James Whelan | Public Opinion Pro Public Service


Public Servants: lazy bureaucratic fat cats or necessary to achieve “ambitious goals for a richer, fairer and greener Australia” (Kim Carr)?

Recent CPD research has returned some surprising results regarding attitudes towards the public service and staffing trends. While politicians regularly criticise the role our public servants are doing, social surveys highlight the fact that citizens support a well-funded public sector. The rhetoric that the public service is growing out of control and needs to be ‘cut’ is also shown to unfounded. Between 1990 and 1999, approximately one-third of the APS workforce was retrenched. Although APS staffing levels have almost returned to 1991 levels, the Australian population has also increased. There are now fewer public servants per capita than 20 years ago.

CPD’s Public Service Research Director, James Whelan joined Tim Brunero from Radio Adelaide today to tell listeners what his study found.

LISTEN to the radio podcast here.

We recently released two excerpts from the upcoming paper:

Staffing the Public Service: How Many Public Servants is Enough? andAttitudes Toward the Public Service.

Download the excerpts here and here if you’d like to read more about staffing and CPD’s ideas about the Public Service here.

CPD’s upcoming paper State of the Australian Public Service: An Alternative Report will be available mid-August.

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