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The Australian public service under the Keating Government: A case of weakened accountability?

Megan Kimber (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, and)
Graham Maddox (School of Social Science, The University of New England,Armidale, Australia)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 1 February 2003



Managerial restructuring of the Australian public service during the period of the Keating Government was designed to provide greater responsiveness on the part of public servants to ministers. Increased use of ministerial advisers and the formalisation of contract employment for departmental secretaries pointed to a possible erosion of responsible government norms, but this process was moderated by tension between the private sector practices being introduced and an adherence to the traditions of responsible government. We suggest that a pragmatic approach to public sector reform partly accounted for this unease and we speculate that the more ideological commitment to managerialism displayed by the Howard Government might indicate that responsible government within the Commonwealth Public Service is in further danger of erosion.



Kimber, M. and Maddox, G. (2003), "The Australian public service under the Keating Government: A case of weakened accountability?", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 61-74.




Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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