Professor Steve Dovers gives this talk as part of the Vice-Chancellor's Public Lecture Series. The talk it entitled 'Politics, public policy and a noisy environment', and was recorded at The Australian National University on Tuesday 18 September 2012. The Australian environment challenged European comprehension. As we see through what we first perceived as confusing noise, we increasingly appreciate its intriguing complexity and are amazed by the clever ways in which our flora and fauna co-exist, adapt and thrive in an environment of variability and change. Few would make such a positive, nuanced judgement about contemporary Australian politics and policy, so dominated by crude noise that long-term, strategic adaptation to a complex, changing world seems a dismal struggle.Professor Dovers proposes that we can learn from the Australian environment, to inform better politics and public policy. In the 1990s he coined the term 'policy ad hocery and amnesia', but likes to think that we can do better. He suggests possible reforms to political practice, public policy and administration, research funding and public and media behaviour.Professor Dovers is an ANU Public Policy Fellow, Director of the Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU, Adjunct Professorial Fellow at Charles Darwin University, Co-convenor of the National Institute for Rural and Regional Australia and a member of the convening group of the State of Australian Cities Research Network. His publications include the books 'Environment and sustainability policy' and the 'Handbook of disaster and emergency institutions and policies'. He is Associate Editor of the journals Environmental Science and Policy and the Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, and a member of the editorial boards of Global Environmental Change and Local Environments. His recent policy engagement includes service on the National Wildlife Corridors Advisory Group and the Board of the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network.