When Scott Morrison announced the creation of four new super departments on Thursday, he continued a time-honoured tradition where prime ministers lop bits off one part of the bureaucracy and stitch it onto another.
Of his new Franken-departments, Mr Morrison said the changes would allow the government to "bust bureaucratic congestion, improve decision making, and ultimately deliver better services for the Australian people".
The assertion was met with scepticism from anyone who has actually weathered a machinery of government (MOG) change.
Portfolios like "skills" and "arts" are notorious bouncers, having been shunted between departments for years.
Former Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Martin Parkinson delivered a warning a year earlier of the fruitlessness of slicing and dicing public service departments by various political masters.
"Institutions and organisations take time and effort to build but are quickly weakened and damaged - if they deserve condemnation and reform, that should occur, but if not, I would urge caution and counsel against regarding the APS as a set of lego blocks to be painlessly re-created," Mr Parkinson said.
Gemma Carey - an associate professor at the University of NSW who has researched machinery of government changes extensively - said the pain was hardly ever worth the gain.
"There is a tendency for the public service to be treated like a Rubik's cube - that if we just keep clicking it around in different configurations eventually we'll find the right one," Associate Profesor Carey said.
"But structural change rarely addresses the types of issues which underpin MOGs - attention to particular policy issues, reduced red tape or blockages."
MOGs can also be incredibly expensive.
Associate Professor Carey said a small one could cost in the realm of $10 million.
"In Australia costings are generally not made public or even done, but in the UK they began openly mapping the costs of MOGs with the explicit intention of slowing them down because of the sheer cost," she said.
Even changing the name of a department can be incredibly expensive.
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources spent around $173,741 to drop "Water Resources" from its title, under changes made shortly after the May election.
Around $67,431 of that was spent replacing signs across national and regional offices and $20,000 on new name badges for staff. All those people will have to get new badges now it is the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.
It cost the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities $23,794 to change is name to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development around the same time. It will have to go through the exercise again now it has taken in the former Department of Communications and Arts.
Structural change rarely addresses the types of issues which underpin MOGs - attention to particular policy issues, reduced red tape or blockages.- Gemma Carey
Those costs were just for a name change - not for moving staff and functions between buildings and departments.
Associate Professor Carey said there were times when some "synergies" could be achieved by lumping parts of the public service together.
"But that depends on the driver of the MOG and whether the PM took advice from the APS as to whether a particular MOG would be effective," she said.
There are also cases where a MOG change can drive up costs.
"For example, when functions are moved into health - for example aged care - public servants explained to us that the cost goes up hugely because there is a culture of medicalised solutions as opposed to social care solutions," Associate Professor Carey said.
"Also, different departments run on different IT to administer their functions. In some instances, the IT has to be rebuilt within a new department which is slow and costly."
Under the last machinery of government change for example, it cost the Department of Agriculture $67,981 to change its IT systems.
But disruption like this is hardly uncommon.
A 2016 audit showed the Australian Public Service had undergone more than 200 MOG changes in the past 20 years.
The Department of Education alone has undergone 10 name changes in the last half-century.
According to Wikipedia, it became the Department of Education and Youth Affairs in 1983, but went back to the Department of Education in 1984, before becoming the Department of Employment, Education and Training or DEET in 1987.
It changed again to the Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs in 1996 before employment was ditched again when it became the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs in 1998. Science came back into the fold in 2001 when it became the Department of Education, Science and Training.
It was switched out again when it turned to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations in 2007 before all the postamble was dropped and it became the plain old Department of Education again in 2013.
So did all of these switcheroos "break down the silos" and "drive greater collaboration" as the prime minister hopes this latest change will?
Associate Professor Carey said MOG changes rarely reduced bureaucratic blockages or created efficiencies in part because of the scale of the upheaval.
"We found that even three years after a MOG, not only did blockages still exist - new ones had been created, as people had to find workaround to a dysfunctional structure that had been created by slamming two departments together," Associate Professor Carey said.
She said silos are a "perennial problem" in any large organisation - and MOGs may not necessarily be the best solution.
"In our research we found that silos exist just as much within MOG'd departments as between departments. This is especially the case where you are creating 'mega' departments, which are simply too large to operate as a unified whole," Associate Professor Carey said.
"We can see this in the changes announced [on Thursday] - some of the departments created are very large. For example the new department of Transport which now houses many diverse functions."
Associate Professor Carey said the shift of Human Services into the Department of Social Services seemed especially " problematic and strange".
"Both departments have an enormous remit, and joining them together is likely to create a cumbersome structure that is difficult to manage," she said.
"It also leaves a single set of executives presiding over some of our biggest policy implementation challenges - the NDIS and the robo-debt response.
"They're also fundamentally different in their culture, which we've found can (a) create problems in building new teams and (b) different departments have different cultural responses to managing issues (see point about health below), which can not only compromise the quality and approach of services but also end up costing more in some instances."
But it's hardly the most bizarre MOG of recent times.
"The one that really jumps out was the move of Indigenous Affairs into PMC. That was the first time in history that a line agency - one that delivers services - was moved into PMC, which is historically small and nimble in order to have oversight and coordination functions for the whole APS," Associate Professor Carey said.
"Suddenly we had PMC overseeing whether a four-wheel drive was operational in the Torres Straight. That MOG was aimed at signalling that Indigenous issues were a priority under the Abbott government, but we found there was a high likelihood that both services and advice to the PM were compromised as a result."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.