The introduction of New Public Management reforms to the Australian Public Service in the 1980s and 1990s marked a substantial shift away from the traditional process-based public sector model to a market-driven one. These reforms accelerated with the election of the Howard government in 1996, which moved the public sector to become more like the private sector, but failed to address directly the changes needed in accountability and control of the APS. This study explores the evolution of corporate governance as a means of filling that gap in the APS. The ultimate responsibility for ensuring corporate governance is appropriately applied in departments of state rests jointly with the minister and the secretary, in their roles in administering and managing the organisation, and in particular fostering and modelling appropriate organisation citizenship behaviour. Corporate governance exists In the APS, as in the private sector, as a dichotomy of formal and informal elements, and the informal elements play a paramount role in achieving results for government that are lawful, fair and reasonable; adherence to formal corporate governance processes alone is insufficient to protect an organisation from failure. The example of DIMA was used to demonstrate that even an organisation with a proud international record in assisting the most vulnerable in the world through its refugee and humanitarian programs can fail if its corporate governance mechanisms are not universally and correctly applied throughout the organisation, resulting in outcomes described as "catastrophic" for the individuals concerned.
|Date of Award
|John Halligan (Supervisor) & Jennifer Stewart (Supervisor)