Articles on Public service

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What’s in the Turnbull government’s first budget for cities, defence, social services, the ABC and more? AAP/Lukas Coch

Federal budget 2016: political experts react

On reform, the 2016-17 budget is a holding one, with tinkering on the sides.
An upbeat Pravin Gordhan, South Africa’s finance minister (left) arrives to deliver his 2016 budget address to parliament in Cape Town. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

South Africa budget 2016: nifty political footwork may not be enough

Cutting the bloated public service wage bill, as the finance minister is doing, is critically important economically. But it is sure to be unpopular with the governing ANC's powerful labour allies.
Outgoing education department secretary Lisa Paul had been a departmental secretary since 2004. AAP/Mark Graham

Education department secretary Lisa Paul quits

The top of the public service is undergoing an extensive shake-up as a result of both the change of prime minister and personal decisions.
One of Tony Abbott’s first acts on coming to office was to remove Martin Parkinson (left) as Treasury secretary. AAP/Saeed Khan

Review: Political Amnesia – How We Forgot How To Govern

Debate, serious discussion and deliberation are valued highly in a democracy not just for their own sake, but because they are considered essential to testing the quality of ideas and arguments.
Martin Parkinson is expected to be announced as the new head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, replacing Michael Thawley. Roger Phillips/QUT

Martin Parkinson has last laugh over Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin

The yet-to-be-announced appointment of former treasury secretary Martin Parkinson to head the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is a tale of justice restored, with a touch of Gilbert and Sullivan…
The secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Michael Thawley, wants the public service to open its doors to the outside world. Lukas Coch/AAP

Message to government: better media access to the public service wouldn’t be so scary

Michael Thawley, surprised at finding so many closed doors – requiring swipe cards – when he became secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, has now opened most of the internal ones…
The Union Buildings in Pretoria, home to South Africa’s government. Public confidence in civil servants has been severely eroded. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

South Africa needs a professional civil service

Political factors have played a disproportionate role in decisions on the promotion, transfer and performance assessments of government officials.
When Treasurer Joe Hockey presents the budget next week it will be worth reviewing the language he and Prime Minister Tony Abbott use about government spending. Lukas Coch/AAP

Busting the myth that Australia has ‘big government’

Despite the rhetoric that Australia needs to reign in government spending, we're actually out of step with other developed economies.
Clive Palmer was totally opposed to the government’s “direct action” climate policy only a few months ago. Now he’s voting for it. AAP/Alan Porritt

Grattan on Friday: Abbott government gets some wins – and gives the odd hostage to the future

In a move that channels John Howard, Tony Abbott has put changing the GST on the political agenda, just over a year after assuring the public it would not be altered, “full stop, end of story”. In the…
In the 27 years since the Hawke government came up with a public service efficiency dividend, the evidence has mounted against it. National Archives of Australia

Getting more bang for public bucks: is the ‘efficiency dividend’ efficient?

Every now and again in public policy debates a consensus emerges on some particular point among policymakers, stakeholders and commentators. These moments are distressingly rare. It is even more distressing…
Australia’s public service broadly lacks in a number of key areas that are necessary for the Abbott government’s vision of a small government to become a reality. AAP/Alan Porritt

What skills does a ‘smaller’ government need?

The 2014-15 federal budget, released by treasurer Joe Hockey earlier this week, set out a vision of government that is leaner, meaner and more efficient. It built on the Coalition’s “Smaller Government…
Successive governments of both sides have failed to answer the fundamental questions of what it is that government should actually do and how it should go about doing it. AAP/Lukas Coch

Federal budget 2014: the road to a lean, mean government

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first federal budget set out a vision of a smaller, less intrusive role for government. The sentiment can hardly be a surprise; prime minister Tony Abbott has long championed the…
Treasurer Joe Hockey and finance minister Mathias Cormann face a difficult sell for the Abbott government’s tough first budget. AAP/Alan Porritt

Federal budget 2014: political experts react

The Abbott government is hoping an A$11.6 billion infrastructure spending package, combined with a $20 billion medical research fund, will help soften the blow of widespread tightening of health and welfare…
A report criticising government oversight of a major Gladstone harbour dredging project has warned against cutting resources for environmental monitoring and compliance. Flickr/GreensMPs

Environmental job cuts risk a repeat of Gladstone failures

A long-awaited report on environmental failures at the biggest port along the Great Barrier Reef coastline and today’s federal budget may not seem connected – but if you read the report, it’s clear just…
The Commission of Audit, led by Tony Shepherd, has recommended radical changes to the way we do government in Australia. AAP/Lukas Coch

We need a leaner, meaner public service: Commission of Audit

The Commission of Audit’s report, released yesterday, sets out a radical blueprint for the role of government, the scope of its activities and how it goes about getting things done. For the most part there…
A 2% rise next year instead? You have my word. Rui Vieira/PA

Hard Evidence: does the public sector pay better?

The government’s decision to reject the recommended 1% rise in NHS salaries has been met with “contempt” by the unions. The issue of public sector pay has become highly contentious, with each side arguing…

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