Monday, September 21, 2009

On 18 September I acted as MC at the Crawford School Alumni and Friends Dinner. It was a great chance to meet some past students and hear from Kim Beazley on current issues in politics (under Chatham House rules sorry!). Beazley has a long history in Australian politics and he took up the role of Chancellor of the ANU earlier this year. A couple of days prior to the event it was no surprise when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced Beazley would be the next Australian Ambassador to the United States.

Alongside Beazley, newly retired Liberal Brendan Nelson has also been fingered for a diplomatic post. Nelson will take up the role of Australian Ambassador to the European Union. It is an interesting fact that Rudd defeated Nelson's coalition at the 2007 election and that he beat Beazley in a leadership battle within the Australian Labor Party.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A New Era of Reform?

Wow! Can it really be this long since I made any contribution? So much has been happening in public management circles in Australia that it is negligent of me not to have commented. Recently the Prime Minister has outlined his vision to build 'the best public service in the world'. The first stage of this involved establishing an Advisory Group oversee an international benchmarking exercise which will test the Australian Public Service against counterparts around the world. The Advisory Group will also oversee the development of a reform blueprint. The PMs speech, presented at the recent conference of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government is available here. Expect much more from me on this topic in the coming months.

In late July I has the chance to present at a conference on Unicameral systems. For a few years I wrote the political chronicles of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), so I was invited by my colleague Professor John Uhr who heads up the Parliamentary Studies Centre to contribute to this international conference examining the experience of the ACT in the context of other unicameral systems around the world. It was not until I arrived, however, that I realised the conference would be held in the Legislative Assembly and that I would be presenting my thoughts on that very Assembly whilst standing in it! Video of the conference is available from the Crawford School site and a summary of proceedings is also available.