Public Service Commissioner, Peter Woolcott, didn't do the government any favours when he announced mandatory integrity training for 150,000 APS members on Tuesday.
The immediate response by many was it is the politicians and their minders who don't know their ethics from their elbows and are in urgent need of more training.
While Mr Woolcott no doubt meant well when he said he was arresting the decline in the trust in government by taking steps to "reinforce integrity across all APS business areas and functions" he achieved the opposite.
The announcement highlighted the gulf in integrity between most public servants and many of the MPs, Senators and Ministers charged with telling them what to do.
Nobody, for example, has suggested the APS members who made the initial recommendations re the distribution of grants in the "sports rorts" scandal did anything wrong.
They abided by the criteria, weighed the many and varied applications and endeavoured to ensure the taxpayers got value for money by allocating funds to the most deserving.
It wasn't until Senator Bridget McKenzie, and allegedly staffers from the Prime Minister's office, took a hand to ensure the bulk of the funds went to electorates the Coalition was targeting that the process began to unravel.
McKenzie, Morrison and McCormack have repeatedly said they don't believe applications need to be assessed on merit when the sum of the requests totals more than the dollars available.
They say they did nothing wrong because all applications allegedly complied with the criteria.
Nobody has suggested the Attorney-General acted improperly when he made the decision to review the conduct of the scheme.
It is hard not to suspect Mr Woolcott has a well developed sense of irony.
While a second inquiry, by the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, took issue with the Attorney-General's findings its deliberations, and report, are "Cabinet in confidence".
It is hard not to suspect Mr Woolcott has a deeply buried, but well developed, sense of irony.
How else, for example, are we to interpret a phrase like: "As public servants we have a responsibility to take a values-driven approach to our work?".
If this is true of the APS then it must be doubly so for those we elect to represent us in Parliament, and for their staff.
Nobody is calling for a Federal ICAC because APS members are allegedly breaching community expectations and using taxpayers' money for dubious purposes. The pressure is from minority parties who want to stop senior MPs and Ministers, from both sides, from using public funds to advance their own interests.
The fact it is proving so hard to get an ICAC up and running is proof the major parties just aren't that keen on going there.
It is ironic news of the mandatory ethics training broke the same day it was revealed Michael McCormack had encouraged his MPs to charge taxpayers for flights and accommodation for the party's centenary celebrations in Melbourne next month.
Voters are absolutely sick and tired of this stuff. Everywhere they look there are major crises. These include a genuine climate emergency, bushfires, the coronavirus, low wage growth, a housing market that seems to be on the verge of overheating yet again, and an economy that is trending downwards thanks to emerging factors at home and abroad.
Our MPs and Senators have nobody to blame but themselves for the low esteem in which they are held. They need to come up with bipartisan strategies for conciliation and redemption as quickly as possible.