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With the benefit of hindsight: Valedictory reflections from departmental secretaries, 2004-11

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ISBN: 9781921862748 Year: Pages: 193 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_459792 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Sociology
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:25
License: ANU Press

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Secretaries of government departments in Australia are the bureaucratic leaders of their generation. They are ambitious, highly-talented executives who have risen to the very pinnacle of their chosen vocation – public service to the Australian nation – usually after having spent most, if not all, of their professional careers dedicated to the public service. They serve governments as their top advisers and in policy terms are often some of the most important decision-makers in the country. This collection brings together the valedictory speeches and essays from a departing group of secretaries (and one or two other equivalent agency heads) who left the Australian Public Service between 2004 and 2011. Over this period of time it gradually became accepted that departing secretaries and heads of significant agencies would present a valedictory address to their peers at a public farewell function. The first two speeches in this collection were initiated informally and given at functions organised by their agencies; in 2005 the process was formalised with the Australian Public Service Commission acting as organiser.

These contributions contain reflections, commentaries, occasional fond memories or key turning-points in careers, critiques of changes that have occurred and an outline of the remaining challenges their successors will face as the public administrators of tomorrow.

From the outset it is clear that there is no uniform message, no single narrative levelled either in praise or in criticism, other than pride in the public service and strong belief in the contribution it makes to the Australian community. They have their own personal ‘takes’ on how the public service looks to them, on its performance and on the challenges confronting public administration into the future. Most spend some time looking back, reflecting on the extent of change that has occurred over the length of their careers; but equally importantly they look forward, anticipating future policy dilemmas and capacity challenges.

Australian Department Heads Under Howard

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ISBN: 9781920942830 Year: Pages: 136 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_458817 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Sociology --- Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2014-01-27 08:27:11
License: ANU Press

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Politics and government; Civil service; Australia

Defence Policy-Making: A Close-Up View, 1950-1980

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ISBN: 9781921313868 Year: Pages: 149 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_458938 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:24
License: ANU Press

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Sir Arthur Tange was perhaps the most powerful Secretary of the Australian Defence Department and one of the most powerful of the great ‘mandarins’ who dominated the Commonwealth Public Service between the 1940s and the 1970s. His strong, and often decisive, influence on both administration and policy was exerted by virtue of his intellectual capacity, his administrative ability and the sheer force of his personality. Controversies from his time in Defence, including those associated with ‘the Tange report’ and ‘the Tange reforms’, echo to this day, and it is still easy to identify both staunch admirers and vitriolic critics in defence and public service circles. Tange wrote this account in his last years. It is a memoir – based largely on memory supplemented by limited reference to documentary material – that focuses upon his career after he came to Defence in 1970. It records his own account of his part in those administrative reforms and policy shifts, as well as his involvement-or non-involvement or alleged involvement-in several of the political crises of the 1970s, including the downfall of John Gorton as Prime Minister and the dismissal of the Whitlam Government.

Public Sector Employment in the 21st Century

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ISBN: 9781920942618 Year: Pages: 331 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_459475 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Law --- Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2012-06-14 11:46:24
License: ANU Press

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This book addresses the transformations which have occurred in employment arrangements and practices in the Australian public sector over the past decade and the changes in responsibilities and accountability through employment contracts, whistleblower legislation and partnerships between government and the private sector. It provides a comparative context through studies of reconstruction of the public service in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Themes of contractualisation, privatisation and outsourcing are explored and critically examined, as well as influences of the industrial relations legislative framework including the Work Choices legislation.

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