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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…]


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…]


John Howard: The Australian Public Service

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

Prime Minister John 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.

Whilst we must always be careful not to mythicise the past and those who lived within it, clearly the efforts and the vision of many of your predecessors made a profound and lasting difference to the character of our society. [Read more…]


New Secretary Appointed To Attorney-General’s Department

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has announced the appointment of Mr. Robert Cornall as the new Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department.

The Secretary used to be known as the “permanent head” of the department, a coloquial title no longer used since Secretaries are now appointed on 5-year contracts. The Secretary is the administrative head of the department, reporting directly to the Minister. [Read more…]