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Thought Leadership

New Public Management: the practical challenges, remedies and alternatives

Special Feature

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.

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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.

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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 […]

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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.

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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.

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Progress and adoption of AI governance across the world is varied. An Office for AI could help Australia harness artificial intelligence

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AI is an incredibly complex and rapidly evolving area that needs stewardship not only to effectively navigate and facilitate developments but also to make sure risks are managed with the appropriate regulations and measures. Mike Erskine discusses how we can harness the potential of AI systems without exacerbating existing inequalities and biases.