The purpose of the public service is to produce things (mainly services). Hopefully these products are valued (by the people of Australia) and are produced efficiently. Now we are pretty sure that the public service produces outputs that are not valued, and often inefficiently. We also know that the Australian public service has grown by about 10 000 to 260 000 under the Rudd and Gillard governments.
But it seems that Wayne Swan wants to make the Australian public service even less efficient. He promises to reduce the outputs of the public service (after all, isn’t that what savings measures are about?), while keeping the same number of public servants. So output per public servant will decline.
Again, we may not value all of the outputs of the public service, which are often inefficiently produced. But surely it must be a first for government to publicly admit that it wants the public service to be less efficient? Shielding public servants from savage budget cuts just protects the insiders (the public servants) at the expense of the outsiders (the public). After all, the same quantity of budget savings could be achieved with less impact on the general citizen if public service number fell in line with overall expenditure (or perhaps by a greater amount, since we should demand increased efficiency, not less).
So the Parliamentary departments have been excluded from the so-called savings measures:
It also does not apply to the Departments of the Senate or the House of Representatives, reflecting the importance of the chamber departments in the functioning of the Federal Parliament.
Not only is there a lot of fat in the parliamentary departments, but this says that serving the Federal Parliament is more important than serving the people of Australia. No wonder people think politicians are out of touch. Can’t we get savings in Peter Slipper’s office?