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APS Review Submission

Submission: 

What does public sector stewardship mean to you?

Australian Governments, public servants and courts have a responsibility and accountability to the present and future Australia (society and land).

How can we balance long term needs with the shorter term needs of the government of the day?

Public servants are instructed to prioritise Ministerial Senior Executive needs and sometimes this is confused with "at any cost". The reverse situation is a citizen requires an urgent response but is left waiting months because the process allows it. There needs to be understanding and a cultural shift by all parties about what is the "right thing" to do.

Are there tools, resources, frameworks, rules or incentives that could help us find that balance?

Australia's constitution should include our long term values, mission, economic and environmental responsibilities and intent. It should be made at the Executive level so that all other levels of Government, individuals and laws must align with the explicit and implicit intent of the revision.

For e.g.:

  • Instead of spending extra $$$ to get something done to meet a tight deadline which results in overseas procurement, an extra cost from the supplier due to the deadline and paying for the airfreight to get it back here in time for an made up deadline; this would not be in alignment with the revised Constitution and therefor Government policy.
  • We have an Australian Murray Darling Plan, yet local councils are allowed make rules within State law and consumers are allowed to take additional water, that doesn't align with the intent of the Plan - for it to exist, flourish, and naturally evolve; this would not be in alignment with the revised Constitution.
  • Proposed mining or resource developments (either by Australians or overseas interests) cannot be made at state level and could only be proceed if they align with the Constitution.

Canada has what is called a Living Tree Doctrine that allows a Constitution to evolveĀ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_tree_doctrine.