For the once-admired Australian Public Service, estimates hearings now regularly serve up examples of how untransparent and incompetent it has become. So the first day of the current round of additional estimates hearings showed, which begun Monday.

First there was the Australian Public Service Commission. Last October, APSC head, industrial relations hardliner John Lloyd, was busted emailing his former colleagues at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). His emails showed him providing research assistance for the IPA and whining about Labor’s Penny Wong. At the time, Labor asked the APSC to provide a log of Lloyd’s contacts with the IPA. But the APSC refused to do so, claiming “to provide the information requested would require an unreasonable diversion of APSC resources”.