Some thoughts from on high

Sometimes we should just be grateful in this country for the steady hand on the tiller at the very highest levels. People might mock but it’s easy to mock.

Philip Lowe wants us to take a bow!

I don’t think we should forget that more Australians have jobs today than ever before in Australian history. That’s a remarkable achievement. [Even more remarkably, this remarkable achievement is remarkably achieved in most countries about 80 per cent of the time where it nevertheless tends to go less remarked on].

Australian Public Service Commissioner Peter Woolcott wants us to know that it’s not just business-as-usual with the Thodey Review. Well it is kind of business-as-usual, but in a very good way, indeed a way that looks like it has not been precedented (if you know what I mean) over the last 15 years.

Some of the more sceptical among you will point to the numerous reviews of the public service over the last 15 years and question whether this will be any different.

It is different this time — and different for a number of reasons. Firstly, you have strong direction from the government with the PM’s sharp focus on implementation and the Australian people [All previous Prime Ministers over the last 15 years had a fuzzy focus on implementation and were closer to the Chilean than the Australian people at least judging from their secret handshake]; second you have an APS leadership that is committed to reform and understands absolutely the importance of good governance and staying relevant [It was not committed to reform over the previous 15 years and of those public servants who were, they only understand the importance of good government relatively. As for staying relevant – well they were relevant – but that was then. One has to stay relevant and pretty obviously it’s hard for public servants of 15 years ago to be relevant to today – for instance how many of them knew about Adele?]; thirdly, the speed of technological and societal change is creating its own momentum [just 15 years ago we were still phasing out horses. Indeed, horses were put before carts in those days, but not any more.]; and finally, layered on top, are public expectations [15 years ago public expectations tended to be layered very much more towards the middle of whatever it is that they’re layered on top of now, but it is true that those expectations have been managed upwards, so it’s no surprise where they are now].

In this week’s weekend competition you’re encouraged to suggest other examples from around the world and from the annals of history. Prizes include a weekend as co-president of the Free World with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago with a night out in his famed electro-plated panel van “Golden Stormy”.

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Dapper Happer
Dapper Happer
2 years ago

“I don’t think we should forget that more Australians have jobs today than ever before in Australian history.”

Is it counted as employed simply because you are being denied Newstart? Is that what employed means? We don’t want to have too much confidence in these figures.

David Walker
David Walker(@d-w-griffiths)
2 years ago

Lowe I cut plenty of slack, because RBA speeches are usually terrific.

Woolcott’s speech was genuinely awful. It must have been depressing for public servants to listen to.