Christiane joined the Treasury as a speechwriter in 2012. Before that, she worked across a range of areas in the APS, from analysing financial intelligence to providing advice on counter-proliferation, energy, health and rural policy. Along the way, and partly as a result of completing her first PhD in film and literature in 2000, Christiane continued to critically analyse discourse—but, instead of closely reading literary texts, her attention turned to analysing how public policy is communicated to governments and the public.
Christiane's Sir Roland Wilson thesis examined the language of rejected policy advice, with a focus on how policy knowledge is constructed inside public administrations and communicated to governments during controversy. Her analysis drew on three Australian policy case studies: the taxation of investment properties, the role of renewables in the national energy mix, and the Iraq war. A gap in methods with which to dissect the phenomenon of rebuffed language led her to construct a new framework informed by rhetorical, organisational and comparative analyses. She uncovered three different language typologies that: fixated on one strand of enquiry but sidestepped wider context; expunged complexity, thereby imparting an appearance of certainty and solid evidence; and routinely raised the presence of uncertainty, leaving advice unusable as evidence. When publicly released, the advice accompanying each proved problematic as means with which to account for political decisions. Her thesis returned outstanding examiners’ reports due to its unique contribution to political science, public administration, intelligence and policy studies, and communication.
Christiane returned to the APS in 2020 and is now a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science in ANU's College of Science.