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Whatever Happened to Frank and Fearless?

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ISBN: 9781921313929 Year: DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_459790 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:24
License: ANU Press

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In this evidence-based and closely argued work, Kathy MacDermott plots the changes in the culture of the Australian Public Service that have led many contemporary commentators to lament the purported loss of traditional public service values of impartiality, intellectual rigour and — most importantly — the willingness of public servants at all levels to offer frank and fearless advice to their superiors and their ministers. MacDermott brings to her analysis an insider’s sensibility and a thorough forensic analysis of the impact of some 20 years of relentless administrative ‘reform’ on the values and behaviour of the APS. Although this story has its beginnings in the Hawke-Keating eras, MacDermott convincingly argues that structural and cultural change compromising the integrity of the public service reached its apogee towards the end of the eleven years of the Howard government. This is a ‘must read’ for students of Australian political and administrative history. MacDermott offers cautionary observations that the new national government might do well to heed.

The Seven Dwarfs and the Age of the Mandarins: Australian Government Administration in the Post-War Reconstruction Era

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ISBN: 9781925022322 Year: Pages: 246 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_574034 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2015-08-27 11:01:18
License: ANU Press

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In the history and folklore of Australia’s Commonwealth Public Service, the idea of the ‘Seven Dwarfs’ has been remarkably persistent. Originally a witty epithet applied to a powerful group of senior public servants, the term has come to represent the professionalisation of Australian government administration during the Second World War and post-war reconstruction era, and into the following two decades of expansion. This was a period when, for the first time, talented university graduates entered the public service, rose to senior levels, and exerted great influence over the affairs of the Commonwealth. With the secure tenure of being permanent heads of departments, they defined the age of the public service mandarin. This book explores the lives and influence of the Seven Dwarfs and their colleagues, bringing together the leading researchers on post-war Australian administration. Featuring four thematic chapters and ten biographical portraits, it offers a fascinating insight into the workings of the Commonwealth Public Service during a critical period in its history.

Managing Under Austerity, Delivering Under Pressure

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ISBN: 9781925022667 Year: DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_588796 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Business and Management --- Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-12 11:01:24
License: ANU Press

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Contemporary public managers find themselves under pressure on many fronts. Coming off a sustained period of growth in their funding and some complacency about their performance, they now face an environment of ferocious competitiveness abroad and austerity at home. Public managers across Australia and New Zealand are finding themselves wrestling with expenditure reduction, a smaller public sector overall, sustained demands for productivity improvement, and the imperative to think differently about the optimal distribution of responsibilities between states, markets and citizens. Given ever-shrinking resources, in terms of staffing, budgets and time, how can public managers and public services become more productive, more outcome-driven and more agile? How can we achieve better alignment between ever-growing citizen expectations and the realities of constrained service provision? What can we learn from the best combination of innovation and austerity already being delivered in other countries and sectors, including harnessing the grounded wisdom of frontline service delivery practitioners? This book focuses on practical ways public managers at home and abroad are dealing with these shared dilemmas. It brings together renowned scholars in the fields of public sector productivity, performance management, ‘frugal innovation’ and budget stringency, with leading international and Australasian practitioners sharing their successes and challenges.

With the benefit of hindsight: Valedictory reflections from departmental secretaries, 2004-11

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ISBN: 9781921862748 Year: Pages: 193 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_459792 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Sociology
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:25
License: ANU Press

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Secretaries of government departments in Australia are the bureaucratic leaders of their generation. They are ambitious, highly-talented executives who have risen to the very pinnacle of their chosen vocation – public service to the Australian nation – usually after having spent most, if not all, of their professional careers dedicated to the public service. They serve governments as their top advisers and in policy terms are often some of the most important decision-makers in the country. This collection brings together the valedictory speeches and essays from a departing group of secretaries (and one or two other equivalent agency heads) who left the Australian Public Service between 2004 and 2011. Over this period of time it gradually became accepted that departing secretaries and heads of significant agencies would present a valedictory address to their peers at a public farewell function. The first two speeches in this collection were initiated informally and given at functions organised by their agencies; in 2005 the process was formalised with the Australian Public Service Commission acting as organiser. These contributions contain reflections, commentaries, occasional fond memories or key turning-points in careers, critiques of changes that have occurred and an outline of the remaining challenges their successors will face as the public administrators of tomorrow. From the outset it is clear that there is no uniform message, no single narrative levelled either in praise or in criticism, other than pride in the public service and strong belief in the contribution it makes to the Australian community. They have their own personal ‘takes’ on how the public service looks to them, on its performance and on the challenges confronting public administration into the future. Most spend some time looking back, reflecting on the extent of change that has occurred over the length of their careers; but equally importantly they look forward, anticipating future policy dilemmas and capacity challenges.

Australian Department Heads Under Howard

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ISBN: 9781920942830 Year: Pages: 136 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_458817 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Sociology --- Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2014-01-27 08:27:11
License: ANU Press

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Politics and government; Civil service; Australia

Reluctant Representatives

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ISBN: 9781760460327 Year: DOI: 10.22459/CAEPR37.11.2016 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Political Science --- Sociology --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-12-29 13:23:29
License: ANU Press

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‘How can you make decisions about Aboriginal people when you can’t even talk to the people you’ve got here that are blackfellas?’ So ‘Sarah’, a senior Aboriginal public servant, imagines a conversation with the Northern Territory Public Service. Her question suggests tensions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have accepted the long-standing invitation to join the ranks of the public service. Reluctant Representatives gives us a rare glimpse into the working world of the individuals behind the Indigenous public sector employment statistics. This empathetic exposé of the challenges of representative bureaucracy draws on interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who have tried making it work. Through Ganter’s engaging narration, we learn that the mere presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the public service is not enough. If bureaucracies are to represent the communities they serve, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants need to be heard and need to know their people are heard.

Defence Policy-Making: A Close-Up View, 1950-1980

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ISBN: 9781921313868 Year: Pages: 149 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_458938 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:24
License: ANU Press

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Sir Arthur Tange was perhaps the most powerful Secretary of the Australian Defence Department and one of the most powerful of the great ‘mandarins’ who dominated the Commonwealth Public Service between the 1940s and the 1970s. His strong, and often decisive, influence on both administration and policy was exerted by virtue of his intellectual capacity, his administrative ability and the sheer force of his personality. Controversies from his time in Defence, including those associated with ‘the Tange report’ and ‘the Tange reforms’, echo to this day, and it is still easy to identify both staunch admirers and vitriolic critics in defence and public service circles. Tange wrote this account in his last years. It is a memoir – based largely on memory supplemented by limited reference to documentary material – that focuses upon his career after he came to Defence in 1970. It records his own account of his part in those administrative reforms and policy shifts, as well as his involvement-or non-involvement or alleged involvement-in several of the political crises of the 1970s, including the downfall of John Gorton as Prime Minister and the dismissal of the Whitlam Government.

Public Sector Employment in the 21st Century

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ISBN: 9781920942618 Year: Pages: 331 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_459475 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Law --- Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:24
License: ANU Press

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This book addresses the transformations which have occurred in employment arrangements and practices in the Australian public sector over the past decade and the changes in responsibilities and accountability through employment contracts, whistleblower legislation and partnerships between government and the private sector. It provides a comparative context through studies of reconstruction of the public service in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Themes of contractualisation, privatisation and outsourcing are explored and critically examined, as well as influences of the industrial relations legislative framework including the Work Choices legislation.

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