Ignoring the end-of-budget-year splurge

Markus Mannheim   What will it take to convince a government to scrutinise this spending?


Latest articles

Sound IR advice always upsets the zealots

Productivity Commission chairman Peter Harris launches the draft report on industrial relations last month.

Paddy Gourley   The commission's final report must give the government's APS bargaining policy the rubbishing it deserves.

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States must take the lead while Abbott dithers


Stephen Bartos   The Prime Minister's lack of leadership might not necessarily be fatal to the prospects of federalism reform.

Productivity Commission's pay myth-busting


Public Eye   Finally, an official denial of the nonsense at the heart of the government's wage bargaining policy.

Politics isn't quite so random as Leigh says


John Wanna   Readers of Andrew Leigh's latest book will enjoy it, though some of its tales are a tad too tall.

The darkening of hard-won transparency

Professor John McMillan: the inaugural (and last?) Australian Information Commissioner.

Richard Mulgan   Freedom of information needs a strong independent advocate, as powerful enemies are circling.

Closing the doors of justice


John Wilson   Open justice is a fundamental legal principle. So why is the Commonwealth trying to hide its disputes?

Tackle problems and take responsibility


Stephen Sedgwick   Long-standing 'instractable' problems prevent the federal bureaucracy from serving as well as it could.

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Rereading Herodotus' Histories

A relief of Herodotus by Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1806) in the Louvre, Paris.

Mark Thomas   The 'father of history' expected human nature, hatreds, prejudices and frailty to last forever.

'My staff want so much attention I can't work'


Yvonne Richards   Public service advice column: we put your workplace conundrums to an executive coach.

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A jaded country's lost faith in democracy

Pat Campbell cover artwork for The Public Sector Informant, August 2015.

Stephen Bartos   If politicians want voters to trust public institutions, they must cede control to independent agencies and open themselves to scrutiny.

Treasury chief's muddled economic thinking

Federal Treasury secretary John Fraser.

Paddy Gourley   If the secretary wants to give vent to personal opinions, he should be more rigorous, open-minded and precise.

Abbott's trio enjoy a frankness others can't

Thumbnail: Captain's picks: Treasury secretary John Fraser, Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd and PM&C secretary Michael Thawley.

Richard Mulgan   The blunt language of these three captain's picks has at least taken public debate beyond inane evasions.

Halton's missed chance to set ethical bar high


Public Eye   Conflicts of interest in the public service are regularly managed extremely poorly, left largely to individuals to work out for themselves.

Ethical lessons from the 'pink batts' affair

Nearly 200 home insulation companies have already registered interest in the compensation scheme.

Stephen Sedgwick   The home insulation scheme provides crucial insights into how the public service must improve.

Questions star-struck job panels should ditch

A pain: performance reviews.

Ann Villiers   The STAR recruitment model, used widely in the public service, encourages dishonest or simplistic answers.

Public debt is an exaggerated problem

The Australian dollar, which came within a whisker of $US72¢, lost ground overnight as the US dollar strengthened.

David Richardson   There is no reason to repay Australian government debt: there is a ready market for it.

'I have the skills. Why won't they promote me'

There has been disagreement about the seriousness of the matter of the faulty x-ray machine.

Yvonne Richards   Public service advice column: we put your workplace conundrums to an executive coach.

SES need to know how overwork harms staff


Rachel Barker   The greater the staff cuts and budget pressures, the more likely people will wound one another out of sheer ignorance.

Designing and maintaining 'free markets'

Australian shares have performed poorly in 2015, and since June have followed China's sharemarket  down.

Paul Wyrwoll   The challenge for policymakers is to design regulatory interventions that help markets flow freely rather than clog them up.

Can science save humanity from its fiddling?

SPECIAL PLANE generic.  ex bne.  to afr.  pix robert rough.  020412.  == generic.  jal, aircraft, tourists, plane, vapour trail, takeoff.

Rod Taylor   Rather than engineer a 'fix' to climate change, why not avoid it in the first place?

A slip, a fall and the employer pays for it all


John Wilson   Employers should consider closely the health and safety risks in their staff's homes.

APS needs a pipeline of female leaders

Departments in traditionally female-dominated fields, such as education, have no problem with women in senior management.

Frances Crimmins   Targets have failed. It's time government bodies embraced quotas.

Death by slogan: Abbott's lost government

Illustration: Pat Campbell

Paddy Gourley   The Prime Minister said he could do better than Rudd and Gillard. He has failed monumentally.

Comments 74

Pork barrelling and the failure of process


Richard Mulgan   Officials can lose their way when election promises conflict with the requirements of professional administration.

Canberra: a perfect canvas for future transport

A depiction of a SkyTran pod, in which one or two people travel. Image courtesy of www.skytran.us

Arthur Davies   The national capital is ideally placed to embrace the next generation of public transport technology. So why is its government buying trams, which are a 130-year-old idea?

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Freeze-that-wasn't finally ends


Public Eye   In the first three days of the thaw, agency heads exercised their newly recovered autonomy by publishing 150 job ads.

How NSW kept its election honest


Stephen Bartos   Independent policy costings help build and maintain public trust in democracy.

The trouble with 'independence'

President of the Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs.

J. R. Nethercote   'Independence' in parliamentary government is rarely the simple matter it is often presented to be.

Who pays the price for employment disputes?


John Wilson   Refusing a reasonable settlement offer can expose a party to significant financial risk.

Debt is a serious problem right now, not later

piggy bank debt iou

Mikayla Novak   We have forgotten the 'golden rule' of debt management: borrow only to fund genuinely value-added investments.

'The other girls in the office exclude me'


Yvonne Richards   Public service advice column: we put your workplace conundrums to an executive coach.


A jaded country

Politicians must cede control to independent agencies.

Halton's missed chance

Conflicts of interest in the APS are usually managed extremely poorly.

Star-struck job panels

The STAR recruitment model encourages dishonesty.

Death by slogan

The PM said he could do better than Rudd and Gillard. He hasn't.

Future of public transport

Why is Canberra buying trams, which are a 130-year-old idea?

The doomed culture wars

Redirecting taxpayers' funds has little effect over progressive 'bias'.

Bureaucrats' dodgy pasts

Hiring and firing the basis of past convictions can be unlawful.

Selling APS integrity

The public should expect better of the Treasury.

Discounting future lives

We can't afford to miscalculate the costs of runaway climate change.

SBS sacking is contestable

A tribunal will pay no heed to the broadcaster's political problems.

The Bjorn legacy

Embrace cost-benefit analyses, but be wary of their limits.

Chaos on Capital Hill

Any other secretary would have been pressured to leave.

The costs of fear

Does the counterterrorism budget stack up to cost-benefit analysis?

War on 'debt deniers'

If the Telegraph wants a surplus, it will need to recant its past beliefs.

Hammer for a few nuts

Time for an open chat about what the counterterrorism budget buys.

Growth is good

We shouldn't lose sight of how economic growth helps us all.

Struggling to manage duds

We put your workplace problems to an executive coach.