Rod Hook: SA public service politicised — at an alarming rate

The apolitical tradition of the public service is being dismantled in South Australia, a former top state mandarin writes. The Labor government is employing too many of its mates in the bureaucracy.

Is politicisation of South Australia’s public service happening? Hell yes, and at an alarming rate.

The apolitical nature of the public service is being dismantled before our very eyes. It is happening with barely a squeak, as far as I can see, from the commissioner for public employment or the unions.

The fundamental premise of our system of government is that politicians are elected by the people for terms, usually three or four years. Governments are formed by the party garnering the majority support amongst those politicians. Those governments are then supported by an efficient and apolitical public service.

That at least was the public service I joined many years ago.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

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.

  • CM

    Good point Rod. Interestingly another of the Commonwealth Secretaries sacked when Don Russell was, subsequently became head of NSW Premier and Cabinet under a Liberal Premier. Perhaps merit based appointments can still be found.