CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary


Matthew Franklin
The Australian

Public Service Magic?

A couple of weeks ago you wrote about the Prime Minister's goals for developing Australia's federal Public Service.

My interpretation of your article: PM has vowed to poach the best and brightest from the private sector to run government departments in shift from the tradition of lifelong service to lead to departmental leadership. Senior bureaucrats need private sector and community experience. Bureaucracy should have to compete with private sector for delivery of taxpayer funded services. PM will demand a more professional public service and more flexible pathways between public and private sectors. Private sector has long sought talent in public sector, and the latter should do the same. Public sector leadership should reflect a wide diversity of work experiences - to enable better understanding of community. Public servants should also have hands-on experience of business, finance, logistics and strategic planning. (Franklin M. 'Rudd to poach business bosses', Australian, 1/5/08).

I should like to suggest for your consideration that, in view of Queensland's experience under the Goss administration (in which Mr Rudd had a central role), that such trendy and high-sounding rhetoric about the federal Public Service should probably be viewed with alarm, unless it is accompanied by realistic details of how such notions can be successfully achieved. My reasons for suggesting this are outlined in Public Service Magic?

John Craig