Census Back Online; Contrite ABS Staff Apologise And Say They’re Back On Track

The 2016 Census came back online at 2.30pm this afternoon and the Australian Bureau of Statistics has again apologised for the outage, whilst reassuring the public that the census is back on track.


The Chief Statistician, David Kalisch, and the Census Manager, Duncan Young, both gave televised statements at 5.20pm, in time for the evening news. No resignations were forthcoming. [Read more…]

Administrative Arrangements For The Second Turnbull Government

This is the amended Administrative Arrangements, following the swearing-in of the Second Turnbull Government.

The Administrative Arrangements outline the responsibilities of government departments and ministers. They show which Acts of Parliament fall within the responsibility of the department and minister. The Order is signed by the Governor-General.

This order renames the Department of the Environment to the Department of the Environment and Energy. It lists the matters to be added to the Department’s responsibilities, including 8 Acts of Parliament. Most of these are taken from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. [Read more…]

Immigration Detention And Children: Statement From Immigration And Border Protection Department

This is a statement on immigration detention and children, issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The statement was issued by the Secretary of the Department, Michael Pezzullo.

Later in the day, a further statement was issued, following criticism of the third paragraph’s statement that “suggestions that detention involves a ‘public numbing and indifference’ similar to that allegedly experienced in Nazi Germany” were offensive.

Both statements are shown below.

Statement from Michael Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Immigration detention and children: separating fact from fiction

PezzulloConsistent with the law of the land, and under direction of the government of the day, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection operates a policy of keeping children in detention only as a last resort, and releasing those children that might be in detention as soon as reasonably practicable.

This is a very contentious area of public policy and administration. Sometimes emotions rise and facts gets distorted. For the reputation of my Department and its officers, it is crucial that I set the record straight: the Department and its uniformed operational arm, the Australian Border Force, does not operate beyond the law, nor is it an immoral ‘rogue agency’.

Recent comparisons of immigration detention centres to ‘gulags’; suggestions that detention involves a “public numbing and indifference” similar to that allegedly experienced in Nazi Germany; and persistent suggestions that detention facilities are places of ‘torture’ are highly offensive, unwarranted and plainly wrong – and yet they continue to be made in some quarters. [Read more…]

Administrative Arrangements Order – Amendments

Following the reshuffle of the Turnbull ministry, amendments to the Administrative Arrangements Order have been announced.

Responsibility for Population policy moves from the Department of the Environment to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

In the aftermath of Jamies Briggs’s resignation, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet also takes over National policy on cities.

The Administrative Order is shown below, as is the original order from September 30, 2015. [Read more…]

Abbott Government: Administrative Arrangements Order

The Abbott government has been sworn in today in Canberra.

Whilst the new Prime Minister announced the composition of the ministry two days ago, the Administrative Arrangements Order has just been issued. It was one of the first acts of the new government at its inaugural meeting of the Executive Council.

The Order sets out which departments and agencies will be administered by particular ministers. This is what Sir Humphrey Appleby would call “the real reshuffle”.

The Order also allocates responsibility for each piece of Commonwealth legislation to a specific minister.


John Faulkner Calls For Better Governance Of Parliament, Public Service And The ALP

Senator John Faulkner has delivered a wide-ranging speech on political integrity and called for reforms to the parliament, public service, political parties and election funding.

John FaulknerFaulkner spoke at a conference at the University of Melbourne. He called for finalisation of the National Anti Corruption Plan, legislation protecting public interest disclosure, the introduction of a Code of Conduct for MPs, the Commonwealth to support the Open Government Partnership, electoral funding reform and improved accountability witin political parties.

Faulkner also offered a plan to improve democracy and integrity in the ALP. He proposed that party rules be subject to the courts and that all party disputes in NSW should be taken out of the hands of bodies controlled by factions. He called for rank-and-file preselection ballots for Senate and Legislative Council positions, a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy for party members found guilty of corruption, and a Charter of Rights for members.

Transcript of Senator John Faulkner’s speech to the Integrity In Government Conference at the University of Melbourne Law School.

Political Integrity: The Parliament, the Public Service, and the Parties

No-one ever argues that governments should have less integrity, that elected officials should not be accountable, or that public servants should behave unethically. Broad statements of the value of integrity, transparency, accountability and ethics gain general agreement from all sides of politics and from all participants in public debate.

But government integrity demands more than general expressions of goodwill. Enhancing transparency and accountability requires supportive structures as well as declarations of priorities. And cultivating ethical behaviour needs more than simple, sweeping statements of expectations.

Nor is integrity in government and in politics simply a declaration of the importance of individuals behaving ethically.

Of course, they should behave ethically. But, ladies and gentlemen, human nature is variable, and fallible. Individuals do, from time to time, succumb to temptation or fall into error. As the eminent thinker, French renaissance essayist Michel de Montaigne said more than four hundred years ago, “There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thought under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.” [Read more…]

Ken Henry’s Address To The National Press Club

The Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, has addressed the National Press Club, in Canberra.

HenryAn affable, confident, articulate and impressive Henry delivered a speech on taxation and then took questions on allegations from the Liberal Party that he has conspired with the Federal government to manipulate the economic growth forecasts.

The speech introduced Jim from Jericho, an Australian equivalent of Joe the Plumber, who gave Henry a lesson on the taxation of fencing wire.

  • Listen to Ken Henry’s speech (55m)

Text of Ken Henry’s prepared speech:

Towards a tax and transfer system of human scale

1. My working holiday

As people all around the world quickly learned – such is the reach of the electronic media these days – I spent July with my wife, Naomi, in the Epping Forest Scientific National Park in central Queensland, helping look after what may be the last 115 northern hairy nosed wombats left on the planet.

The care of our native wildlife is one of my passions. Another is tax policy. That, too, has occupied a fair bit of my time this year as we have been undertaking one of the most fundamental tax reviews ever attempted in this country.

Spending time on one’s passions would normally be considered a good thing. In some respects, then, this has been a good year. [Read more…]