‘A wonderful experience’: Ian Watt’s goodbye to colleagues


The outgoing head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet says he’s moving on, but not retiring. In a letter to colleagues, Ian Watt says he has a book in his future.

Dear colleagues,

On Monday, 27 October 2014, after thirty years in the APS, I submitted my resignation to the Governor‑General.  The resignation takes effect at midnight on Sunday, 30 November 2014.  As many of you are aware, I considered it important that the Secretary of PM&C stay to provide continuity in the change to the new government.  The transition is well and truly completed, and the Prime Minister and I agreed my departure date some months ago as a natural end point following the G20 Summit in Brisbane.

For the last thirty years, I have wrapped my life around my work as a public servant.  The proportion of my life absorbed by work has grown over time, with significant increases when I first became a Portfolio Secretary and, more recently, when I became Secretary of PM&C.  It is now time for me, instead, to wrap work around my life.

I have had a wonderful experience in the APS.  That has been a product of the people I have worked with and the issues that I have worked on.  Whether my work colleagues have been public servants or Prime Ministers, Ministers, ministerial staffers or members of the private sector, I have invariably found them to be high quality individuals, highly professional, and committed to securing what they considered the best possible results for Australia.  I have also invariably been fortunate to work on issues that matter to Australia.

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