Dec 6, 2012

Don’t mention the war, urges public service boss

The public service continues to grow, despite many departments instituting a hiring freeze, the latest report on the bureaucracy shows. And there's some helpful advice for tweeting pen-pushers.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

While most public service departments downsize to accommodate the federal government’s quest for a budget surplus, the Departments of Defence and Immigration have offset the cutbacks, ensuring the total number of public servants continued to grow in 2011-12, the latest State of the Service report from the Australian Public Service Commission shows.

The overall number of Commonwealth public servants grew by over 2,300 in 2011-12 to 168,580 in June. The growth translates into around 1,200 full-time equivalent positions.

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11 thoughts on “Don’t mention the war, urges public service boss

  1. bluepoppy

    If APS is going to cut lower level roles government has to expect repercussions as far as delivery of services. Too many times I’ve witnessed backlogs and delays due to inadequate resourcing with the resulting effect of increasing bullying in the workplace. Everyone is under pressure, staff and managers, looking for someone to blame and often lower level staff are scapegoated for work delays, queues or backlogs when they are already working at full capacity. Older people are particularly vulnerable as they are less likely to sit back and remain silent and are more often outspoken about unreasonable behaviours and demands from management.

    Why on earth when Australia is considering winding down war/peace keeping efforts is there so much spent on defence. Absurdity. Also public service is about ‘services’ which are not normally provided by top end of the APS, why cut at the service end of the public service? More absurdity.

  2. Suzanne Blake

    I have had the opportunity to be at various Defence bases over the past few months and from top to bottom in the ranks, they are not happy with Gillard, REMF Smith and Swan.

    Massive voting bloc has gone west there.

    They said that Defence spending is now less that at any time since before WW2 as percent of GDP.

  3. Achmed

    Why am I not suprised by your comment Suzanne?

    I served in the Airforce and then Army,my brother served in the Army we both spent time overseas, my nephew is Navy and also served overseas, and the other is Airforce.

    We see a lot of servicemen and ex-servicemen regularly at the RSL. They complain no more, no less than any servicemen. No government has ever spent enough or ever will spend enough, even in a war.

    Servicemen generally avoid politics, they are there to serve the Government not a political party.

  4. Tom Jones

    There was a chance to manage the public service better but ever increasing numbers of chiefs in Canberra while ever fewer Indians in the states mean that there are public servants thinking of ever more bureaucracy to justify their positions while ever fewer people in the states at lower levels to implement the decisions. Thus things grind to a halt and the intelligence used by the government to make decisions is ever more awry.

  5. Suzanne Blake

    @ Achmed

    I was not at an RSL. I was at ADF bases speaking to men and women of all ranks (RAN, RAAF and Army). The view was unamimious. I was stunned at the change, cause in the past it was split Labor / Coalition. Not anymore.

    Yes they do avoid politics – not anymore with the current cutbacks.

  6. Achmed

    Strange thing, those servicemen and women, that we speak to at the RSL also come from ADF bases.

  7. James Butler

    @Tom Jones you dont make any sense, what do Indians have anything to do with bureaucracy ????

    Anyways i always envision a Strong Australian Defense force, defending our borders NOT invading other nations in illegal wars. Unfortunately the current spending is just WRONG in every way. Small , efficient government is what we need, we need to DOUBLE our troops, navy, airforce etc, invest in high-tech equipment and cut all the backoffice paper work people. We also should stop depending on the USA , Gillard’s decision to bring in US troops and build a base in Darwin is utterly weak and demoralizing for our troops.

  8. AR

    JimmyB – it’s an old metaphor, too many chiefs, not enough Indians but even you can’t be so dumb as not to know that, despite your apparently RanDoM caps., teabag fascism & general stupidity.
    Put it another way, there are more pen pushers than weapon wielders – can you grasp that?

  9. Achmed

    The logistics, food, ammo, replacement clothing, boots, boots, medical etc coms out at 4 people for each active frontline soldier. That would be pay and HR, stores, cooks, medical.

  10. Suzanne Blake

    @ Achmed

    You are right. The ADF logistics is fat, inefficient and old and tired and used thrird party contracts that do not enforce efficiency

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