April 28th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: East Timor election: what's cooking?

EDITORIAL: Implications of East Timor's election

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Kevin Rudd's character under scrutiny

OVERSEAS TRADE: Wheat-growers back single-desk selling

MANUFACTURING: Japan still shows the way

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Easter and the media / Literacy, and all that / Anzac Day / Jews and Muslims / Pre-Budget ruminations

DAVID HICKS AFFAIR: Media's blind eye to Hicks treason

THE COLD WAR: How Moscow framed Pope Pius XII as pro-Nazi

GREAT BRITAIN: Why Britain is no longer great

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Lottery players fleeced for $100 million

ETHICS: New safeguard for vulnerable patients

HEALTH: Married gays die 24 years younger

OBITUARY: Dr John Billings (1918-2007) and the Culture of Life

AS THE WORLD TURNS: The unmarriage revolution / Unexpected outbreak of morality / Mediocrity on the march / Children recruited to spy for Big Brother

Antidotes to narcissism (letter)

Problems with surrogacy (letter)

Politicised public service (letter)

Bell tolls for national icon (letter)

CINEMA: Spartan sacrifice that saved Greece


BOOKS: BACKS TO THE WALL: A larrikin on the Western Front, by G.D. Mitchell with Robert Macklin

Books promotion page

Politicised public service (letter)

by Mike Fagan

News 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

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