glyn davis
Glyn Davis (Image: AAP/Alan Porritt)

Glyn Davis has a huge task ahead of him as head of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and leader of the Australian Public Service (APS). Not merely are there myriad policy challenges domestically and internationally, but he inherits a public service in the worst state of disrepair in its history.

The Abbott and Morrison governments were disasters for the APS, punctuated only by Malcolm Turnbull, who was genuinely interested in public sector reform and established the comprehensive review, chaired by David Thodey, early in 2018 -- on which Davis served. But by the time Thodey and co reported, a right-wing putsch had replaced Turnbull with Morrison, and the latter binned the review, telling the APS that it would simply do what he told it to.

Meanwhile, continuing apace were the politicisation of the public service, the relentless expansion of consulting firms in the APS, and the stripping of experience, talent and corporate memory. The appointment of Liberal Party staffer Phil Gaetjens as head of PM&C was the last straw -- the once august position of leadership of the Australian public sector reduced to a Mister Fixit for Morrison's myriad political problems.