Times have changed

This column by Barry Cohen reminded me of an anecdote from the just concluded Radio National Hindsight four part series on the Liberal Party.  In it someone explains how when Bob Menzies offered him a job in his office Menzies didn’t want to know how he voted, and explicitly said that he made no assumptions on that score but hoped that the recruit would not feel that he was involved in anything unconscionable.

Times have changed – in that regard much for the worse.

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ansteybranchopolous
ansteybranchopolous
14 years ago

There is a fairly obvious answer to this – the ALP is replete with hacks and subservients who cant do much elese except politics – their incoles depend on a gutlessness that they trust wil be rewarded one day – check out the gene pool in the ALP now – its shallow and will get more shallow so long as the conveyor belt of hack – unionist MP continues to churn out the likes of the Fergusons.

ansteybranchopolous
ansteybranchopolous
14 years ago

ahh the ever present two party duopolists are never far from the surface – ALP and Liberals have merged into one – get with the program and check out The Greens

Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton
14 years ago

In this regard, things have changed for the better in my view. Minister’s offices need to be political, as their primary task is to help the Minister navigate the political system to achieve his or her goals. In this, having political connections and political experience are major advantages. Also, a high level of trust is required, and unfortunately the number of leaks from the public service shows that this cannot be taken for granted.

It is better for there to be a clear structural separation between Ministerial staff, who are party political, and public servants, who should be professional enough to implement any legislated policy.

Andrew Norton
Andrew Norton
14 years ago

Nick – Politics is a small part of live overall (one of Australia’s political achievements – most people don’t need to worry about politics) but is a big part of life for those who end up working in Ministers offices. Being able to trust and have confidence in your colleagues is vitally important. This does not preclude good relationships in other contexts with people from other parties. Indeed, in my time in Parliament House I was impressed by how smooth interpersonal relations were between the parties, despite the ritual criticisms seen in the media. Though working for a Liberal Education Minister I still found our then Shadow, that famous Liberal hater Mark Latham, to be perfectly civil.