CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

5 August 2005

Courier Mail

Putting State's Bureaucracy Under Scrutiny

I should like to congratulate the Courier Mail on its editorial of 3 August (for reasons which will be obvious from Intended Submission to Health System Royal Commission).

My interpretation of your editorial: The interim report arising out of consultant Peter Forster's review of how Queensland Government runs state health system is comprehensive and meticulous. It paints a picture of a department unsure of what the public expects, and thus always on the defensive. Patient needs are taking second place to budget considerations. Foster also reported on Families Department and found that bureaucratic inertia had damaged state's ability to look after its most vulnerable citizens. There appear to be problems in other areas of the bureaucracy. Premier has thrown money at some of more urgent failings. But this is a blinked approach to solving what is a public sector wide problem. The last thorough review of bureaucracy was 15 years ago. It has become party-politicized and unresponsive. There is a need for a warts and all examination - of how the public service and other bodies (eg CMC) are performing ('Putting state's bureaucracy under scrutiny', Courier Mail, 3/8/05).

However I would also like to suggest that the problem can not be solved by a 'review' but only by 'managing out' of the hole that the public sector has been pushed into. The last review you referred to was unfortunately responsible for many of the problems which now exist - because of implementation failures that arose when amateurs were put in charge to implement 'reform' (see Queensland's Worst Government). The most effective path to a solution would probably be to remedy the unstable environment in which the Public Service now operates by re-inventing the Westminster tradition of a Service that is politically independent and subject to professional accountability.


John Craig