Chronology of changes in the Australian Public Service 1975-2010

11 October 2010

Rose Verspaandonk, Dr Ian Holland, Dr Nicholas Horne
Politics and Public Administration Section

Contents
Introduction
Chronology
Glossary
Bibliography of selected publications since 2000

Introduction

The purpose of this chronology of key events is to provide a historical context in which to understand the continuing evolution of the Australian Public Service (APS).[1] More specifically, the chronology is intended to:

  • provide a quick reference guide to what happened, and when
  • facilitate access to relevant documents, and
  • complement more narrative and critical discussions by providing an account that focuses on government decisions, reports and legislation.

The chronology focuses on key events relating to the public service’s management of human, financial and other resources. In particular, it includes key events (e.g. documents, announcements and legislation) relating to:

  • employment conditions and people management
  • financial management
  • accountability mechanisms (including some key events in administrative law), and
  • service delivery mechanisms.

The number of possible entries in the chronology is very large. By outlining key events, the chronology is intended to convey the character of change over the last thirty-five years. An important criterion in determining whether an event warranted inclusion was whether secondary sources referred to it.

There are some areas that the chronology does not canvass. Changes in APS staff numbers are not discussed in any detail, although broad employment trends from the late 1980s onwards are noted below. With some exceptions, the chronology does not provide details of changes relating to machinery of government, Cabinet or ministerial responsibility, privatisation, outsourcing, or statutory authorities.[2] Reports by parliamentary committees and the Management Advisory Committee are listed separately at the end of the paper.

Background

Once the Commonwealth was established at the beginning of the 20th century, there was a period of incremental change until the mid 1970s. In contrast, the last thirty-five years have brought rapid and significant change to the APS.

Traditionally, the public service was characterised by the following:

  • an emphasis on processes and inputs
  • a distinctive ‘public service’ approach to organisation and service delivery
  • male domination (until 1966, female employees were required to resign on marriage)
  • security of employment
  • a near-monopoly on policy advice to governments
  • an entrenched system of preference for those already employed by the public service, and
  • central control of personnel practices and conditions.[3]

By the 1970s, this system was being questioned as social changes undermined the foundation of a distant and hierarchical bureaucracy. In 1974, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a Royal Commission to examine government administration. In the area of administrative law, several inquiries were conducted, leading to recommendations for changes that would open government decisions to scrutiny. Meanwhile, an emerging critique of government put pressure on governments to demonstrate that they used public resources wisely.

This examination has led to significant public service change since 1975. The impact of this change is encapsulated in the demise of the term ‘public administration’ and the rise of the term ‘public management’. One analyst has characterised the difference between the two in the following terms: ‘managers are now responsible for results, where administrators simply carry out the instructions of others’.[4] Similarly, other commentators have described management as ‘the direct and efficient harnessing of scarce resources to the attainment of clearly defined organizational outputs’.[5] A centrepiece of the new approach is the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth), which replaced the much amended Public Service Act 1922 (Cth).[6]

In contrast to its predecessor, the ‘new’ APS is characterised by:

  • flexibility regarding processes, accountability for outputs and outcomes, and a strong emphasis on efficiency
  • similarity with the private sector in organisation and service delivery, and increased use of the private sector to deliver services
  • a more diverse workforce, particularly at senior levels
  • increasing use of contract employment and greater scope for public servants to be dismissed
  • the generation of policy work being shared with political advisers and consultants
  • employment opportunities at all levels for people not currently employed by the public service
  • enhanced political control of the bureaucracy
  • devolution of resource management and personnel practices and conditions
  • a variety of avenues for citizens to obtain information and/or redress, and
  • decentralisation of budget responsibilities.

In the late 1980s and from the early 1990s to the end of that decade, reductions in the numbers of employees were an integral component of the drive for efficiency. A decline in staff numbers took place from 1987 to 1990 followed by a modest increase from 1990 to 1993.[7] From 1993 to 1999–2000 there was a very steep decline in staff numbers followed by an upwards trend from 2000 onwards. In 2009, staff numbers were similar to absolute staff numbers in 1990. The following figure illustrates the trends in APS employment since 1990.[8]

Figure 1.               APS employee numbers, 1990–2009

APS employee numbers, 1990–2009 

 

Source: Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), State of the Service Report 08–09, APSC, Canberra, 2009, p. 2, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.apsc.gov.au/stateoftheservice/0809/report.pdf

Another important element of the emphasis on efficiency has been the efficiency dividend—a reduction of appropriations revenue for most government agencies that has been applied at specified rates since the 1986–87 Budget.[9] The stated aim of the efficiency dividend has been to provide ‘an incentive for agencies to continually seek efficiencies, delivering benefits to taxpayers and allowing the Government to re-direct efficiency gains to new or higher priority areas’.[10]

The driving forces behind this new approach to public service management include:[11]

  • social changes leading to new expectations of government and government employment, including questioning of whether centralised bureaucracies adequately understand the needs of citizens
  • trends in public sector management in other comparable democracies, notably the United Kingdom and New Zealand[12]
  • the ascendancy of arguments for smaller government
  • growing belief in the virtue of fiscal austerity, and
  • advances in telecommunications and information technology.

Chronology

 

  


Milestones

Details

Source Documents

1975

An Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Section is established in the Public Service Board to address employment inequities facing women, indigenous Australians, people with disabilities and people from a non-English speaking background.

Public Service Board, Annual Report 1974–75

 

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal is established to provide independent review of a wide range of administrative decisions made by the Commonwealth Government and some non-government bodies.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth)

July 1975

A confrontation arises between the Government and the Opposition-controlled Senate over the appearance of public servants as witnesses to give evidence. Government ministers instruct public servants ‘to claim privilege in respect of answers to all questions’ with which the Senate was concerned. This conflict leads ultimately to the formalisation of guidelines for public service witnesses in 1978.

Senate, Debates, 15 July 1975, pp. 2729–30

Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice, twelfth edn., pp. 476–78

House of Representatives, Debates, 28 September 1978, pp. 1504–09

1976

A Royal Commission report into government administration (Coombs Commission) supports:

  • more accountability for public servants
  • mechanisms to improve the relationship between officials and the community
  • an emphasis on managerial skills
  • more efficient and responsive service delivery
  • devolution of responsibility, as well as greater flexibility and diversity in organisational styles
  • more efficient and economical use of human resources, and
  • a more open public service.

Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration, Report, AGPS, Canberra, 1976

1976

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is established to consider complaints from people who believe they have been adversely affected by the defective administration of Commonwealth departments or agencies.

Ombudsman Act 1976 (Cth)

1977

Legislation is introduced to facilitate judicial review by the Federal Court of some exercises of Commonwealth power (came into operation 1 October 1980).

Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth)

 

Legislation is introduced to allow for the dismissal of staff who engage in industrial action and the suspension without pay of staff who cannot work as a result of industrial action (repealed with effect from November 1983).

Commonwealth Employees (Employment Provisions) Act 1977 (Cth) (repealed 1983)

1979

Legislation is introduced to facilitate the retrenchment of public servants surplus to requirements and a requirement for the permanent head to ensure the efficient, effective and economical use of the department's staff (repealed 1986).

Commonwealth Employees Redeployment and Retirement Act 1979 (Cth) (repealed 1986)

1980

The Public Service Board advises departments to adopt the common law principle of ‘No work as directed—no pay’. This is ruled not to be legal, leading to the amendment of the Public Service Act 1922 (Cth) to provide for the principle (subsequently repealed in 1983).

1982

Legislation is introduced to extend the right of the community to access information in the possession of the Commonwealth Government.

Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth)

January 1983

The Reid Review Report (review announced 23 September 1982) emphasises the importance of quality management (including financial management and personnel management), as well as issues relating to machinery of government, ministerial responsibility and administrative review.

Review of Commonwealth Administration, Review of Commonwealth Administration report, AGPS, Canberra, 1983

December 1983

A statement by the Prime Minister emphasises efficiency, effectiveness, equity and responsiveness to Ministers and the Parliament (leads to the Public Service Reform Act 1984 (Cth)).

R Hawke (Prime Minister), Reforming the Australian Public Service: A Statement of the Government's Intentions, AGPS, Canberra, 1983

1984

The Merit Protection and Review Agency is established to ensure that actions taken in relation to Commonwealth employees are fair and equitable.

The following measures are introduced in the Public Service Reform Act 1984 (Cth):

  • enshrinement of the merit principle
  • equal employment opportunity
  • industrial democracy
  • permanent part-time work
  • opening up of opportunities at lower levels
  • formation of the Senior Executive Service (SES) (effective 1 October 1984)
  • provision for consultants to be appointed by ministers, and
  • greater political role in appointing and managing departmental secretaries (no longer ‘Permanent Heads’).

Abolition of the Public Service Arbitrator.

Merit Protection (Australian Government Employees) Act 1984 (Cth) (repealed 1999)

Public Service Reform Act 1984 (Cth) (now defunct)

Conciliation and Arbitration Amendment Act (No. 2) 1983 (Cth) (repealed 1988)

February 1984

The Financial Management Improvement Program emphasises a shift away from compliance towards performance control (including program budgeting which is phased-in during the mid 1980s).

Australian Public Service Board and Department of Finance, Financial Management Improvement Program—Diagnostic Study, Government Printer, Canberra, 1984

21 March 1984

It is announced that a working party will monitor EEO practices in the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations and develop a management plan (other departments to follow).

 

26 March 1984

Cabinet agrees to proceed with changes outlined in Reforming the Australian Public Service: A Statement of the Government's Intentions.

 

April 1984

The Department of Finance Budget Reform paper sets out the Government's reform priorities:

  • better means of identifying and setting budget priorities
  • more emphasis on the goals and objectives of programs
  • improved performance and efficiency, and
  • effective review mechanisms.

Department of Finance, Budget Reform—A Statement of the Government's Achievements and Intentions in Reforming Australian Government Financial Administration, AGPS, Canberra, 1984

June 1984

The Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (Cth) takes effect. This Act creates a separate, formal legislative basis for the employment of staff by members of parliament, making such employment potentially independent from public service employment.

Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (Cth)

1985

The Public Service Board develops a model Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) agreement.

 

1986

The efficiency dividend impost on agencies is introduced in the 1986–87 Budget.

Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD), Submission to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, Inquiry into the effects of the ongoing efficiency dividend on smaller public sector agencies, July 2008, p. 1

11 June 1986

The Prime Minister announces the streamlining and rationalisation of some functions and agencies in response to difficult economic circumstances.

R Hawke, Address to the Nation on the Economic Situation, 11 June 1986

25 September 1986

In a ministerial statement to Parliament the Prime Minister announces:

  • the establishment of Efficiency Scrutiny Unit to investigate cost-saving opportunities
  • measures to enhance financial efficiency, including an efficiency dividend, and
  • changes to personnel management.

R Hawke, ‘Reform of the Australian Public Service’, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 September 1986, pp. 1448–54

1987

Restructuring and Efficiency Principle rationalises job classifications for clerical and support staff.

 

July 1987

The Efficiency Scrutiny Unit recommends the replacement of the Public Service Board with a Public Service Commission (holding a reduced role), the devolution of some functions to departments and the transfer of some functions to the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations and to the Department of Finance.

Efficiency Scrutiny Unit (EFU), Report by Efficiency Scrutiny Unit on proposed successor arrangements to the Public Service Board, EFU, Canberra, 1987

14 July 1987

The formation of ‘mega departments’ is announced, generally headed by a senior minister assisted by junior ministers (number of departments reduced from 28 to 18).

Prime Minister's media release, 14 July 1987

18 September 1987

The Public Service Board is replaced with the smaller Public Service Commission (some responsibilities transferred to the Department of Finance or the Department of Industrial Relations, or devolved to departments).

The Australian Public Service Management Advisory Board is established to advise the Government on significant management issues and act as a forum for consideration of major management activities (replaced by the Management Advisory Committee in 1999).

Administrative Arrangements Act 1987 (Cth) (now defunct)

April 1988

The Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Public Accounts (JCPA) commences a review of the Audit Office. The Committee’s report, delivered in April 1989, leads ultimately to the introduction of the Auditor-General Bill 1994, and finally the passage of the Auditor-General Act 1997 (Cth), which establishes the Auditor-General as an officer of the Parliament (see also related entry for 1 January 1998, below).

JCPA, The Auditor-General: Ally of the People and the Parliament—Reform of the Audit Office, Report no. 296

August 1988

Adoption of the Structural Efficiency Principle leads to rationalisation of job classifications for professional, technical and blue collar grades.

 

8 December 1988

The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) is passed, regulating the collection, handling and use of personal information by the Commonwealth, and also establishing the Privacy Commissioner within the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)

December 1989

The Management Improvement Advisory Committee is established to support the Management Advisory Board.

 

March 1990

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission replaces the Commonwealth's Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Aboriginal Development Commission, taking over responsibility for many of the Commonwealth’s indigenous programs.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 (Cth)

12 June 1990

The Privacy Commissioner releases a directory detailing the amount and type of records of a personal nature held by the Commonwealth.

Personal Information Digest, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sydney, 1989

August 1990

Decision to restructure the Commonwealth Bank in preparation for a partial public float heralds a series of major full or partial privatisations, including:

  • Commonwealth Bank
  • Qantas and Australian Airlines
  • Telstra (announced October 1997)
  • Major airports
  • Moomba-Sydney gas pipeline
  • National electricity transmission network
  • DASFLEET

DoFD, ‘Past Sales’, DoFD website.

Commonwealth Banks Restructuring Bill 1990, Bills Digest
(8 November 1990)

13 November 1990

An Economic Planning and Advisory Council (EPAC) report concludes that productivity improvements in the public sector have generally outpaced those in the private sector.

EPAC, The size and efficiency of the public sector, EPAC, Canberra, 1990

1991

OH&S programs are required in agencies, to be developed in consultation with unions.

Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (Cth)

July 1991

Agencies are allowed to use property service providers other than the Department of Administrative Services.

J Wanna, C Ryan, C Ng, From Accounting to Accountability. A Centenary History of the Australian National Audit Office, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2001,
p. 136

15 July 1992

It is announced that the Refugee Review Tribunal will replace the Refugee Status Review Committee, resulting in more limited avenues of appeal.

 

9 September 1992

It is announced that all new contracts with the Department of Administrative Services will include a clause requiring suppliers to comply with the EEO requirements of the Government.

 

6 November 1992

 A workplace agreement allowing for productivity reforms and agency-level bargaining is announced.

 

December 1992

An evaluation of a decade of management changes concludes that:

  • the direction of change was correct
  • changes were well accepted, and had many positive effects as well as some costs, and
  • further changes needed to be undertaken.

Task Force on Management Improvement, The Australian Public Service Reformed: An evaluation of a decade of management reform, AGPS, Canberra, 1992

 

A service-wide APS Agreement 1992–94 (extended to 1995) includes:

  • some funded wage increases
  • further pay negotiations at agency level, and
  • equalisation of pay on expiry of agreement.

Performance pay is introduced for SES and senior officers in order to encourage productivity growth (later wound back for senior officers).

Australian Government, Improving productivity, jobs and pay in the Australian Public Service 1992–94: Agreement between the Commonwealth Government and public sector unions, December 1992, Department of Industrial Relations, 1992

1993

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) undertakes an audit of the 1992 performance pay agreement. The audit finds almost all senior staff were given pay increases under the scheme, and that the scheme was a de facto system for awarding significant pay increases.

ANAO, ‘Performance Pay: Performance Appraisal and Pay in the Australian Public Service’, Audit Report no. 16, ANAO, Canberra, 1993

J Wanna, C Ryan, C Ng, From Accounting to Accountability. A Centenary History of the Australian National Audit Office, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2001,
pp. 142–46

1994

Provision of fixed term appointments for departmental Secretaries.

Prime Minister and Cabinet (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994 (Cth)

June 1994

In response to the 1989 JCPA report on the Audit Office, the Government introduces new financial accountability legislation. The Government also announces its intention that the Auditor-General be funded directly from the Budget and that a parliamentary Audit Committee be established. (Ultimately, no separate committee is established; instead, the JCPA becomes the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit).

L Scott, ‘Financial Management and Accountability Bill 1994; Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Bill 1994; Auditor-General Bill 1994: Second Reading’, House of Representatives, Debates, 8 December 1994, pp. 2278–79

‘Auditor plans are good, not ideal’, Canberra Times, 22 June 1994

7 October 1994

Cabinet introduces measures to enforce equal representation of women on public boards and committees.

 

1995

The report of the Public Service Act Review Group recommends that the Public Service Act 1922 (Cth) be replaced by a new Act that will be ‘built around the principles and values which stress the centrality of an apolitical public service with merit-based staffing, high standards of honesty and integrity, a strong focus on efficiency and results, and responsiveness and accountability to the government of the day while maintaining a capacity to provide quality and impartial advice.’

Public Service Act Review Group,, Report of the Public Service Act Review Group, AGPS, Canberra, 1994

1995

The Public Service and Merit Protection Commission (PSMPC) is established through the amalgamation of the Public Service Commission and the Merit Protection and Review Agency.

 

4 May 1995

The government announces plans to replace the Public Service Act 1922 (Cth) in response to the Public Service Act Review Group report.

 

July 1995

The government and unions agree to a service-wide enterprise agreement for 1995–96.

 

14 September 1995

An Administrative Review Council report into the effectiveness of the merits review tribunals makes a number of recommendations, including the consolidation of five tribunals into a single new tribunal.

Administrative Review Council, Better decisions: review of Commonwealth Merits Review Tribunals, Canberra, AGPS, 1995

September 1995

The service-wide APS agreement for 1995–96 includes a strategy for securing further efficiencies.

Department of Industrial Relations, Continuous Improvement in the APS: Enterprise agreement 1995-96: Agreement between the Commonwealth Government and public sector unions, Department of Industrial Relations, Canberra, 1995

1996

Six departmental secretaries’ appointments are terminated following the change of government. The departures are:

  • Christopher Conybeare (Immigration)
  • Peter Core (Transport)
  • Michael Costello (Foreign Affairs and Trade)
  • Stephen Duckett (Health)
  • Stuart Hamilton (Environment)
  • Derek Volker (Employment Education and Training)

‘Top bureaucrats victims of purge’, Sydney Morning Herald,
9 March 1996

 

The Industry Commission, Bureau of Industry Economics and Economic Planning Advisory Commission amalgamate on an administrative basis. In 1998 they become the Productivity Commission.

Productivity Commission Act 1998 (Cth)

History of the Productivity Commission’, Productivity Commission website

June 1996

The National Commission of Audit (established March 1996) recommends a more limited role for government, a greater emphasis on effectiveness and efficiency, and the separation of policy formation from program delivery.

National Commission of Audit, Report to the Commonwealth Government, AGPS, Canberra, 1996

November 1996

A discussion paper issued by the Hon Peter Reith MP leads to the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth) and the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 (Cth). It points to the potential benefits of flexibility, streamlining and cultural change.

P Reith (Minister for Industrial Relations), Towards a Best Practice APS, November 1996

 

The Small Business Deregulation Task Force reports to the government on ways to reduce the compliance burden on small businesses (e.g. a single entry point for the collection of information and the effective use of information technology).

Small Business Deregulation Task Force, Time for Business, Small Business Deregulation, Task Force, Canberra, 1996

December 1996

The following measures are contained in the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth):

  • it is illegal for agencies to pay employees while on strike, or using bans or limitations
  • limitations are placed on union officials’ access to workplaces
  • provision is made for agencies to make individual agreements with staff
  • award simplification, removing some rights that had been negotiated under previous awards, and
  • move from paid rate awards to minimum rate awards.

Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth)

1997

The government introduces the Public Service Bill 1997 (amended Bill passed in 1999).

March 1997

Agencies are to be responsible for agreement-making, using certified agreements and/or Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), and subject to the Government's policy parameters.

P Reith (Minister for Industrial Relations), Government approach to agreement making in the Australian Public Service, media release, 5 March 1997

March 1997

All government departments, agencies and business enterprises dealing with the public to be required to develop customer service charters.

G Prosser (Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs),, Putting service first in the public service, media release, 26 March 1997

20 March 1997

The Attorney-General announces that the government proposes to amalgamate the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Social Security Appeals Tribunal, the Immigration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review Tribunal to create a single review body to be called the Administrative Review Tribunal (expected to commence operations in February 2001).

D Williams (Attorney-General), Reform of merits tribunal, media release,
20 March 1997

D Williams (Attorney-General), Establishment of the Administrative Review Tribunal, media release, 9 May 2000

24 March 1997

The Prime Minister responds to the Time for Business report, agreeing to a range of measures including the ‘www.business.gov.au’ internet facility (launched July 1998).

J Howard, More Time for Business, AGPS, Canberra, 1997

25 April 1997

It is announced that departments’ information technology infrastructure will be outsourced to the private sector.

J Fahey (Minister for Finance), Outsourcing of Information Technology infrastructure, media release,
25 April 1997

July 1997

First AWA in the APS.

D Kemp (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service), ‘An Overview of APS Reforms—What we are doing’, 25 February 1998

24 September 1997

Launch of Centrelink, a statutory authority that provides customer services on behalf of several government agencies (a significant example of split between purchaser and provider of services).

Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency Act 1997 (Cth)

http://www.centrelink.gov.au/

26 November 1997

First Certified Agreements in the APS (agreements at department or agency level)—Public Service and Merit Protection Commission.

 

8 December 1997

11 December 1997

The government announces a commitment that all appropriate government services will be Internet-deliverable by 2001.

New purchasing arrangements are announced including the establishment of a new Purchasing Advisory and Complaints Service.

J Fahey (Minister for Finance and Administration), OGIT to play leading role bringing Australia online, media release, 8 December 1997

J Fahey (Minister for Finance and Administration), Government purchasing: a better deal for business, media release, 11 December 1997

J Fahey (Minister for Finance and Administration), New Purchasing Advisory and Complaints Service, media release, 9 March 1998

1998

The Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 (Cth) is passed, providing for the publication of:

  • regular reports setting out fiscal strategy
  • an intergenerational report at least once every five years assessing the long term sustainability of government policies
  • a pre-election economic and fiscal outlook report, and
  • costing of election commitments.

Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 (Cth)

1 January 1998

A package of new financial management legislation comes into effect; areas covered include:

  • responsibilities of agency heads in such areas as record keeping, fraud control and borrowing.
  • reporting and auditing requirements for Commonwealth authorities, as well as standards of conduct, and
  • more independence for the Auditor-General and a greater role for Parliament in advising of its audit priorities, approving the appointment of the Auditor-General and reviewing the budget of the Auditor-General.

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth)

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (Cth)

Auditor-General Act 1997 (Cth)

26 February 1998

It is announced that employment services will be contracted out to a range of organisations (to be known as the Job Network).

D Kemp (Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs), , New Job Network to replace the CES, media release, 26 February 1998

March 1998

Regulations are introduced into Parliament requiring the Public Service Commissioner to present an annual State of the Service Report to Parliament.

Public Service Regulations (Amendment—Interim Reforms) 1998 (repealed 1999)

11 March 1998

First fully-audited accrual financial statements for the Commonwealth.

J Fahey (Minister for Finance and Administration), Milestone reached in shift to accrual-based budget,
media release, 11 March 1998

April 1998

The Productivity Commission is established as the Government's principal review and advisory body on microeconomic policy and regulation.

Productivity Commission Act 1998 (Cth)

May 1998

New procurement guidelines provide ‘core policies and principles intended to strike a balance between prescription and empowerment so as to encourage agencies to obtain the best value from procurement, on a whole of life basis’.

Department of Finance and Administration (DoFA), Procurement Guidelines—core policies and principles, DoFA, 1998

1 July 1998

The Commonwealth’s policy of non-insurance is replaced with a policy of self-insurance, providing more incentive to manage risk.

J Fahey (Minister for Finance and Administration), Comcover: Responsible Risk Management for the Commonwealth Government, media release, 30 June 1998

3 July 1998

The Business Entry Point, a web-based information and transaction facility for businesses, is launched.

www.business.gov.au

3 August 1998

A booklet is launched outlining the government's expectations of the APS in areas such as customer focus, agreement-making and performance measurement.

PSMPC, APS Reform: Building on Good Practice, PSMPC, 1998

24 March 1999

The Remuneration Tribunal determines a new approach to setting the remuneration levels for departmental secretaries, including provision for an annual performance bonus, to become available during 1999–2000. The Prime Minister is to make a recommendation to the Tribunal on the performance of a secretary after considering a report prepared by the Secretary to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Public Service Commissioner.

 

11 May 1999

The First accrual Budget is delivered—agencies are funded for an agreed price for outputs, including non-cash items such as depreciation. The accrual budgeting framework includes the introduction of the Capital Use Charge and the Agency Banking Incentive Scheme (ABIS). The first requires agencies to include the costs of capital use to their operations; the second requires agencies to conduct their own banking and manage their annual appropriations.

J Fahey (Minister for Finance and Administration), First accrual-based Budget in 1999, media release, 24 November 1998

19 May 1999

The Senior Executive Leadership Capability Framework is launched. The Framework prioritises:

  • shaping strategic thinking
  • achieving results
  • cultivating productive working relationships
  • exemplifying personal drive and integrity, and
  • communicating with influence.

D Kemp (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service), Launch of the Senior Executive Leadership Capability Framework, media release, 19 May 1999

1 July 1999

Agencies are able to operate bank accounts with private sector banks, opening the Reserve Bank of Australia to competition.

J Fahey (Minister for Finance and Administration), Government to open its transactional banking to competition, media release, 31 July 1998

19 August 1999

The dismissal of Paul Barratt (Secretary of Defence) is upheld by the Federal Court:

  • a Prime Minister does not require cause to dismiss a secretary, and
  • a dismissed secretary is entitled to hear the grounds on which they are to be dismissed, and to put their case to the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Barratt v Howard [1999] FCA 1183

1 September 1999

The SES selection process is re-tuned so as to be based on the Senior Executive Leadership Capability Framework.

PSMPC Circular 1999/11, 25 August 1999

5 December 1999

The Public Service Act 1999 (Cth) and Parliamentary Service Act 1999 (Cth) take effect, establishing the separation of parliamentary departments from public service departments and enshrining a range of features, including:

  • values and codes of conduct
  • protection for whistleblowers
  • employment equity
  • prohibition on patronage and favouritism
  • streamlining of employment powers (including those of dismissal) of departmental secretaries, and
  • making provisions for departmental secretaries to enter into collective and/or individual employment contracts and agreements.

The Public Service Act 1999 also replaces the Management Advisory Board with the Management Advisory Committee.

Public Service Act 1999 (Cth)

Parliamentary Service Act 1999 (Cth)

9 May 2000

DoFA and the Office of Asset Sales and Information Technology Outsourcing are to jointly implement the market testing of Commonwealth activities and services, commencing with corporate services.

J Fahey (Minister for Finance and Administration),  2000-01 Budget: Government initiative in competitive tendering & contracting in the Australian Public Sector, media release, 9 May 2000

June 2001

The Senate orders that all APS agencies are to report twice a year on contracts greater than $100 000 in value, indicating each contract, the contractor, the contract subject matter,  whether any contract provisions require confidentiality or are regarded as confidential, and the estimated cost of complying with the order.

A Murray, ‘Government Agency Contracts’, Senate, Debates, 20 June 2001, p. 24755

November 2001

The PSMPC releases its State of the Service Statistical Bulletin for 2000–01 which shows that during the 2000–01 financial year the proportion of women in the public service reached 50 per cent for the first time in its history.

The Statistical Bulletin also shows that the long-term decline in the total number of public servants has halted.

PSMPC, State of the Service, Statistical Bulletin 2000–01, PSMPC, Canberra, 2001

28 February 2002

www.australia.gov.au, a single entry point for government information and services, is launched.

R Alston (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts), Launch of australia.gov.au, media release, 28 February 2002

www.australia.gov.au

21 June 2002

The PSMPC is renamed as the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), and increased priority is given to:

  • indigenous employment in the APS
  • evaluation responsibilities, and
  • partnerships with agencies to improve management practices.

 

1 July 2002

The required rate of return used to decide whether Commonwealth properties should be sold off is reduced from 14–15 per cent to 11 per cent. This is the result of a review that followed strong criticism from the Auditor-General in August 2001.

N Minchin (Minister for Finance and Administration), Reduction of the Commonwealth Property Principles hurdle rate, media release, 14 May 2002

ANAO, Commonwealth Estate Property Sales, Audit Report No. 4 2001–02, ANAO, Canberra, 2001

17 December 2002

Max Moore-Wilton, secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and dubbed the ‘second most powerful man in the Federal Government’ after the Prime Minister, announces his resignation after six years in the job. Moore-Wilton had been a driving force behind public service reforms, including seeking a controversial degree of responsiveness from the service and greater use of AWAs in Departments.

His replacement is Peter Shergold, former secretary of the Department of Education, Science and Training, who had also once been Public Service Commissioner (1996–98).

M Seccombe, ‘Max saw off the frank and fearless and then axed himself’, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 2002

E MacDonald, ‘Shergold appointed head of PM&C’, Canberra Times, 3 February 2003

May 2003

The 2003–04 Budget includes the scrapping of the Capital Use Charge and the ABIS. These decisions result from the Budget Estimates and Framework Review, completed in November 2002 by DoFA. The scrapping of the ABIS effectively marks the end of accrual budgeting (but not accrual accounting) in that agencies are allocated money as and when they need it and are no longer responsible for the custody of funds.

Report not published

Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2003–04, Australian Government, pp. 101, 237

June 2003

John Uhrig AO completes a review of the corporate governance of statutory authorities and office-holders (commissioned November 2002). Uhrig makes a number of recommendations including:

  • mechanisms for the clarification of government expectations of statutory authorities
  • governance boards should only be utilised in statutory authorities where they have full power to act, and
  • statutory authorities should be subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) and Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (Cth) frameworks as appropriate.

J Uhrig, Review of the Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders, Australian Government, Canberra, 2003

12 August 2004

The government accepts most of the recommendations in the Uhrig review report and commences progressive implementation.

N Minchin (Minister for Finance and Administration), Australian Government Response to Uhrig Report, media release, 12 August 2004

7 December 2004

Revised government procurement guidelines are introduced giving effect to government procurement obligations under the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement. Changes include a requirement for agencies to publish annual procurement plans.

S Stone, Selling Smarter to Government: Revised Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines Released, media release, 7 December 2004

ANAO, Implementation of the revised Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, ANAO, Canberra, 2007, p. 11

1 July 2005

The Australian Government Property Principles are replaced by the Australian Government Property Ownership Framework which applies to all agencies and bodies except government business enterprises.

DoFD, ‘The Australian Government Property Ownership Framework

3 December 2007

The government announces that all appointments of departmental secretaries will be for five years.

K Rudd (Prime Minister), Appointment of Departmental Secretaries, media release, 3 December 2007

December 2007

The APSC introduces guidelines for APS employees on participating in public information activities and government advertising. APS employees are not to be used in government advertising ‘unless that role is essential in the communication of an important message on an issue such as public health or similar’.

APSC, ‘Guidelines on the involvement of public servants in public information and awareness initiatives’, APSC, Canberra, December 2007

February 2008

The APS Australian Government Bargaining Framework is amended to provide that AWAs can no longer be offered to new or existing APS employees (legislation preventing the making of new AWAs comes into effect in March 2008).

J Gillard (Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations), Australian Government Bargaining Framework Released, media release, 1 September 2009

J Gillard (Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations), Proclamation of Transition to Forward with Fairness Act, media release, 27 March 2008

5 February 2008

The government announces that APS agency head and statutory office vacancies (other than departmental secretaries) will be advertised and subject to a formal merit assessment process.

J Faulkner (Special Minister of State), New Arrangements for Merit and Transparency in Senior Public Service Appointments, media release, 5 February 2008

6 February 2008

The government announces that it will pursue greater coordination of government procurement.

L Tanner (Minister for Finance and Deregulation), ‘Address to the National Press Club’, 6 February 2008

May 2008

The 2008–09 Budget imposes a one-off additional two per cent efficiency dividend on most government agencies for the 2008–09 financial year over and above the ongoing 1.25 per cent annual dividend (announced November 2007).

Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2008–09, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2008, pp. 321, 348

L Tanner (Minister for Finance and Deregulation), Labor Delivers on Savings, media release, 22 November 2007

24 June 2008

The Senate orders that ministers are to regularly table lists of government appointments to departments and agencies and approved grants.

Australia, Senate, Journals, no. 19, 2008, pp. 589–90

30 June 2008

Performance bonuses for departmental secretaries cease to be available; for the 2007–08 financial year secretaries are entitled to a payment in lieu of the bonus based on a percentage of total remuneration.

K Rudd (Prime Minister), Determination under Section 61: Secretaries’ remuneration and other conditions, June 2008

August 2008

Sir Peter Gershon CBE FREng completes a review of government use and management of information and communication technology (ICT) (commissioned April 2008). Gershon makes a number of recommendations including:

  • establishment of an ICT Ministerial Committee for whole-of-government ICT policy
  • a reduction in business-as-usual ICT expenditure with reinvestment of half of the savings to make ICT business-as-usual activities more efficient and effective
  • creation of an APS ICT career structure and increasing the number of APS ICT staff with a reduction in the use of ICT contractors, and
  • development of a whole-of-government ICT sustainability plan.

P Gershon, Review of the Australian Government’s Use of Information and Communication Technology, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2008, pp. 3–4

10 October 2008

New procurement guidelines are introduced (effective from 1 December 2008). Changes include coordinated procurement requirements for agencies.

L Tanner (Minister for Finance and Deregulation), New Procurement Guidelines, media release, 10 October 2008

Australian Government, Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2008

24 November 2008

The government accepts all of the recommendations of the Gershon ICT review and commences progressive implementation.

L Tanner (Minister for Finance and Deregulation), Government to implement Gershon ICT Review recommendations in full, media release, 24 November 2008

December 2008

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) completes an inquiry into the effect of the ongoing efficiency dividend on smaller agencies (commenced June 2008). The Committee makes a number of recommendations including:

  • exemption of the first $50 million of all agencies’ appropriations (except departments) from the efficiency dividend or at least the first $50 million of appropriations of agencies with departmental expenses of less than $150 million, and
  • development of a new funding model for cultural agencies.

See related entry for February 2010 below.

JCPAA, Report 413: The efficiency dividend and small agencies: Size does matter, JCPAA, Canberra, 2008, pp. xvi–xvii

25 February 2009

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (HRSCLACA) completes an inquiry into protection for whistleblowing in the Commonwealth public sector (commenced July 2008).

The Committee recommends the introduction of standalone legislation providing protection for whistleblowers in the Commonwealth public sector.

HRSCLACA, Whistleblower protection: a comprehensive scheme for the Commonwealth public sector, HRSCLACA, Canberra, 2009, pp. xix–xxv

25 February 2009

A revised Commonwealth Property Disposals Policy is issued. One new feature is the sale of surplus Commonwealth property that is suitable for facilitating new housing, improved community amenity and employment.

L Tanner (Minister for Finance and Deregulation), T Plibersek (Minister for Housing and the Status of Women), Government announces new guidelines for release of surplus Commonwealth land, media release, 25 February 2009

Australian Government, Commonwealth Property Disposals Policy, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, February 2009

28 July 2009

The government releases the Australian Government Procurement Statement; reforms include the appointment of a Procurement Coordinator with ‘oversight of Commonwealth procurement practices and policies’.

L Tanner (Minister for Finance and Deregulation), Australian Government Procurement Statement Released, media release, 28 July 2009

Australian Government, Australian Government Procurement Statement, Commonwealth of Australia, July 2009

1 September 2009

A new APS Australian Government Bargaining Framework is introduced. Under the new Framework:

  • enterprise agreements entered into after 1 September 2009 will have a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2011 in order to facilitate the making of new agreements under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), and
  • existing workplace agreements including AWAs will continue to operate until terminated or replaced in accordance with the relevant legislation.

J Gillard (Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations), Australian Government Bargaining Framework Released, media release, 1 September 2009

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), Australian Government Employment Bargaining Framework: Supporting Guidance September 2009, DEEWR, Canberra, pp. 5, 7, 13, 14

7 October 2009

Legislation comes into effect abolishing the use of conclusive certificates (a mechanism for exempting certain kinds of information from release in freedom of information matters).

Freedom of Information (Removal of Conclusive Certificates and Other Measures) Act 2009

28 October 2009

New Commonwealth Property Management Guidelines are introduced. Under the Guidelines all agencies are required to have property management plans in place by 1 October 2010.

There are no moves to centralised leasing or changes in relation to property ownership policy; leasing remains the government’s preference as opposed to ownership.

L Tanner (Minister for Finance and Deregulation), New Property Guidelines, media release, 28 October 2009

L Tanner (Minister for Finance and Deregulation), ‘The role of the Commonwealth Government in Canberra as a property owner and tenant’, speech to the Property Council of Australia, 28 October 2009

Australian Government, Commonwealth Property Management Guidelines, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2009, p. 4

December 2009

The government-appointed Government 2.0 Taskforce (appointed June 2009) completes its investigation into the use of web 2.0 by government. The Taskforce makes recommendations relating to various matters including public sector information openness and accessibility, online engagement of agencies and public servants, and adoption and use of web 2.0 tools by agencies.

The central recommendation is that the government make a declaration of open government regarding the release of public sector information, technology use for citizen engagement in policy-making and service provision, and online engagement by public servants.

Government 2.0 Taskforce, Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0, Government 2.0 Taskforce, 2010, pp. xvii–xxiii.

February 2010

The government responds to the JCPAA efficiency dividend inquiry recommendations.

The recommendation that agencies’ appropriations be partially exempted from the efficiency dividend is rejected; the recommendation that a new funding model be developed for cultural agencies is agreed in principle.

Australian Government, Government Response to Report 413, DoFD, Canberra, 2010

26 February 2010

The Australian Information Commissioner is appointed (commences 1 November 2010).

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, a new agency with oversight of freedom of information and privacy matters, is also scheduled to commence operations on 1 November 2010.

J Ludwig (Special Minister of State), Appointment of the Information Commissioner Designate, media release, 26 February 2010

J Ludwig (Special Minister of State), Opening of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, media release, 7 June 2010

March 2010

The government-appointed Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration (AGRAGA) (established September 2009) proposes a blueprint for reform of the APS. Recommendations include:

  • restructuring the APSC and augmenting its role
  • revising employment arrangements for secretaries
  • reviewing the size and role of the SES
  • revising and embedding the APS Values
  • periodic reviews of agencies’ institutional capabilities, and
  • reviewing existing efficiency mechanisms within the APS such as the efficiency dividend.

AGRAGA, Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Canberra, 2010, pp. 80–81

17 March 2010

The government agrees with many of the recommendations of the HRSCLACA inquiry report on whistleblower protection and announces that it intends to introduce standalone whistleblower protection legislation in 2010.

J Ludwig (Special Minister of State), Government announces whistleblower protection scheme, media release, 17 March 2010

Australian Government, Whistleblower protection: a comprehensive scheme for the Commonwealth public sector: Government response, Commonwealth of Australia, 2010

3 May 2010

The government agrees with most of the recommendations of the Government 2.0 Taskforce.

L Tanner, Rudd Government releases Gov 2.0 Response, media release, 3 May 2010

Australian Government, Government Response to the Report of the Government 2.0 Taskforce, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2010

8 May 2010

The government accepts all of the recommendations of the AGRAGA blueprint.

K Rudd (Prime Minister), ‘A new era for the Australian Public Service and the ANU: Speech at the opening of the J. G. Crawford Building at the ANU’, 8 May 2010

May 2010

Further to the AGRAGA blueprint recommendations, the 2010–11 Budget provides the APSC with increased funding over 2010–13. The APSC’s augmented role will include:

  • implementation of half of the AGRAGA recommendations and reporting to government on the overall implementation of the APS reforms
  • provision of some centralised services to the APS, and
  • assumption of the policy function for APS ‘agreement-making, classification structures ... pay and employment conditions, work level standards and workplace relations advice’.

Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2010–11, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2010, p. 283

Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2010–11: budget related paper no. 1.16: Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2010, pp. 111–12

May 2010

Further to the AGRAGA blueprint recommendations, the APSC commences the process of revising the APS Values.

S Sedgwick, ‘Strategic policy development and APS values’, speech to the Leaders in the Public Sector Conference 2010

APSC, ‘Improving APS Values

May 2010

Further to the AGRAGA blueprint recommendations a new APS leadership group, the Secretaries Board (consisting of all departmental secretaries and the APS Commissioner) is established. The Secretaries Board is intended to supersede the Management Advisory Committee and Portfolio Secretaries meeting.

A new leadership forum, the APS 200 (comprising senior SES staff from a range of APS agencies) is also established.

AGRAGA, Staying Ahead of the Game: What does the Blueprint mean?, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Canberra, 2010, p. 5

APSC, ‘Secretaries Board and the APS 200

16 July 2010

Further to the recommendations of the Government 2.0 Taskforce, the government makes a Declaration of Open Government. The Declaration commits the government to ‘open government based on a culture of engagement, built on better access to and use of government held information, and sustained by the use of innovative technology’.

The Declaration also states that APS agencies are to ‘develop policies that support employee-initiated, innovative Government 2.0-based proposals’.

L Tanner (Minister for Finance and Deregulation), Declaration of Open Government, 16 July 2010

DoFD, ‘Declaration of Open Government

September 2010

Following the 2010 general election the government agrees to a greater emphasis on regional affairs and policy. Changes for the APS include the establishment of:

  • a dedicated department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
  • a coordinating unit within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and
  • an agency to provide advice to the public on regional health and aged care.

J Gillard, W Swan, R Oakeshott, T Windsor, The Australian Labor Party & the Independent  Members (Mr Tony Windsor and Mr Rob Oakeshott) (‘the Parties’)—Agreement, 7 September 2010

Australian Government, Administrative Arrangements Order, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 14 September 2010, p. 33

 

 

Glossary

ABIS

Agency Banking Incentive Scheme

AGRAGA

Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration

APS

Australian Public Service

APSC

Australian Public Service Commission

AWA

Australian Workplace Agreement

DoFA

Department of Finance and Administration

DoFD

Department of Finance and Deregulation

EEO

Equal Employment Opportunity

EPAC

Economic Planning and Advisory Council

HRSCLACA

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

ICT

Information and communication technology

JCPA

Joint Committee on Public Accounts

JCPAA

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit

MAC

Management Advisory Committee

OH&S

Occupational Health and Safety

PSMPC

Public Service and Merit Protection Commission

SES

Senior Executive Service

SFPARC

Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee

SFPALC

Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee

SSCFPA

Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration

Bibliography of selected publications since 2000

Parliamentary Library

Grant R, The Uhrig Review and the future of statutory authorities, Research note, no. 50, 2004–05, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2005, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FAS6G6%22

Holland I, Accountability of Ministerial Staff?, Research paper, no. 19, 2001–02, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2002, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FBMS66%22

–      Is there adequate Parliamentary scrutiny of government contracts?, Research note, no. 38, 2002–03, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2003, viewed 7 October 2010,

–      http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2F6XF96%22

–      Members of Parliament (Staff) Act: Background, Research note, no. 14, 2002–03, Department of the Parliamentary Library, 2002, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FNJM76%22

Holland I, Prince P, Public Servants Speaking Publicly: The Bennett Case, Research note, no. 31, 2003–04, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2004, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FQ0NB6%22

Horne N, The Members of Parliament (Staff) Act framework and employment issues, Research paper, no. 3, 2009–10, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2009, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FZKBU6%22

Nethercote J, Departmental Machinery of Government Since 1987, Research paper, no. 24, 1998–99, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 1999, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FT0D06%22

Verspaandonk R, Accrual Budgeting—State of Play, Research note, no. 30, 1999–2000, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2000, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FG7H16%22

–      Commonwealth Government Service Charters, Research note, no. 32, 2000–01, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2001, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FPP446%22

–      Outsourcing—For and Against, Current issues brief, no. 18, 2000–01, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2001, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FPSD46%22

–      The Independence of the Auditor-General, Research note, no. 16, 2000–01, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2000, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2F5M036%22

Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration

Reform of Australian Government Administration: Building the world’s best public service, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Canberra, 2009, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.dpmc.gov.au/publications/aga_reform/aga_discussion/index.cfm 

KPMG, Benchmarking Australian Government Administration Performance, KPMG, 2009, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.dpmc.gov.au/publications/aga_reform/aga_reform_benchmarking/index.cfm 

Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Canberra, 2010, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.dpmc.gov.au/publications/aga_reform/aga_reform_blueprint/index.cfm

Staying Ahead of the Game: What does the Blueprint mean?, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Canberra, 2010, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.dpmc.gov.au/publications/aga_reform/aga_reform_blueprint/blueprint.cfm 

Parliamentary Committees

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit

Report 374: Review of Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, JCPAA, Canberra, 2000, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jcpaa/fma/contents.htm

Report 377: Guidelines for Government Advertising, JCPAA, Canberra, 2000, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jcpaa/ceip/contents.htm

Report 379: Contract Management in the Australian Public Service, JCPAA, Canberra, 2000, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jcpaa/contracts/contents.htm

Report 386: Review of the Auditor-General Act 1997, JCPAA, Canberra, 2001, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jcpaa/auditor-generalactreview/contents.htm

Report 388: Review of the Accrual Budget Documentation, JCPAA, Canberra, 2002, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jcpaa/accrualbudget/contents.htm

Report 399: Inquiry into the Management and Integrity of Electronic Information in the Commonwealth, JCPAA, Canberra, 2004, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jcpaa/electronic_info/report.htm

Report 413: The efficiency dividend and small agencies: Size does matter, JCPAA, Canberra, 2008, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jcpaa/efficdiv/report.htm

Previous JCPAA inquiry reports are available at the Committee website: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jcpaa/reports.htm

Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee (SFPARC);
Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee (SFPALC);
Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration (SSCFPA)

Australian Public Service employment matters—First report: Australian Workplace Agreements, SFPARC, Canberra, 2000, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/1999-02/aps_employ/index

Commonwealth contracts: a new framework for accountability—Final report on the inquiry into the mechanism for providing accountability to the Senate in relation to Government contracts, SFPARC, Canberra, 2001, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/1999-02/dept_agency_contracts/report2/index

Re-booting the IT agenda in the Australian Public Service—Final report on the Government’s Information Technology Outsourcing Initiative, SFPARC, Canberra, 2001, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/1999-02/it_outsourcing/index

Departmental and agency contracts: Report on the first year of operation of the Senate order for the production of lists of departmental and agency contracts, SFPARC, Canberra, 2002, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/1999-02/accnt_contract/index

 

Recruitment and Training in the Australian Public Service, SFPARC, Canberra, 2003, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/2002-04/aps_recruit_training/report/index

Staff employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984, SFPARC, Canberra, 2003, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/2002-04/mops/index

Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Amendment (Employee Involvement and Compliance) Bill 2002, SFPALC, Canberra, 2004, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/2002-04/ohs/index8

Government advertising and accountability, SFPARC, Canberra, 2005, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/2004-07/govtadvertising/report/index

Departmental and agency contracts: Second report on the operation of the Senate order for the production of lists of departmental and agency contracts (2003–06), SSCFPA, Canberra, 2007, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/order_on_contracts/report2/index

Transparency and accountability of Commonwealth public funding and expenditure, SSCFPA, Canberra, 2007, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/2004-07/funding_expenditure_06/report/index

Freedom of Information (Removal of Conclusive Certificates and other Measures) Bill 2008 [2009], SSCFPA, Canberra, 2009, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed%20inquiries/2008-10/foi_ic/index

Earlier inquiry reports for the various Senate Finance and Public Administration Committees are available at the Committees’ website:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Completed_inquiries

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (HRSCLACA)

Whistleblower protection: a comprehensive scheme for the Commonwealth public sector, HRSCLACA, Canberra, 2009, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=laca/whistleblowing/report.htm

Management Advisory Committee (MAC)

Performance management in the Australian Public Service: a strategic framework, MAC, Canberra, 2001, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications01/performancemanagement.htm

Australian Government use of information and communication technology, MAC, Canberra, 2002, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.apsc.gov.au/mac/technology.htm

Organisational renewal, MAC, Canberra, 2003, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.apsc.gov.au/mac/organisationrenewal.htm

Connecting Government: Whole of Government Responses to Australia’s Priority Challenges, MAC, Canberra, 2004, viewed 7 October 2010,

http://www.apsc.gov.au/mac/connectinggovernment.htm

Working together: Principles and practices to guide the Australian Public Service, MAC, Canberra, 2005, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.apsc.gov.au/mac/workingguide.htm

Managing and Sustaining the APS workforce, MAC, Canberra, 2005, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.apsc.gov.au/mac/apsworkforce.htm

Employment of people with disability in the APS, MAC, Canberra, 2006, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.apsc.gov.au/mac/disability.htm

Note for file: A report on recordkeeping in the Australian Public Service, MAC, Canberra, 2007, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.apsc.gov.au/mac/noteforfile.htm

Reducing Red Tape in the Australian Public Service, MAC, Canberra, 2007, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.apsc.gov.au/mac/redtape.htm



[1].       This chronology only discusses reforms in the Commonwealth public service.

[2].       For a discussion of machinery of government changes in the late 1980s, see J Nethercote, Departmental Machinery of Government Since 1987, Research paper, no. 24, 1998–99, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 1999, viewed 7 October 2010, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FT0D06%22

[3].       See O Hughes, Australian Politics, third edn, Macmillan, South Yarra, 1998 (Chapter 11) for a concise discussion and critique of the ‘old’ APS.

[4].       Ibid., p. 366.

[5].       J Halligan and J Power, Political Management in the 1990s, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1992, p. viii.

[6].       A complete list of amendments to the Public Service Act 1922 (Cth) can be found at http://scaletext.law.gov.au/html/histact/8/4049/0/HA002730.htm, viewed 7 October 2010

[7].       Public Service and Merit Protection Commission (PSMPC), State of the Service Report 1999–00, PSMPC, Canberra, 2000, p. 55, viewed 7 October 2010,

          http://www.apsc.gov.au/stateoftheservice/stateservice9900.pdf

[8].       The ‘unadjusted’ line represents absolute staff numbers, whereas the ‘adjusted’ line ‘takes account of coverage changes in the APS over the period, adjusting for employees and functions that moved into or out of coverage under the Act’: Australian Public Service Commission (APSC), State of the Service Report 08–09, APSC, Canberra, 2009, p. 2, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.apsc.gov.au/stateoftheservice/0809/report.pdf

[9].       For most of its existence the efficiency dividend has been applied at a rate of either one per cent or one-and-a-quarter per cent per financial year.

[10].      Department of Finance and Deregulation, Submission to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, Inquiry into the effects of the ongoing efficiency dividend on smaller public sector agencies, July 2008, pp. 1–2, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=jcpaa/efficdiv/subs.htm

[11].     This chronology will focus on identifying reforms rather than explaining the reasons for them. For discussions of the latter, see O Hughes, ‘New Public Management: A Parliamentary Perspective’ Working Paper 27/00, Monash University, 2000.

[12].      For a discussion of other Anglo-American democracies see M de Laine, International Themes in Public Service Reform, Background Paper, no. 3, 1997–98, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 1997, viewed 7 October 2010, http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/Publications_Archive/Background_Papers/bp9798/98bp03#INTRO

For copyright reasons some linked items are only available to members of Parliament.


In essence, you are free to copy and communicate this work in its current form for all non-commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the work to the author and abide by the other licence terms. The work cannot be adapted or modified in any way. Content from this publication should be attributed in the following way: Author(s), Title of publication, Series Name and No, Publisher, Date.

To the extent that copyright subsists in third party quotes it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.

Inquiries regarding the licence and any use of the publication are welcome to webmanager@aph.gov.au.

This work has been prepared to support the work of the Australian Parliament using information available at the time of production. The views expressed do not reflect an official position of the Parliamentary Library, nor do they constitute professional legal opinion.

Feedback is welcome and may be provided to: web.library@aph.gov.au. Any concerns or complaints should be directed to the Parliamentary Librarian. Parliamentary Library staff are available to discuss the contents of publications with Senators and Members and their staff. To access this service, clients may contact the author or the Library‘s Central Entry Point for referral.

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print
Back to top