Age 'no determinant' of leadership: be ambitious, says Wyatt Roy

By Harley Dennett

March 16, 2016

Wyatt Roy & Malcolm Turnbull

Federal Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy has lent his support to IPAA’s Young Professionals Network, saying young people need to make their voices heard in public service.

“We’re better served by diversity in leadership roles, and part of that is age,” Roy told The Mandarin after his rallying cry to the YPN. “If we’re having a conversation about the future of our country it’s important that we bring those different perspectives and young people have an enormous amount to contribute.”

“… we can influence things at a much faster rate than we previously could. ”

He added that self-interest in a powerful motivator for young people because “we will be around long enough to see the effects of our decisions.”

The YPN members who came to hear Roy speak took his message to be bold at face value, promptly asking the kind of questions no senior bureaucrat would dare, such as whether his ministerial rise was helped by hitching himself to an ascending prime minister, and whether the NBN as it stands is really something he has pride in.

Roy took it in his stride, as he says young people are doing every day as they face the challenges of a globalised world with a more open approach. “This is a recognition that the world is changing and we can influence things at a much faster rate than we previously could have.”

He also wants to see a wider diversity of professional backgrounds entering into public service — based on his experience coming from a family of farmers — as well as breaking down the cultural barriers that prevent the public and private sectors from collaborating and learning from each other.

“It’s important that we reach out and make it an exciting career for people who wouldn’t be interested in public service,” Roy says.

“I want to see greater exchange between the public service and the private sector, even if it’s not for long periods of time. There’s an enormous amount that the private sector can learn from the public sector just as there’s a lot that the public sector can learn from the private sector. The more that we can exchange those cultures, the more we can make our door as open and wide as possible, we’ll see that blending of ideas and I think that’s really important.”

Upcoming IPAA ACT events

  • March 17, Canberra Evaluation Forum will discuss the findings of gender and disability studies, impact of unconscious bias and suggestions for change.
  • March 22, Quit the Red Tape Habit. Following the Belcher review, we discuss the challenges associated with internal red tape reduction.
  • April 6, Public Interest Disclosure. Two years since the PID commenced, Philip Moss will comment on the Public Interest Disclosure Act.
  • April 11, Learning From Failure. IPAA ACT and the APSC present this expert panel to discuss the Shergold Report: Learning from Failure.
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