The arrival of the new Coalition government will be a little different for the public service compared to the arrival of the last two governments.

In 1996, John Howard started with a bang, sacking half-a-dozen secretaries, but the big cuts to Australian Public Service numbers didn't start straight away; they came after the government announced the budget situation was much worse than expected and big spending cuts were needed. That's when redundancy offers began flying around departments, inducing much fear and loathing among many -- and delight among the few who realised it was a great way to finance an extended holiday or a major renovation before returning to the APS down the track.