Chair of Discipline of Government and International Relations, Associate Professor Anna Boucher has been awarded the Marian Simms Policy Engagement Award by the Australian Political Studies Association in recognition of her innovation and creativity in research impact and policy engagement in public debate and public policy. Anna is both a staff member of the University and alumna (BA, Medal, LLB, 1, Commonwealth Scholar, LSE).
Anna’s research in the areas of outward and inward immigration, diversity in skilled immigration selection policy, and labour market exploitation of migrants have informed public administration practice and outcomes across the Australian Federal Government.
“Research of this nature is naturally collaborative,” said Anna. “I'm grateful to the co-authors, students, lawyers, barristers, government officials and colleagues who have given me feedback, insights, reflections, and in the case of the University of Sydney and the Australian Research Council, funding, to do this engagement-orientated research work over the last decade.”
Her book, Patterns of Exploitation: Understanding Migrant Worker Rights in Advanced Democracies (Oxford University Press: New York), generated an original dataset, The Migrant Worker Rights Dataset, which was used to provide expert testimony before the Senate Standing Committee on Economics Review of Unlawful Underpayment of Employee Remuneration in 2021 and was discussed and cited at length in the Committee’s report to Parliament.
Anna also provides annual advice on immigration issues to several public service departments and government officials, including forming part of the Australian delegation to APEC in Chile, where she was flown by the APS and advised the all-nations meeting on gender statistics in immigration. She has also been appointed as an expert on the advisory panel of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner of NSW, Dr James Cockayne, where she advises on the relationship between modern slavery and immigration issues in NSW among other topics.
Globally, her work for the Horn of Africa extends this research to gender-based skills and education in Africa, particularly the gendered plight of asylum seekers and refugees. And earlier this year the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrant Rights, Jose Gonzalez Morales, requested Anna’s secondment to work alongside him to write a report on migrant rights for the United Nations General Assembly.
In light of her extensive work in this field, this week she was elected Vice President of the Australian Institute of Employment Rights, a tripartite body that promotes recognition and implementation of employment rights between business, union and independent bodies. Her future research hopes to consider labour exploitation and the lived experience of all Australian workers in collaboration with governments and workers themselves.