Australian Public Service Commission

Estimates: Lloyd defends right to express his FOI ‘observations’

Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd has stood up for the right of senior public servants to hold personal views and express them publicly at times, under questioning from Opposition and crossbench senators today. Lloyd's well-known view on freedom of information laws is that they have gone beyond their original purpose, which he says was mainly for citizens to find out what information about themselves was held by government. Now, he says they constrain the free flow of frank advice in the Australian Public Service by making bureaucrats wary about what they write down. John Lloyd "Very pernicious" were the words that came to mind as he explained his take on how FOI laws currently affect public service work, during a question-and-answer session after a speech he gave to the Institute for Public Administration Australia (IPAA) ACT Division in March. Playing down the significance of his words, "less than ideal" was how he rephrased his opinion today. In a Supplementary Budget Estimates hearing today, the commissioner faced yet more questions about not only what he thinks of FOI laws, but also how he had formed such a view and his decision to express it publicly. " ... I think I've got a right as the public service commissioner to state a view." Lloyd told Greens senator Lee Rhiannon it was a simple personal observation from over decades as a public servant, including various senior roles at state and federal level under both Coalition and Labor governments, and in his time with pro-free-market think tank the Institute for Public Affairs. "I'm not a legal expert in the FOI area but I think I've got a right as the public service commissioner to state a view," he said, with trademark confidence. Read More

More women, but still a struggle to break into SES boys’ club

Women in the Australian Public Service have now reached at least equal representation with men at all levels up to and including executive level 1, according to the Australian Public Service Commission's new State of the Service blog. A recent post covered progress made on women's representation going all the way back to federation in 1901, when they "were generally few in number and working at lower levels" and "their conditions and rights were not equal to those of men". Read More