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Andrew Rutherford


The APS is subject to political direction but needs to sit above politics. More controls and bureaucracy are not the way to achieve that. A structural separation between the APS and the government of the day is required to give the APS the combination of agility, expertise and independence that is required to take Australia forward. A Minister's ability to appoint and fire the most senior members of the APS needs to be circumscribed for it to be properly independent and, instead, for key roles, a public process of appointment (and continuation) is appropriate, that determines measurable, objective performance criterion which are correlated to outcomes of value to tax payers, not politicians. This must include constantly questioning the cost v benefit of every tax $ spent, measured against criterion set independently by people with a variety of deep, practical, multidisciplinary expertise - business, economics, social welfare, environmental and even anthropology - so that the best minds in Australia are attracted to contribute to the APS in some capacity and that 'public service' becomes a term of pride rather than political hacks or the employer of last resort.