This chapter examines the history of guardianship in Australia and the role of values and participation in Australian guardianship laws. The chapter postulates that there are three generations of Australian guardianship laws, the most recent of which is specifically designed around the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The implementation of that convention has been haphazard, but the chapter argues that guardianship authorities have, in the absence of clear legislative adoption, created policy frameworks that incorporate and promote the will and preferences of the person under guardianship. This suggests that in Australia policies and guidelines are as important as formal laws for ensuring that the will and preference of people with disabilities are given paramountcy in decision making.
Using data from the Department of Health funded study ‘Making the most of policy evaluations’, this paper explores the views of those working within the policy process about the role of evidence. It highlights a tension between formative and summative uses of research, which appeared to be exacerbated by a lack of clarity surrounding the objectives that policy leads had for the research. Additionally, the data reveal an uncertainty about the status of ‘pathfinder’, ‘demonstration’ and ‘pilot’ sites within the policy process.