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

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

An 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.

Click the Play button to listen to Ken Henry’s speech and responses to questions:

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This is the 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...]


Rudd Government Strengthens Independence Of The Reserve Bank

Following its first Cabinet meeting in Brisbane, the Rudd Labor Government has announced measures aimed at strengthening the independence of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The measures include raising the positions of Governor and Deputy Governor to the same level of statutory independence as the Commissioner of Taxation. Future appointments of the Governor and Deputy Governor will continue to be made by the government of the day but terminations will require parliamentary approval. [Read more...]


The Rudd Ministry: Who Does What

The detailed administrative arrangements for the Rudd Labor government have been issued.

The administrative arrangements are made in the form of an order from the Governor-General-in-Council.

The order sets out the matters dealt with by each government department and the acts of parliament to be administered by each minister. [Read more...]