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Home News Bad boss? Bureaucrats defend ‘bully’ Rudd
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PEOPLEKen Henry, Terry Moran
DEPARTMENTSAustralian Defence Force, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury
TAGS bullying, Ken Henry, Kevin Rudd, Terry Moran
Nicola Roxon, health minister in the Rudd government, says her boss was abusive to public servants and dismissive of their work. Top officials at the time have a different recollection and Rudd says it wasn’t his fault.
ABC’s The Killing Season last night continued reporter Sarah Ferguson’s forensic autopsy of the Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard governments in its second episode, in which social media favourite Ken Henry returned to defend Rudd from more accusations of bad behaviour.
There were frequent rumblings of staff dissatisfaction and turnover in the Prime Minister’s Office under Rudd, and early on included rumours of poor treatment of top officials.
Military chiefs and departmental secretaries were left waiting outside his office for hours after being summoned. As the prime minister’s diary spun out of control, nobody thought to send them back to their own offices to be called on later, the press gallery reported.
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The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
Harley Dennett is editor at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's held communications roles in the New South Wales public sector and Defence, and reported for titles including Crikey and the Star Observer.
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Mr Rudd was a complex and demanding man to work for. But what was most aggravating for subject matter specialists was that on issues he had the time to get on top of he was often right. However giving him contrary advice was more than a bit of a discipline. It could be done with good results; but it took a bit of doing. I retain a lot of respect for his values, intellect and drive.