challenges in weak and fragile states. A key lesson identified by external parties to state building is that external support must be adapted to suit specific local contexts.  Dr McLeod discusses the challenge of translating this lesson in to improved practice, with a particular focus upon law and justice sector reform in the Pacific. In considering this challenge, she will reflect upon her experiences as an anthropologist and policy maker, highlighting the complex relationship between specialist knowledge and public policy. 

Abby McLeod graduated with a PhD in anthropology from the University of Qld in 2003. Her thesis, entitled Contesting Violence: State and Simbu Approaches to Law and Order in Papua New Guinea, was based upon extensive field work in both remote, rural PNG and urban settlements in Port Moresby. Abby gained a post doctoral fellowship with the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Project at the ANU, where she worked for five years. Abby has published widely on law and justice sector reform, conflict and gender based violence in the Pacific, with an emphasis upon Melanesia.  She has worked as a consultant in PNG and Vanuatu, with her most challenging role having being that of gender adviser to the Royal PNG Constabulary.

In 2007, Abby joined the AFP as a specialist adviser, working within the Design and Evaluation portfolio of the International Deployment Group. In her role as specialist adviser, Abby provides strategic advice on the Pacific to the executive and has led the design of several police capacity development programs, including programs in PNG and Samoa.

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