Latest Book: Environmental Activism and the  Media: the Politics of Protest (Peter Lang Academic, NY)

Profile: Dr Maxine Newlands (BA (Hons), MA, PhD, FHEA) is political scientist with expertise in governance, policy, regulation, communication, and regional Queensland politics. Maxine is a multidisciplinary social science scholar working within the Great Barrier Reef and international marine environments on governance, politics, and communication/media. Maxine also works with colleagues in Papua New Guinea on gender politics and climate change in the Pacific region.

Dr Maxine Newlands provides advice to government ; and a core member of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program.

Maxine’s most recent plenary presentations can be viewed at:

Before entering academia, Maxine was a broadcast journalist with the BBC and commercial radio in the UK. She continues to write for the Ecologist magazine and The Conversation. Maxine is regular political commentator for ABC News, BBC, SBS, CNN, WIN TV, Ch7, ABC RN, ABC News Radio, local and national newspapers including the Townsville Bulletin, Australian Financial Times, Australian Geographic and other media outlets.

Current research projects include

  • Chief Investigator –Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP) in Stakeholder Engagement and Regulation, for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (administered by Australian Institute of Marine Science)
  • Chief Investigator- Regulatory and Permitting Planning for RRAP Program for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Reef Trust Partnership (administered by University of Queensland).

Previous research roles includes

Maxine is a Research Associate at the University of Queensland's Centre for Policy Futures, a JCU/TropWater member, and Research Fellow at the Cairns Institute.

Postgraduate (PhD, MA) or Honours inquiries: Maxine currently supervises five fulltime postgraduate candidates. If you are interested in studying for a Master or PhD with Maxine, she specialises in the following areas:

Environmental governance and climate change

  • Reefs, governance, and policy.
  • Great Barrier Reef and communication practices.
  • The role of advocacy and the media in environmental governance and policy.
  • Coral Reef Restoration

 Social Network Analysis

  • Social media analysis
  • Political communication
  • Environmental communication
  • Discourse and Critical Discourse Analysis

Maxine is also interested in supervising studies on the politics of gender representation in the developing world with a focus on the Pacific region.

Please contact Maxine or the JCU Graduate Research School for further information. Honours studies can start in either February or August.

Interviews and commentary in the media (most recent)

 See google news for more media commentary with Maxine.

 Community Engagement


  • PL1001: The Political World: An Introduction to Political Science (Level 1; TSV)
  • PL2006: Political Communication in the Global Environment (Level 2; TSV)
  • PL3003: Democracy and the State (Level 3; TSV)
  • PL4002: Theory and Method in Political Science (Level 4; CNS & TSV)
  • Maxine was the Project Manager and lead investigator for the Townsville 150 Old and the News exhibition (Feb 2016 - Jan 2017) at the Museum of Tropical Queensland.
  • Maxine is interested in social media analysis, social netwrok analysis and discourse analysis. She has conducted consultation work for the Bureau of Meteorology on best practice for social media strategies. Please contact Maxine to discuss consultation works.
  • Maxine's research focuses -Political Ecology -Political Communciation -Environmental journalism -environmental politics and governance - radical politics and protest movements ; and Media discourse and the Great Barrier Reef. - Gender disparity in the developing world. Maxine's methodological approaches centers on critical discourse analysis, discourse analysis, focus groups, content analysis and empirical research. Maxine's monograph 'Environmental Activism and the Media: the Politics of Protest' (Peter Lang Publishers, forthcoming)
  • 2015 to 2022 - Research Fellow, Cairns Institute (Cairns, Qld.)
  • 2016 to 2018 - Editor (Reviews), Journal of Environmental Education (Aus.)
  • 2015 - Visiting Academic, National University of Samoa (Apia, Samoa)
  • 2010 to 2014 - Fellow, London East Research Institue (London, UK)
Research Disciplines
  • 2017 - 3 Minute Thesis: Early Career Researcher. JCU/ DTES Runner up
  • 2016 - TropEco Leadership & Governance - Highly Commended for EfECC Symposium.
  • 2014 - TROPECO - Research Award Highly Commended for outstanding research activities that contributes to a more sustainable society and environment.
  • 2014 - Overall Winner - TROPECO Excellence award for Outstanding contribution to sustainability at JCU and in the wider community
  • 2016 to 2017 - Scholarship- Australian Higher Education Sector Leadership Colloquium; Australian School of Applied Management.
  • 2016 - New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant ($110,000) over two years, working with colleagues in Samoa.
  • 2014 - Winner: Division of Tropical Environment & Societies Three Minute Thesis Competition ECR category
  • 2010 - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.
  • 2018 to 2023 - Research Associate at the University of Queensland's Centre for Policy Futures
  • 2015 to 2018 - Visiting Fellow, Media and Journalism, National University of Samoa
  • 2010 to 2014 - London East Research Institute (LERI)
  • 2018 - International Political Science Association (IPSA)
  • 2018 - Australian Coral Reef Society
  • 2018 - Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) and APSA Environmental Politics and Policy Standing Research Group.
  • 2018 - Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA)

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 53+ research outputs authored by Dr Maxine Newlands from 2008 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMReP) - Contract Research

Great Barrier Reef stewardship classification review

Indicative Funding
This project aims to conduct a systematic review that will led to a classification system for understanding ?stewardship? and how to evaluate outcomes of ?stewardship activities? in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Maxine Newlands (College of Arts and Society & Education)
Stewardship; Management; Governance; Marine Parks; Human; Etymology

Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia - Research Grant

How has journalistic practice shaped public knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef: A discourse analysis of the media clippings 2003-2018

Indicative Funding
The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a national and global icon, yet only in the past five years have journalism scholars (c.f Lester and Foxwell-Norton (2018), Lankaster, Newlands, Bohenski, (2015 & 2020); Lloyd, Newlands, Petray, (2014;) begun to study the media reporting of GBR related issues. The decline of the GBR?s health in 2016/17 from back-to-back bleaching means there is a growing sense of urgency to better understand the journalistic practices of how such events and wider issues (such as mining and port expansions) frames Australia?s cultural understanding of this endangered ecosystem. This project with the digitalising of newspapers archives will benefit current and future journalism scholars and educators, add to an emerging field, and contribute towards better public understanding of what drives our understand of the GBR especially during and after catastrophic events such as bleaching.
Maxine Newlands (College of Arts and Society & Education)
Journalism; Barrier Reef; Governance; Marine Parks; Central Queensland; Discourse

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Reef Trust Partnership

Regulatory and Permitting Planning for RRAP Program

Indicative Funding
$27,000 (administered by University of Queensland)
The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program brings together Australia?s leading experts to help preserve and restore the Great Barrier Reef. RRAP is a long-term research project to investigate the best science and technology options to help the Great Barrier Reef resist, repair and recover. This project focuses on research with RRAP scientists and regulators; in regulator and policy research space.
Maxine Newlands (College of Arts and Society & Education)
Barrier Reef; Restoration; Governance; Regulation; Adaptation

Department of Industry - Contract Research

Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program Design Phase

Indicative Funding
$286,500 over 2 years (administered by AIMS)
The RRAP Design Phase seeks to deliver a business case for government, industry and private investment, the primary objective of which is to develop reef restoration and adaptation technologies that can be applied at scale, within affordability and practicality limits, to retain key functional attributes of the Great Barrier Reef. This project will contribute JCU expertise to evaluating coral restoration methods, undertaking regulatory and institutional environment mapping required for restoration to occur and an analysis of the viewpoints and engagement of stakeholders in reef restoration.
Ian McLeod, Maxine Newlands and Stewart Lockie (TropWATER, College of Arts, Society & Education and Cairns Institute)
Great Barrier Reef; Reef Restoration

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Defining Nannagogy: Investigating Older Women’s Environmental Citizenship Learning through the Experiences of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Investigating corruption in Papua New Guinea through the patron-client structure: The citizens' perception (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • When do Scientists become Advocates? The Blurred line between Science and Advocacy and the Role of Social Media (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Living Nature: Western Thinking and the Experience of Nature in the United States and in Australia in the 21st Century (PhD , Primary Advisor)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit the JCU Research Data Catalogue.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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  • 4.104, Social Sciences (Townsville campus)
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