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…]


Ken Henry Speech To Treasury Staff

This is the text of a speech by Ken Henry, Secretary to the Treasury, to Treasury staff.

The speech is titled, “Treasury’s Effectiveness in the Current Environment”.

The speech was reported in the media in the context of the forthcoming 2007 federal election and suggestions that Henry criticised government policy. [Read more…]


Young Workers Drawn To Queensland Public Service

This is the text of a media release from the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie.

Premier Peter Beattie said today bright young Queenslanders were being recruited into the public service, to help build the Smart State.

Mr Beattie said a dedicated professional public service employment stream had attracted almost 20,000 graduates in three years.

“The 19,700 graduates drawn into this stream are additional to the young people who were separately recruited into departments,” Mr Beattie said. [Read more…]


The ‘Truth Factory': Robert Stewart Parker And The Public Service

John Uhr’s obituary of Robert Parker appeared in the Canberra Times and the ANU Reporter.

Robert Stewart Parker: 1915-2002

Robert Parker, who died on 31 July at the age of 87, was one of Australia’s foremost scholars in the fields of politics and public administration. He was professor and head of the ANU’s political science program in the research school of social sciences from 1962 until his retirement in 1978. He had been reader in public administration at the ANU since 1954, after earlier appointments as a social sciences fellow from 1946-49. He was president of the Australasian Political Studies Association in 1963-64, and one of the very few to hold this position with extensive professional experience on both sides of the Tasman.

Parker was born in Sydney in 1915, graduating from North Sydney Boys’ High in the mid-Depression when he postponed his early hopes for full-time university study in literature and history. He began full-time employment as a state public servant. His work in the NSW bureau of statistics moved him in the direction of economic analysis, with his supervisors encouraging him to complete an economics degree at night over the years 1933-1937, which he obtained with first class honours. During this time at the University of Sydney, Parker characteristically broadened his studies to include philosophy under John Anderson and social science under P H Partridge, later a colleague at the ANU. [Read more…]


Abbott, Public Service Basher, Repents

This article appeared in the Canberra Times.

By VERONA BURGESS, Public Service Reporter

Tony Abbott was never averse to the age-old sport of public-service bashing that is, until he became a minister.

Now the new Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Australian Public Service says he is a “complete convert” to its quality and strengths.

Mr Abbott – who is also the Minister for Employment and Leader of the House of Representatives – heaped praise on the Public Service yesterday, telling The Canberra Times his department’s senior public servants had very high-level skills which he thought “would leave many private-sector managers for dead”.

Mr Abbott said he could not speak about the whole Public Service yet, nor outline any agenda, because he was still “learning the ropes”. [Read more…]


The Australian Public Service: Speech By Prime Minister John Howard

This is the text of a speech given by the Prime Minister, John Howard, to the Centenary Conference of the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

Speech by Prime Minister John Howard to the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

HowardI am pleased to be here today to present the ‘Centenary of the APS Oration’.

I share with you the hope that today’s conference and the other events being held this week will publicise the significant role the Australian Public Service has played in building the strong and vibrant nation that both public servants and politicians have the honour to serve.

It has been a remarkable century of achievement, well documented during the Federation celebrations of recent months. But today is an occasion to recognise that behind all the successes, in peace and in war, have been generations of dedicated Australian men and women working for the common good as public servants. [Read more…]