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National

Ethics all at sea: stop the boats, corrupt the state

Richard Mulgan The state-sanctioned victimisation of refugees is an evil that dare not speak its name.

Latest articles

A good time to be a (bold) public servant

Bill Scales, inspector of Brimbank City Council in Sunshine, stands in front of a stained-glass window. Wednesday 16 September 2009. City of Brimbank. THE AGE, PICTURE BY CRAIG ABRAHAM

Stephen Bartos Opinion The bureaucracy is a great place to work - when its leaders are prepared to take risks.

Comments 10

'Innovation' snake oil and other business cant

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 29:  Jennifer Westacott has been Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia at China investment conference on August 29, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Christopher Pearce/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

Paddy Gourley Opinion Business Council chief Jennifer Westacott is at it again, telling the public service what it doesn't need to hear.

Don't sweep this mess under a big rock

Public Eye PSI dinkus

Public Eye Opinion The Indigenous Affairs Minister must not allow concerns about media commentary to hide a governance disaster.

Another defence review. Why not read the others?

HMAS Kanimbla. 
Source: Department of Defence

 


HMAS Kanimbla2.JPG

David Smith Opinion The Defence Department was warned repeatedly against shedding technical staff, yet that is what it is now doing.

Together, we can lift this trainwreck

Strength in unity: Perth commuters push against a train to free a passenger’s trapped leg.

Nadine Flood Opinion The government has picked a fight with its staff. But does it have a strategy to win in the long term?

Comments 47

'Direct action' that could save the economy

Light bulbs.

Keywords:  Black Background, Bright, Color Image, Efficiency, Energy Efficient Lightbulb, Environmental Conservation, Fluorescent Light, Fuel and Power Generation, Glowing, Horizontal, Light Bulb, No People, Photography, Screw, Tungsten

Michael Smith The G20 summit is Australia's chance to begin addressing its poor productivity performance.

'Mr Perky is sleeping with my boss'

generic. Gossip whispering office workers
Whispering
Human Ear
Secrecy
Male
Female
Men
Women
Businesswoman
Businessman
Suit
Office
White Collar Worker
Confidential
Shock
Curiosity
Surprise
Disbelief
Awe
At Attention
Couple
People
Business
Message
Talking
Listening
Important
Communication
Human Mouth
Mystery

Jennifer Wyborn, Jacqueline Jago Public service advice column. We put your workplace problems to an employment lawyer and an executive coach.

Lies and trickery in the job market

Employment?Matters?thumbnail for Public Sector Informant.

WebDinkName_EmploymentMatters320x214.jpg

John Wilson Even a little white lie in a resume could lead to an APS code of conduct investigation, or worse.

Loosen the reins, end the pointless spats

Australian coat of arms.

Stephen Bartos Opinion Australia needs Tony Abbott's mooted reforms of the Commonwealth-state relations to succeed.

Comments 16

Forgotten plan for an anti-graft agency

Eddie Obeid

Richard Mulgan The NSW ICAC's bag of scalps does not necessarily mean a federal version would work well.

The dull work of heretics

Public Eye PSI dinkus

Public Eye A recent experience suggests that Attorney-General's Department officials are taking slavish devotion a tad too far.

At war on four fronts: Robert Gates

U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates speaks during a joint news conference with Japan's Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo October 21, 2009.  REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN POLITICS)

J R Nethercote The US defence secretary served both Republican and Democrat presidents, but his memoir shows he did not enjoy the role.

A privileged chief and his discourteous dispute

Michael Pezzullo

MARKUS MANNHEIM Opinion When public servants enter Parliament to give evidence, they step beyond the Public Service Act's reach.

Comments 7

The derailing of a bizarre misconduct inquiry

Employment?Matters?thumbnail for Public Sector Informant.

WebDinkName_EmploymentMatters320x214.jpg

John Wilson A little common sense goes a long way in helping disciplinary investigators avoid embarrassing errors.

Coaching staff while managing them

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PIC JAMES DAVIES
SPORTS WHISTLE. FOOTBALL UMPIRE SOCCER RUGBY UNION.
WHISTLE BLOWER.
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Jacqueline Jago The Public Service Commission wants all managers to be coaches, too. But what does that actually mean?

'The minister's office wants a contract altered'

Generic man on phone

Jennifer Wyborn, Jacqueline Jago Counsel & coach advice column: we put your workplace conundrums to an employment lawyer and an executive coach.

Some advice: Google 'staff engagement'

Google.

Allan Hawke Former departmental secretary Allan Hawke continues his 'People matter' series on managing staff.

Hiding behind cabinet's cone of silence

PADLOCK AFR 000116 PHOTOGRAPH BY GABRIELE CHAROTTE GENERIC PADLOCK SECURITY FOLDER FILES GOVERNMENT BUSINESS
***afrphotos.com***

Stephen Bartos Opinion New Zealand has shown that doing away with unnecessarily secretive traditions poses no harm.

It may seem 'smaller' but it's not 'rational'

National Commission of Audit chair Tony Shepherd joins in the laughter as Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann says

Paddy Gourley Opinion There is no evidence of 'methodical thinking' behind the latest restructures of once-independent agencies.

Costing the public service cuts

Dinkus for Public Eye column of the Public Sector Informant

Public Eye We acknowledge that the Parliamentary Budget Office has a tough gig, but its advice to the Coalition on reducing the bureaucracy was poor.

The ethics of public servants' sexual secrets

Sunday Life  it's not only men having affairs adultery. models photographed at the Arthouse hotel, August 12th 2004.  SMH Sunday Life Photography by Stephen Baccon. spb040812.001.001 SPECIALX 26739 , affair , bar , nightclub , infidelity , generic, legs

MARKUS MANNHEIM The new Public Service Act makes it easier for bureaucrats to conceal conflicts of interests. Why?

Comments 16

Nepotism, patronage and public trust

LAW 970202.  PIC MICHELE MOSSOP.  GENERIC.  THE OFFICIAL CEREMONY MARKING THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW LEGAL YEAR.  JUDGES  BARRISTERS AND QCs WALK FROM ST JAMES CHURCH.

LAW, JUDGE, COURTS, SUPREME COURT, BARISTER, QC,
***afrphotos.com***

David Solomon Has government in Australia changed so dramatically that merit is now seen as admirable but impractical?

Managing your boss to boost your career

070621 AFR SPECIAL REPORTS
ILLUSTRATION BY MICHAEL FITZJAMES
LADDER WAR SOLDIERS BUSINESS

Jacqueline Jago Public servants can use the APS work-level standards systematically to gain their next promotion.

'I need supervision but worry about asking'

Small business generic SPECIAL 240710 Stress paperwork businesses headache
BRW Picture by iSTOCK

Jennifer Wyborn, Jacqueline Jago Counsel & coach advice column: we put your workplace problems to an employment lawyer and an executive coach.

Forty years on: the Coombs commission

ARCHIVE 50000:971119:SMH NEWS: PIC-FILE: Queensland Dr Herbert Cole Coombs 17 May 1967.***FDCTRANSFER***

J R Nethercote Too often, governments set up inquiries to investigate the public service without knowing what they are seeking.

Labor town or just an effective party branch?

121020 NEWS Canberra Times Photograph by Graham Tidy Story by Tallyroom staff. ACT Election, At the Labor Party function at the National Press Club. Labor leader, Katy Gallagher during her speech, is accompanied by Andrew Barr.

Stephen Holt The Canberra branch wins elections because it resists union power and pursues enlightened social policies.

Shining a little more light on the budget

ABACUS cmm970120 AFR GENERIC PIC MICHELE MOSSOP.  ABACUS GENERIC...ASIAN TRADE
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Richard Mulgan The Parliamentary Budget Office has proved useful, though it is hampered by confidentiality.

In government, small isn't always efficient

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Christopher Stone The evidence on public sector efficiency tends to be ignored or misrepresented to suit other agendas.

Selling the budget's 'stinking carcass'

More than a thousand Students protest the Abbot Hockey Budget on the steps of the State Library and then march on Parliament House in Melbourne.
21st May 2014. Photo by Jason South

Stephen Bartos Opinion Last month's budget was only the first instalment of reforms that Australia must undergo.

Comments 28

'All politics, no policy': Abbott nails himself

Prime Minister Tony Abbott congratulates Treasurer Joe Hockey after he delivered his first budget.

Paddy Gourley Opinion The Abbott government's once useful political mantras have turned it into a policy cul-de-sac.

Comments 213

A pillar of irony? Some not-so-ancient wisdom

Dinkus for Public Eye column of the Public Sector Informant

Public Eye The words quoted by Angus Taylor on budget morning are a stirring warcry for conservatives, but they are not Cicero's.

'We deliver pizzas, not policies'

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MARKUS MANNHEIM British civil servants are embracing plain English, while our reports seem more arcane than ever.

Comments 12

The latest Australian Border Farce

Sea Patrol

Opinion A former customs officer reflects on the government's plan to revisit past failures.

Motivation always trumps the myth of talent

Outside linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith of the Seattle Seahawks holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy following victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 48 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on February 2, 2014. Seattle's Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and the Seahawks' ferocious defense overwhelmed Denver's record-setting offense, forcing three turnovers on the way to a stunning 43-8 victory in Super Bowl 48.   AFP PHOTO /   Timothy  A. CLARY

Allan Hawke Former departmental secretary Allan Hawke continues his 'People matter' series on managing staff.

Cut waste with a scalpel, not a hammer

generic sledgehammer 
for sport. use once

Alexander Philipatos Opinion The dividend's usefulness has expired. Governments need to be more deliberate in how they cut spending.

A testing time for APS wage bargaining

The CPSU held a protest outside the Public Service Commission in Woden.

Jennifer Wyborn, Nathan Moy This round of bargaining will be brutal, and any gains in pay and conditions must be clearly offset.

Comments 44

Counsel & coach: The trouble with feedback

Stressed out woman in home office computers

Jennifer Wyborn, Jacqueline Jago We put your workplace problems to an employment lawyer and an executive coach.

Love hurts: legal risks of office romance

Affairs, sexual harassment, office romance, relationship, flirting.

John Wilson When workplace relationships end in tears, the legal fall-out can affect employees and employers.

Bringing the ABC back home

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ROD CLEMENT colour cartoon / illustration / illo / toon / artwork 
 
ABC'S MARK SCOTT ...
ABC'S A BIT OF BALANCE MAYBE SHORTEN IS A RAT 

BANANAS IN PYJAMAS TONY ABBOTT AND JOE HOCKEY

REAR WINDOW 
09-05-2014

Jock Given Why restrict the ABC's focus when, in the online age, every broadcaster is international?

Selection criteria mistakes to avoid

preparing a resume - generic pic. Think Stock.

Sharon Akinyi To get a look-in, job seekers need their first impression - their application - to shine.

Abetz's pay-fixing farce will waste millions

PHOTO SHOWS AN ENVELOPE OF MONEY
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Paddy Gourley Opinion When it comes to APS wage negotiations, it seems no one in government knows what productivity means.

Comments 17

Social media policy is no Brave New World

A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration, May 2, 2013. Facebook Inc said July 24, 2013 that revenue in the second quarter was $1.813 billion, compared to $1.184 billion in the year ago period.  REUTERS/Dado Ruvic /Files (BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Tags: SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS)

Richard Mulgan Opinion The Prime Minister's Department may be a tad too risk-averse, but its stance on social media is understandable.

Canberra bears some blame for this audit

Dinkus for Public Eye column of the Public Sector Informant

Public Eye Opinion If the public service had been more prudent in the boom years of last decade, Tony Shepherd's case would have been far weaker than it was.

Comments 18

More matter, less art please, Mr Carr

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tom Reilly <tom.reilly@fairfaxmedia.com.au>

Date: 14 April 2014 17:54
Subject: Fwd: illo of bob carr for news artwork rocco
To: Paul Sherry 
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rocco Fazzari <rfazzari@fairfaxmedia.com.au>
Date: 14 April 2014 17:50
Subject: illo of bob carr for news artwork rocco
To: Picdesk Features-HER <features-her@picdesk.fairfax.com.au>

Cc: Tom Reilly <tom.reilly@fairfaxmedia.com.au>, Ben Cubby , Amy Corderoy <acorderoy@smh.com.au>
-- 
Tom Reilly

Editor, The?Sydney Morning Herald (Print)?

------------------------------

The Sydney 
Morning Herald

a: 1 Darling Island Rd, Pyrmont, NSW 2009
m:?+61 423146334

w: +61 2 9282 3051

f: +61 2 
9282 3253

bobcarr.jpg

J R Nethercote The former foreign minister's diary is full of informative glimpses but light on the substance readers deserved.

The plan that keeps slipping over the horizon

News.    Nauru.    september 19.    photo by Angela Wylie.    pic shows asylum seekers on their first day in the compound at Nauru after  their long voyages on the Tampa, Aceng and Manoora.     fairfax.  digital.  ajw010920.002.002.

Peter Browne Opinion Refugee policy by slogan is too damaging. The alternative can help both asylum seekers and Australia.

Imagination: the public service's missing link

Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee at Parliament House in Canberra.
Pictured is Dr Don Russell WestAM giving evidence to the committee.
Picture by Pat Scala  pds Wednesday the 3rd of September 2003.
Fairfax News Russell. SPECIALX SENCOMM

Don Russell Ministers need to learn that secretaries, and departments, can be their most crucial asset.

Departments' desperate budget games

TAX MELBOURNE PIC BY ERIN JONASSON. calculator, tax, GST, calculate, do the sums, add and subtract, budget, small business accounting, SPECIALX 00025094***FDCTRANSFER***

Don Russell The portfolio budget offset is a blueprint for waste and bad decision-making.

Trust, not money, coaxes the best from staff

Generic.  Aspirations

Global Communications

Global Business

Business

Togetherness

Achievement

Success

Winning

First Place

Teamwork

Team

Group Of People

People

Human Hand

Human Arm

Ceremony

Conference Centre

Meeting

Centre

Education

Event

Fuel and Power Generation

Power

Instructor

Men

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Network

Working group office colleagues

Join hands

SMH MY CAREER

Allan Hawke Former departmental secretary Allan Hawke continues his 'People matter' series on managing staff.

Counsel & coach: 'Am I a bully?'

Stop, woman, office, suit, generic, fuck off, talk to the hand, istock

Jennifer Wyborn, Jacqueline Jago We put your workplace problems to an employment lawyer and an executive coach.

Leaders' special duty to combat harassment

Employment?Matters?thumbnail for Public Sector Informant.

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John Wilson The latest State of the Service findings show the APS needs to crack down on bullying.

The Diary: Sept 2014

Courses, conferences and events for public servants.

Remember when public servants were impartial?

Too many officials are ignoring their obligation to be apolitical.

Comments 51

Where are the women in business and government?

Allan Hawke's 'People matter' series on managing staff.

How the FOI watchdog was starved to death

The Office of the Information Commissioner was set up to fail.

'All politics, no policy; all complaint, no solutions'

The Coalition's once useful mantras have made it a policy cul-de-sac.

Comments 213

'We deliver pizzas, not policies'

British civil servants are embracing plain English; ours are not.

Comments 12

We might not notice the audit report ... for a while

Public service reforms will take a lot of time and negotiation.

Comments 23

Operation Absurdity

The Abbot government might as shut up the accountability shop.

Waiting for government

Coming up with effective policies is harder than the Coalition expected.

Comments 67

The trouble with 'truth'

Adapting to a new government's language and philosophy is normal.

Idiocy of the freeze

The government must resist blind, across-the-board spending cuts.

Crusade of dated ideology

The audit commission's advice will contain a lot of 1980s thinking.

Comments 9

Yes, Prime Minister

Public servants must learn what type of minister they now have.

Comments 2

Nonsense jobs

Why are we not all working three- to four-hour days?

Comments 98

A 'cancer on democracy'

The temptation to spend voters' own money is just too strong.

The to-do list

Andrew Podger's wish-list for building a better government.

Forecasting folly

Treasury's budget guessing game and circus that surrounds it.

Operation Sunlight?

The budget papers contain too little meaningful information.

A good global citizen

We must not allow uncertainty to destroy faith in our aid program.

And the next faux crisis ...

Professional sport is entertainment. So why is it so heavily regulated?

Young talent drowning

How will we react to the next immigration scandal?

Cheers to the end of days

How long before we realise that people just don't care?

Informant: the blog

The latest titbits from the editor of The Public Sector Informant.