The Evolution of Public Service Bargains of Australian Senior Public Servants

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The agreements between the Australian senior public service and the political executive have undergone several shifts during the reform era of the last thirty years. These have involved fundamental redefinitions of the role, responsibilities, identity and autonomy of the senior public servant.There has been a succession of challenges to the relationship focusing on the role and status of the public service on the one hand and the behaviour and resources of the political executive on the other. Over time the trend has been towards strengthening the political executive, but punctuated by debates about issues that slowed the rate of change and contained political pressures on the public service. This process has produced clarifications of central aspects of the relationship and a clearer articulation of the range of roles provided by departmental secretaries. The article examines the evolution of public service bargains centred on the changing roles of the secretaries of departments of state, and analyses the implications of the changing relationship for the role and functioning of the public service in governance and public policy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-129
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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