Christiane Gerblinger

Christiane Gerblinger is a Visiting Fellow and graduate co-convenor of ‘Science, Technology and Public Policy’ 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, 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.


How Government Experts Self-Sabotage »

The Language of the Rebuffed

Authored by: Christiane Gerblinger
Publication date: December 2022
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 Gerblinger 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.