Politicised public service (letter)by Mike FaganNews Weekly
, April 28, 2007
Jim Manwaring's article, “When will the Liberals, Nationals ever learn?” (News Weekly
, April 14, 2007), mentions the politicisation of the NSW state public service as a problem that Premier Morris Iemma will not touch.
How right he is! The years of the Neville Wran Labor Government (and the Tom Lewis Liberal Government before him) systematically politicised government organisations, making it quite straightforward for the Nick Greiner Liberal Government to abolish the formerly independent Public Service Board.
The Senior Executive Service was instituted by a new Public Sector Management Act in 1988, thereby allowing senior public servants to be appointed and dismissed, with no legal rights of redress, at the whim of a minister. The flow-on effects are obvious.
Greiner, Carr and sundry advisors have introduced the American notion of “to the victor the spoils”, without any public debate or serious parliamentary scrutiny.
Each State and the Commonwealth subsequently imitated the legislative events in NSW, and now we have wholesale politicisation of public services throughout the country, with ministers getting the advice they want to hear. No wonder we have AWB-type scandals.
Ministers get involved in pay and condition disputes, and sidetracked into all forms of administrative minutiae, instead of focussing on strategic and policy issues that affect the future of us all.
Until we again have an independent civil service controlling authorities so that politicians can focus on the main game, then the criticisms contained in the article are not likely to be addressed.Mike Fagan,
Castle Hill, NSW