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Australia’s top public servant warns of ‘lethal mix of arrogance and ignorance’

Henry Belot reports in the Canberra Times (19.4.16) on comments from the head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson, pointing to a ‘failure of leadership’ in key federal agencies, signifying a ‘risk-averse’ culture plaguing public policy in Australia more generally.

‘Australia’s most senior public servant has criticised a failure of leadership within key departments and warned against “a lethal mix of arrogance and ignorance” capable of plaguing public policy.

‘Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Martin Parkinson believes a wholesale cultural change is needed to ensure public servants obtain diverse and scrutinised opinions before presenting advice to ministers.

‘”From where I sit, too many departments and too many individual public servants stay within their own sector,” he said. “They do not open themselves up to ideas outside their existing knowledge base”.’

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