Top mandarins aren’t forever

In The Australian today:

“According to Anthony Albanese, the sacking of three department heads and the announcement that a fourth would step down amounts to treating the public service as “political playthings”.

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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22 Responses to Top mandarins aren’t forever

  1. Jazza

    Ha,ha! But only when the Conservatives do it!
    Not a peep from the leftist media when Labor does it!

  2. JohnA

    Aha! Today’s “Me, too!” thread!

  3. Token

    …amounts to treating the public service as “political playthings”.

    Will somebody pop down to Albo’s favourite Thai Rub’N’Tug and explain to the girls that according to Albo’s rules, he is stuck with whatever man or woman the head of the business dictates, and can not ask for his favourite.

  4. tomix

    leftist media

    pleonasm or tautology ?

  5. TOP

    Oh…..poor Mr Albasleazy is upset at treating the Public Service as a plaything……as opposed to him and his moronic party treating the PUBLIC as playthings.

    I know he has to say something, but this buffoon wants to be Prime Minister? Turns out, you’re just a politician of no consequence! And your friend Shortarse……well, he’s just another moron who thinks the sun shines out of his arses…..he does have two.

  6. candy

    Perhaps he’s just aiming at this stage to impress the Labor membership with his opposition leader type skills.

  7. Anne

    #1010943, posted on September 23, 2013 at 7:39 am
    leftist media

    pleonasm or tautology ?

    Nice spoonerism Tomix. You mean “neoplasm” right?

  8. Paul CO

    Why is there so much support for Albanese? Even A Bolt seems to like him. The guy’s a looser. Cannot speak peoperly and apparantly in person cannot make a decision.

  9. You mean “neoplasm” right?

    Pleonasm is correct. But you do have a point. Nice pickup on the anagram there. 🙂

  10. tomix

    You mean “neoplasm” right
    i do now – neoplasm and tautology

  11. Up The Workers!

    So the “True Thai Rub-And-Tug”‘s most famous “tugee”, Alwaysleazy Albanese (the A.L.P.’s former Deputy Prime Brothel-Crawler), thinks that Tony Abbott is using public servants as “playthings”?

    I thought that was what Alwaysleazy’s opponent as A.L.P. leader, Short Willy did – just before he packed them off down to the abortion clinic to be “fixed up” for further duties under his enlightened leadership.

    Alwaysleazy of course would never lower himself to such sordid activities – he always uses the 457 Visa girls down the Marrickville “Rub-And-Tug”.

  12. struth

    ‘Aw Geez, I don’t like ut when me Austrayan public service is picked on .But I don’t mind makin’ up names for the achool workers pwotesting against me and me best mate Lindsay Fox. Those Fu… dumb arsed, bastards from private enterprise like that convoy of incontina……uncoount…….incontine………old bastards with no bwadder contwol, well thats roolly cool and that.’

  13. struth

    Look it up, I believe his dad was “uncle Arthur” and his mum was “Mrs Sparkle”

  14. candy

    he guy’s a looser. Cannot speak properly and apparently in person cannot make a decision.

    Perhaps there’s not a level of ‘sophistication’ there needed for the top job if that’s what A.Albanese is aiming for.

    He has already alienated conservatives by his convoy of no consequence and fighting tories remarks, but I doubt the ALP memberhsip minds that, in fact they probably think it is really top stuff.

  15. struth

    A level of sophistication ………………………he has none at all.
    A small smidgen should even be required by labor, although we don’t expect much.
    This bloke is so dumb that as transport minister, in a labor government he was completely controlled by one big business owner, and as his puppet minister made rules only to benefit that particular business. Totally without a clue, and taken out to dinner by big business, the word incompetent is just not strong enough for this dope.

  16. Fred Lenin

    I wonder if comrades albosleazy and shortass coul stand a thorough investigation of All their affairs ,past and present ?Come to think of it could most politicians and members of the “law trade ” withstand such investigations?I strongly suspect few of them dont have Skeletons in the Closet! Raise your right hand if you are in favour of this proposal!

  17. Jazza

    Er,the references to a knock shop might be a bit over the top???

    I do hear that Albo has talked to Ray Hadley about a certain picture of him and Ray now won’t hear of anyone condemning that good fellow Anthony Albo as a brothel frequenter.
    Pity I can’t tell you why he went to the Thai place or if he claims a “Thompson” defence to the snaps or not!

  18. tomix

    Ridiculing Anthony Albanese over his visit to a Thai massage parlour is both cruel and unfair.

    imho ‘T-Bone Tone’ was likely innocently inquiring after the welfare of the local ladyboys.

  19. Robbo

    For decades the Labor Party, both at Federal and State levels, have made an art form out of putting their own supporters into top jobs in the public service as soon as they get into government. There is very little complaint, or comment, on this from the media because they now accept it is as the norm. Now we have the screaming and yelling from hypocrites like Albanese and Shorten when Abbott gives some of these Labor appointments the flick. The only thing that is special about these now discarded individuals is that they were cheerleaders for Rudd, then Gillard and then Rudd again. Some of them were just not worthy of being retained and I put Steve Bracks and Tim Flannery at the top of that list. Bracks, in particular, has nothing at all to whinge about because he disposed of many public servants in Victoria when he became Premier simply because they had been appointed by the Kennett government and not for exhibiting any right leaning bias. He even sacked the then Governor Jim Gobbo because he had been to a lunch club, which the paranoid Bracks believed was a group of right wing plotters against Labor. Bracks is a dill, he always has been one and he will stay one until he departs this earth.
    The Abbott government has not yet ridded itself of the many public servants that remain devotees of Labor first and their job second. They should not ease back on sending that lot packing as quickly as possible. Letting these white ants stay will only endanger the government.

  20. stackja

    David Hill comes to mind as ALP’s idea of a mandarin.
    David Hill headed Wran’s Ministerial Advisory Unit, inevitably dubbed the Mau-Mau after Kenyan terrorists. He notes in Chapter 5 that as Wran ‘changed the culture’, he sometimes felt resistance from the traditional bureaucracy. So he ‘introduced a raft of new government machinery’ such as the Women’s Co-ordination Unit, the Family and Children’s Services Agency, the Community Justice Centres and the Residential Tenancies Tribunal (p. 65). To fund initiatives, he plundered funds ‘squirreled’ into dormant accounts or ‘hollow logs’ by statutory authorities over the years (p. 64). Wran commissioned the highly respected Peter Wilenski to review government administration, and his report formed the basis for ongoing reform of the bureaucracy.

    Again I quote

    Chapter Eight: The Whitlam Years: A Retrospect Peter Ryan, MM
    Misgivings stirred from the moment Whitlam grasped the Canberra reins.
    The “mandate” was not to be allowed to have its progress impeded by any delicacies of traditional procedure or administrative propriety. High officials of long service to their country would be summoned like footmen to the presence of an imperious Prime Minister, and be given orders. The late Sir Frederick Wheeler, holder of the statutory office of Secretary to the Treasury, was once, he told me, so summoned and instructed to take an action which he declined, as being improper. Whitlam insisted that he proceed; Wheeler said that he would invoke the constitutional standing of his office, and demand an inquiry.

    Under such acrimony, smoothly functioning government cannot long continue, nor did it. Ministerial “advisers” (aka toadies) proliferated at the expense of career public servants, who by long tradition had been dedicated to the provision of informed and impartial advice to governments of whatever stripe. Far from faultless though it was, that level of discreet “official government” kept the wheels oiled and the nuts and bolts tight for constitutional decency as well as democracy. During a change of government — during a crisis — that “official government” offered competence, calm and continuity — qualities of especial virtue in a federation. Under Whitlam, it began to disappear — a legacy he left us which federal Australia did not need. Sir Paul Hasluck regarded Whitlam’s demotion of the public service to a mere ministerial adjunct as one of the most baleful developments to threaten a hitherto successful three-quarter century of federation.

    When vacancies were to be filled, a quite new emphasis had by 1975 settled on party loyalty and ideological soundness as necessary criteria for appointment. To head the newly-created Department of the Media, Jim Spigelman stepped straight out of Gough Whitlam’s own office; Peter Wilenski, who had never even served as a Second Division officer, was made Secretary of the Department of Labor and Immigration. But what of the character of Whitlam’s appointments to the very highest offices? Of Senator Vince Gair as Ambassador to Ireland; of Senator Lionel Murphy to the High Court; of New South Wales Chief Justice Sir John Kerr to be Governor-General?

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