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The policy chaos eroding our faith in democracy

In the first instalment of a new series titled, ‘The Future Fix’, Fairfax economics journalist Jessica Irvine and colleagues write in the Brisbane Times (18.11.18) about how ‘knee-jerk politics’ is fuelling mistrust in our political system, but also sparking a search for fresh solutions to policy issues.

‘Peter Shergold is worried. During the final years of the Howard government, Shergold sat at the apex of Australia’s federal bureaucracy as secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

‘Recently, as president of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA), he surveyed more than 800 IPAA conference attendees, mostly current and former public servants.

‘“I was shocked by the results,” Shergold said recently. Australia’s public servants were suffering a “crisis of confidence”.

‘Just two in five felt they delivered projects well and made effective use of taxpayers’ money. Almost half said their institutions had become more political. The majority said ministerial advisers played too great a role in governance (60 per cent), and 70 per cent thought the same of consultants.

‘Most worryingly, just 30 per cent thought the public service remained “frank and fearless”.’

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