Former top bureaucrats have warned the home affairs department must rebuild public trust, after a scandal-plagued year for the public service that ended with disgraced secretary, Michael Pezzullo, being shown the door.
The Prime Minister announced the government had sacked Mr Pezzullo on Monday, after an inquiry found he had breached the code of conduct on 14 occasions. Newly-appointed secretary Stephanie Foster now faces the task of restoring public faith in the agency.
Stephen Bartos, a former finance deputy secretary, said that public service needed to reflect on the culture that had enabled these behaviours.
"What's happened is that primarily under the Morrison government, but previously as well under the Howard government, a culture had been allowed to develop where the public service was really misbehaving in various untoward ways," Mr Bartos said.
"And so that also encouraged individuals who wanted that kind of culture to flourish."
Meanwhile, ex-defence deputy secretary Paddy Gourley said the government needed to "dismantle" the Home Affairs department, arguing it is "an illogical organisation in which the public cannot have confidence".
The former Coalition government folded immigration, border protection, and domestic security into one mega agency in 2017 - a move that Mr Pezzullo allegedly pushed for.
"This organisation makes no sense in any machinery or government principles that I'm aware of, and in fact abuses a lot of them," Mr Gourley said.
Mr Bartos argued that Home Affairs had adopted a military ethos in recent years, something that he hoped the incoming boss would change.
"One of the things that happened under Mike Pezzullo is that we created what was essentially a paramilitary force in the Border Force - heavily armed and really oriented towards a negative kind of view of what's in Australia's interest, namely, keeping a very armed view of our borders," Mr Bartos said.
"So I think if we were to see a situation where there was less of that, that we had a department that was more committed to what you might call a public service type ethos, rather than a military ethos, that would be very much in Australia's best interests."