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Thought Leadership

Cross-government collaboration by civil servants, for civil servants. Tips and tricks from collaborators that will help you turn visions into reality
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Cross-government collaboration by civil servants, for civil servants. Tips and tricks from collaborators that will help you turn visions into reality

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Attempts to support more effective coordination across government departments is not a new concept, and stories of failed attempts or at least only partial success tend to dominate. One of the key reasons for this appears to be the fact that government bureaucracies lack the “supporting architecture” needed to support joined-up-working. Thea Snow examines the success stories and sincere attempts of cross-government collaboration around the world.

Are we wise enough (smart enough) to survive our own success? If so, how can we all get along better? Practicing tolerance in the Age of Stupid
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Are we wise enough (smart enough) to survive our own success? If so, how can we all get along better? Practicing tolerance in the Age of Stupid

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I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them — Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus, 1676 The burden of unbounded knowledge weighs heavily on those with open minds. Those trapped within a specific moral code express righteous indignation that their beliefs should be […]

Miriam Vogel delivered implicit bias training for Obama. Now she guides AI developers: ‘Many more lives are impacted by the bias of that black box’
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Miriam Vogel delivered implicit bias training for Obama. Now she guides AI developers: ‘Many more lives are impacted by the bias of that black box’

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Miriam Vogel developed and led implicit bias training for federal law enforcement while at the United States Department of Justice. Tackling defensiveness is an important part of successful implicit bias training, she says. It’s really helpful to start by defusing that defensiveness and making it clear that this is a human condition, it doesn’t make you an evil person, it makes us human.

An ableist public service? How to shift the underemployment of people with disability in the Australian Public Sector

An ableist public service? How to shift the underemployment of people with disability in the Australian Public Sector

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Data from the Australian Public Sector Database shows a steady long-term decline in the number and proportion of people with disability in the Commonwealth public sector. One APS narrative is that the problem is not as big as it seems — non-disclosure of disability is more of a problem than a lack of representation. It becomes too easy to use such statements as a means of shifting responsibility for failures in public sector disability employment policy, writes Paul Williamson.

New Public Management: the practical challenges, remedies and alternatives

New Public Management: the practical challenges, remedies and alternatives

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Treating the public service like a business has become the norm, with the structures, language, practices and incentives inherited from private sector managerialism. We know that citizens don’t expect public sectors to act the same way — which is evident in the feedback, discussions, user research and myriad public engagements — yet when we adopt the mindset of a business we create pressure to act more like a business in everything we do.

Space Agency chief Dr Megan Clark on providing influential advice to government: tell them what the public really thinks
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Space Agency chief Dr Megan Clark on providing influential advice to government: tell them what the public really thinks

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In this year’s Williams Oration, Australian Space Agency chief executive Dr Megan Clark offered to explain the thinking behind foundational decisions taken in the agency’s establishment, for the benefit of her fellow public sector leaders. She hopes the agency can maintain an early groundswell of community support though lots of open, honest dialogue with stakeholders and a commitment to stick its word.

Powerless to prevent catastrophic bushfires? No, we’re not. We can stop bushfires from occurring with community involvement
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Powerless to prevent catastrophic bushfires? No, we’re not. We can stop bushfires from occurring with community involvement

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The fires devastating our communities on the eastern seaboard are covering more than a million hectares even before we reach summer. They are, as predicted, joining and growing into mega-fires. Mega-fires create their own unpredictable internal weather systems; they can be as hot as a Bunsen burner at 100 metres, and they’ll overwhelm and engulf […]

Taking the sting out of health infrastructure and reform. How investing in soft infrastructure supports front-line innovation into cost-effective, affordable healthcare
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Taking the sting out of health infrastructure and reform. How investing in soft infrastructure supports front-line innovation into cost-effective, affordable healthcare

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With calls for more investment in infrastructure to help stimulate the Australian economy, it's also time for policymakers to think beyond traditional views of what this infrastructure might be. This means considering infrastructure that helps the process of reform in the economy. If we are strategic, it should also prepare Australia for some of the disruptions that are coming toward us — particularly in healthcare.

Understand the context and motivations behind the minister’s request, recommends Gillard CoS Ben Hubbard — and don’t be an ‘adviser denier’
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Understand the context and motivations behind the minister’s request, recommends Gillard CoS Ben Hubbard — and don’t be an ‘adviser denier’

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Ben Hubbard twice worked as chief of staff to Julia Gillard — in separate stints as deputy prime minister and PM. He was CEO of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, coordinating recovery efforts after the Black Saturday fires. He also worked for Victorian premiers John Brumby and Steve Bracks. He discusses public servants working with the minister's office, how to be a CoS, and fixing the staffer system.