“Taking minutes and wasting years: reviewing the Australian Public Service”
Jim Carlton was closely involved in establishment of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, just one of his many contributions to high-level policy advice and skilled administration.
The Australian Public Service Jim Carlton knew and valued has changed much over the past decade, its progress tracked by a series of reviews. These have pointed to a number of challenges to public administration, from concerns about integrity and job security to worry about loss of policy capacity, the ascendancy of consultants over internal advice, and a drift of authority from public servants to ministerial staff.
In the 2021 Jim Carlton Annual Integrity Lecture, Professor Glyn Davis AC asks what these reviews, and decisions taken in response, tell us about contemporary governance in Australia. It explores the rationale of Prime Minister Morrison to reject key findings of the Thodey review and speculates on the long-run consequences of changes now shaping the Australian Public Service.
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Glyn Davis is chief executive of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, Australia’s largest philanthropic foundation. The Foundation seeks to break the cycle of disadvantage, with a particular focus on young people facing inter-generational poverty. Earlier this year he published On Life’s Lottery (Hachette, 2021), a reflection on inequality in Australia.
In previous roles, while a professor of political science, Glyn has worked in both government and universities, including time as Director-General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Queensland and as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne. He delivered the Boyer Lectures in 2010 and published The Australian Idea of A University (MUP, 2017).
This lecture will draw on his recent experience as a member of the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service, commissioned by Prime Minister Turnbull and reporting in 2019 as Our Public Service Our Future.
This event is a collaboration between the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies and the Accountability Round Table.