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Public service stories

By dtc - 23 February 2010 39

So I know linking to stories in other papers is not very imaginative, but this story by Myles Peterson from the Age about working in the APS struck me as pretty spot on for many (and the comments wavered between people who clearly had no idea how the PS actually worked and people who had been there and done that).

Sample:

Around the same time a section meeting was called. Our boss arrived late, but in the best of moods. ”We’re under budget!” she announced proudly. The old-timers let out whoops of joy.

”What’s going on?” I asked someone quietly.

”No, no,” her smile turned to ash as she gave me that pitying look I usually received when I asked a question. ”It means training.”

What’s Your opinion?


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39 Responses to
Public service stories
JessP 1:52 pm 24 Feb 10

Sounds about right….

This is the government who likes things delivered NOW and this isnt the first website that was built in an exceedingly short timeframe and shows it. Anyone had a look at http://www.mychild.gov.au recently? Rome wasnt built in a day but these sites were.

trevar 12:18 pm 24 Feb 10

harvyk1 said :

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

So much for the first rule of Fight Club…

Yeah, but they haven’t really been following the other 7 either…

I’m waiting to see rule #6 – “No shirts, no shoes.” enforced… 🙂

They’ve never followed rule #3 either…

Thumper 12:17 pm 24 Feb 10

I don’t think anyone in the APS that read the article would be surprised.

iris 12:16 pm 24 Feb 10

I have to say that was a very good article. It’s sad to hear money being wasted like that but I will be realistic and know this can happen.

I have been reading here for awhile but never commented before. I just want to say that not every place is like that. Travel budgets I know of never enable one to stay in a plush hotel in Sydney or Melbourne or anywhere for that matter. 3 star hotels are more like the norm and that’s what they should be in my opinion. There are also hard working, honest, competent people who wouldn’t waste the tax payer’s money on unnecessary training and trips but on much needed projects when there is an underbudget. I guess what needs changing is this weird system of budgeting.

harvyk1 11:14 am 24 Feb 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

So much for the first rule of Fight Club…

Yeah, but they haven’t really been following the other 7 either…

I’m waiting to see rule #6 – “No shirts, no shoes.” enforced… 🙂

housebound 11:03 am 24 Feb 10

Age will start to show here. The PS has been gradually politicised over the last few decades (through four governments – Hawke, Keating, Howard,Rudd), and the degree varies from one department to another. So to anyone who wants to blame one colour or another – don’t bother.

The question for any government is whether they foster this politicisation, or attempt to restore a frank and fearlesss PS. My guess is that people are annoyed because Rudd hasn’t tried to improve things and possibly encouraged a drift; and you could say the same about people’s dissapointment about Howard’s reign too (and so on).

To say more requires an intmiate and long-term knowledge of specific departments. Those who have that knowledge are unlikely to give it away on RA while they still want a job in this town.

Woody Mann-Caruso 10:24 am 24 Feb 10

So much for the first rule of Fight Club…

harvyk1 10:12 am 24 Feb 10

Me thinks that Myles Peterson was closer to the actual truth than the dept response.

I have never worked inside the PS (and I am thankful for that) but I have worked closely with them. I have seen first hand the wastage which happens if a dept is under budget. I have seen (and had to deal with) the consequences of a dept changing its mind at the last minute, and I personally find it easy to believe that there are policy and gov’t idea’s which are produced at the last minute.

I personally believe the PS does harbour incompetence, as I have seen many times incompetent people be given positions of great power, when in reality they should have been shown the door.

I’m not having a go at the whole PS because I also believe that it’s a case of 50% of the PS is very competent and works extremely hard, to the point it carries the deadwood which seems to hang on.

Tempestas 9:52 am 24 Feb 10

Trevar is on the money, if you think the APS is just like this under Rudd you need to be “told ya dreaming”.

That said it does raise some serious issues in the way things are handled and shows the downside of decades or arbitary efficency dividends and restructures to suit whims (Ministers, Secretaries and others)

Additionally the rise of “managed via the Ministers office” began under Hawke, but reached its peak under Howard, Rudd has not had anywhere near the level of FUD or politicisation that existed previously. That said he is a micro-managing control freak who burns through staff and should get some more sleep.

JC 9:05 am 24 Feb 10

bd84 said :

Probably one of the best articles I’ve read, makes a stark contrast to the graduate writing the travel blog.

Not only does the article describe the Commonwealth PS very well, but now makes me understand why the majority of Rudd’s policies look like they’ve been developed overnight with very little thought put into them, because they have been. I do hope people actually think about their vote before blindly voting for him again later this year.

The APS doesn’t develop policies, the government does. The APS is there to implement said policy.

trevar 7:33 am 24 Feb 10

I didn’t think The Age published good articles… I actually read the entire thing, instead of just the first two paragraphs!

But, bd84; I hardly think KRudd invented the PS machine! This political appliance has been in development for several hundred years!

Holden Caulfield 12:47 am 24 Feb 10

That article is as excellent as it is horrific.

deye 11:25 pm 23 Feb 10
realityskin 9:57 pm 23 Feb 10

Rudd = epic fail

but that said, it’s been the same way in the APS since forever. Blame Dept Finance for their archaic way of managing budgets.

bd84 9:11 pm 23 Feb 10

Probably one of the best articles I’ve read, makes a stark contrast to the graduate writing the travel blog.

Not only does the article describe the Commonwealth PS very well, but now makes me understand why the majority of Rudd’s policies look like they’ve been developed overnight with very little thought put into them, because they have been. I do hope people actually think about their vote before blindly voting for him again later this year.

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