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Public Sector Informant : PSI - September
Thursday 21 October 2010 8:00am -- 8:25am Delegate Registration 8:30am -- 8:45am Official Opening and Welcome 8:50am -- 9:35am Keynote Presentation 1 The global pressures for Governments to review and share responsibilities 9:40am -- 10:55am Panel Session 1 Responsibilities, Inter-Governmental Frameworks, Service Delivery -- How can we gain from shared responsibilities without losing accountability? 11:00am -- 11:30am Morning Tea Break 11:35am -- 12:50pm Responsibilities -- Sharing Responsibility for Water Security Inter-Governmental Frameworks -- Making National Health Reform Work Service Delivery -- Delivering Services and Infrastructure in Practice 12:55pm -- 1:55pm Lunch Break 2:00pm -- 3:15pm Responsibilities -- Virtual Delivery -- Defining Responsibility in an Online World Inter-Governmental Frameworks -- International Issues and Developments Concerning Inter-Governmental Relations Service Delivery -- Service Delivery for Remote and Indigenous Communities 3:20pm -- 3:50pm Afternoon Tea Break 3:55pm -- 5:10pm Hypothetical - Sharing Responsibilities: Making it happen or passing the buck? 5:15pm -- 5:30pm Closing Remarks Day 1 5:30pm -- 6:30pm Pre Dinner Drinks 6:30pm -- 11:00pm Conference Dinner Friday 22 October 2010 8:00am -- 8:25am Delegate Registration 8:30am -- 8:45am Welcome Day 2 8:50am -- 9:35am Keynote Presentation 2 The new social media and its possibilities for social democracy CONFERENCE PROGRAM 2010 IPAA NATIONAL CONFERENCE Thursday 21 & Friday 22 October 2010 Adelaide Convention Centre - South Australia 9:40am -- 10:55am Panel Session 2 New Technology: Opportunities and Challenges 11:00am -- 11:30am Morning Tea Break 11:35am -- 12:50pm Responsibilities -- Active Citizenship in the New Joined-Up Age Inter-Governmental Frameworks -- Making COAG Work Service Delivery -- Co-Creation of Services -- Government and Citizens as Partners 12:55pm -- 1:55pm Lunch Break 2:00pm -- 2:45pm Keynote Presentation 3 Intergovernmental cooperation in practice -- the response to the February 2009 Victorian bushfires 2:50pm -- 3:50pm Panel Session 3 Meaningful Conclusions Reached and Possibilities Moving Forward 3:55pm -- 4:05pm Closing Remarks / 2011 Conference Launch 4:10pm -- 4:55pm Garran Oration-- Chief Justice James Spigelman 5:00pm -- 6:00pm Closing Drinks Book Online: www.ipaanationalconference.org.au Sponsorship Excellent sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities still exist, call today on (07) 3228 2821 to discuss the package options [SEPTEMBER 2010] THE PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMANT 5 Together, Gillard and Abbott were able to spread further that great pox on the body politic: the lavish distribution of pork in marginal electorates. vealed he knocked back an offer of $1 billion from Abbott for his support and paraded as a virtue that Gillard had bought him off for a mere $340 million and a swag of other concessions. ''We need to make sure this isn't just an exercise about pork- barrelling,'' he said. Yes, not just pork, which was only about 99 per cent of the meat. Needless to say, Wilkie is ardently in favour of accountable and ethical government. The Independent MP for Lyne, Rob Oakeshott, is also interested in more accountable government. At the same time he's floated the possibility of a ''unity government'' whose togetherness would no doubt reduce the flow of accountability to a trickle. Finally, there are the Greens, the big winners in the election. They have bled the ALP of a sufficient number of adherents to keep its primary vote well below 40 per cent. The Greens will invariably occupy political acreage to the left of Labor and, notwithstanding deals on preferences and their recent ''agree- ment'' with Gillard, they will con- tinue to make the ALP's electoral life difficult. From July 2011, they will have the balance of power in the Senate. Unfortunately, the Greens possess the opportunism usually as- sociated with the morally righteous, be it voting in the Senate against putting a price on carbon through to notionally resisting well-justified pay increases for politicians. For as long as they persist with such grandstand- ing, there's plenty of room for scepticism about the extent to which the Greens can be a force for good. As the Independents ponder whether they will back the ALP or the Coalition, the caretaker conventions and the policy costing provisions of the Charter of Budget Honesty are being given an extra workout. To the person at a computer, it is not easy to discover just what the Independents asked for by way of briefing and information from the public service, in part because flaws in the caretaker conventions have lessened what otherwise would be available on ministerial and depart- mental websites. It would appear that they have requested: Information on the costing of government and opposition policies. Briefings from officials on the administration of these policies. Access to folders of incoming government briefs routinely prepared by departments on the major parties' election policies and used as a basis for first dealings between the public service and a new government. The incoming government briefs should only be provided to the incoming government. They contain intimate policy advising the disclos- ure of which to any other party would risk significant damage to effective working relations between a new government and the public service without any compensating public interest benefit. The request for information on the costing of the election policies of Labor and the Coalition is reasonable and, after Abbott's baffling initial refusal to cooperate, this has been done. The Independents' request, however, has highlighted the frailty of those provisions of the so-called Charter of Budget Honesty envisag- ing that political parties will allow their election policies to be provided to the Treasury and Finance Depart- ment for costings that would be published by those departments before the election. Both the ALP and the Coalition have failed to live up to the expectations of the charter, though the Coalition plumbed new depths of hypocrisy when it said it would not do so until the source of a leak, allegedly from Treasury, was discovered. This is from a mob which actively, wrongly and foolishly solicited leaks from former Treasury officer Godwin Grech. While these costings have now been published in the media (presum- ably courtesy of the Independents), it is disappointing that at the time of writing they have not been placed on Treasury's website. Moreover, Treasury and Finance should be asked to provide costings on the policies and current requests of all the Independents, especially those of Wilkie and Katter. That information should be published by the relevant departments. It may also be reasonable for the Independents to be able to discuss policies now in contention with senior officials, provided those discu- ssions are confined to factual advice, especially about administrative as- pects. Under no circumstances should officials provide policy advice or counsel to the Independents or express opinions on the policies of any of the parties. Such an arrange- ment would be consistent with the spirit if not the letter of the provisions in the caretaker conventions dealing with pre-election consultation by opposition parties with the public service. In the dispiriting gloom of the election and its aftermath, the possi- bility of some improvements in the working of the Parliament is a small bright spot. This well-travelled path is littered with more broken hopes than achievements and the welter of suggestions now coming from many quarters lack coherence and clarity. Perhaps it would be better to concen- trate on a few big things like: Fixed four-year terms. Eiminating the possibility of a tied election by arranging an uneven number of seats in the House. A truly independent speaker for the House and president for the Senate; that is to say, an appointment from outside the ranks of the elected. Abandonment of the arrangement whereby questions without notice follows a whips' list of questioners and a reversion to the good old days where the speaker and the president called questioners at random from one side or the other in turn. Amendments to standing orders to require the ruling out of order, without allowing dissent or a vote on any such rulings, any question with- out notice about which there is the faintest whiff of the Dorothy Dixer. Finally, while there has been much blather over the past few weeks about the importance of ''stable govern- ment'', the current composition of the lower house cannot be relied on to provide stability no matter what agreements are reached with the Independent MPs, who will continue to use their strength to extort more for their electorates. Notwithstanding the experience in some state govern- ments, the current crop of federal Independents is likely to make gov- ernment inherently unstable. They are all now willing to sell themselves off. The behaviour of Wilkie and Katter in particular is not that of people of principle but of people of pork, and pork is an unstable foundation for any government. Nevertheless, that is what electors have voted for and there are good reasons why they should not be protected from the consequences of their collective decisions. As the great American journalist and literary critic H. L. Mencken said, ''Democ- racy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and they deserve to get it good and hard.'' Paddy Gourley is a former senior public servant. firstname.lastname@example.org
PSI - October