'Don't offend' informs
Speaking to an audience of 300 people, the host of the ABC’s Insiders program Barrie Cassidy delivered 'Don't offend', the second of IPAA's Perspectives seminars.
Saying that the reputation of politicians was at an all time low, he noted the paradox that whilst politicians were working harder than ever they were getting little results for their work.
Part of the problem he said was an obsession with the media and that the “contest of ideas” was being replaced by the “contest for laughs”.
Ironically, this was happening at a time when the country was doing relatively well economically, leading him to suggest that politicians had lost the ability to talk about prosperity, as well as offer clear direction and ideology.
He noted this had a particularly negative impact on public administration, with rapid policy reversals and lack of consistency inevitably leading to poor advice.
Despite this fairly gloomy view, he urged public administrators to continue to be advocates for good policy and to talk up the importance of action. This situation has not always been like this, he argued, and sooner or later the wheel will turn.
A lively Q&A session, facilitated by broadcaster Glenn Capelli, culminated in Michael McGarvie, the Legal Services Commissioner, being selected to ask Barrie the last question of the evening, seated in an Insiders studio replica.