Background to Renewal of Queensland's Public Service

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A former senior NSW official was reported to have suggested, in an address to the Brisbane Institute, that the practice of 'chopping and changing' top public servants after changes in government should be terminated ('Bring back apolitical bureaucrats' (editorial) and 'Call to protect bureaucrats', Courier Mail, 29/3/00).

Renewal of Queensland's Public Service suggests how the change he proposed might be made by :

Restoring professionalism is not going to be painless. Queensland Public Service is currently built on a very shaky foundation (see Towards Good Government in Queensland) which has translated into a justified disrespect for the 'senior' Public Service, and into apparently seriously defective administrative performance (see Section 6 of Detailed Discussion of Queensland's Challenge).

The suggested renewal process  is based on the view that (a) the problem does not (usually) lie in the people but in their operating environment and (b) the effect of politicisation can only be overcome by a process which builds on such provable professionalism as still exists in the Public Service. The suggested process would take several years to fully implement, but should also produce useful short term benefits by ensuring that the senior New Public Service focuses on professional concerns (eg whether policy can work in practice) rather than on politicking.