Malcolm Turnbull on the public sector, taking risks & listening to advice

What kind of prime minister will Malcolm Turnbull be from the perspective of the public service?

Will he embrace innovation, and encourage his mandarins to create the space for their staff to try out new ideas, as he suggested at The Mandarin‘s launch event at the National Press Club last year?

“We’ve got to try new things and, if you try new things, a lot of them won’t work, but so what? If you smash people because they try something and it doesn’t work then they’ll never try anything new again,” Turnbull said at the time. He was weighing in on a panel discussion featuring his wife Lucy Turnbull, a former mayor of Sydney and a member of our editorial advisory board.

Turnbull’s view — at the time — was that the consequences of failure were far greater than the rewards of success, and that the incentives that exist in the bureaucracy drive public servants to be extremely circumspect.

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.