Getting the public service fit for the future

04 April 2019

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Professor Helen Sullivan is the Director of Crawford School of Public Policy.

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Episode Summary

This week on Policy Forum Pod we take a look at the recent review of the Australian Public Service, and ask whether its recommendations can transform the bureaucracy to make it fit for the future, or whether years of creeping politicisation, outsourcing of projects, and a drain of talent have taken too high a toll. Listen here:

Episode Notes

Can the Australian Public Service transform itself into the trusted and united bureaucracy it wants to be, or has creeping politicisation broken public trust and confidence in it as an institution? This week on Policy Forum Pod we take a look at the APS review and find out whether it really will make it fit for the future. Our expert panel – Helen Sullivan, Bob McMullan, and Harley Dennett – discuss some of the challenges facing the APS and whether the recent review’s recommendations can tackle the big issues.

Our presenters, Bob Cotton and Julia Ahrens, also take a look at an Australian budget that sounded a lot like an election pitch, and how the country is tackling (or not tackling) climate change. They also chat about some of your comments, discuss some ideas for future podcasts from members of our Policy Forum Pod Facebook group, and ask for your help with next week’s 100th episode of the pod.

This week’s expert panel:

Professor Helen Sullivan is the Director of Crawford School of Public Policy. Her research and teaching explore the changing nature of state-society relationships; including the theory and practice of governance and collaboration, innovative forms of democratic participation, new thinking about public policy and the practice of public service reform.

Harley Dennett is the Editor of The Mandarin – the website for public sector news. He is a Ministerial Appointee for the ACT LGBTIQ Ministerial Advice Council.

Bob McMullan is a Visiting Fellow at Crawford School, following a long and distinguished career in the Australian Parliament as one of Australia’s pre-eminent Labor politicians, during which time he held a number of Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial positions across a broad range of portfolios.

Our presenters for this podcast:

Bob Cotton is a Visiting Fellow at Crawford School. He has a strong interest in public policy issues, including Australia’s engagement in the Asia Pacific Region. He is a mentor at the National Security College.

Julia Ahrens is a Communications and Engagement Coordinator at Crawford School and a presenter for Policy Forum Pod. She is also an Associate Researcher at the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels.

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We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or find us on Facebook. The National Security Podcast and Policy Forum Pod are available on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever you get your podcasts.

About the Show

Policy Forum Pod is the podcast of Policy - Asia and the Pacific’s platform for public policy debate, analysis and discussion. Policy Forum is based at Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.

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