Historic Australian Civil Service Treasure Unveiled at Old Parliament House | The Canberra Times

news, breaking news, Australian Democracy Museum, Old Parliament, Ben Morton, history

How many Australians could identify what a Departmental Secretary to the Prime Minister and Cabinet does without referring to TV satire? This crucial link to government decisions and their implementation is featured in the first of two exhibitions at the Australian Democracy Museum in partnership with the APS Commission Recognizing the Work of Public Servants. A new treasure of over 500 items has been collected from private collections and government vaults to lift the veil of bureaucratic secrecy and tell behind the scenes of the role of public service impacting the health and wealth of Australians from the Federation. The first of the planned exhibitions was opened at Old Parliament House, focusing on the Secretary of the PM&C, the values ​​and role of the APS in the service of successive governments and policies in practice – from the reality of the politics of the White Australia for frontline migration officials. , immunization policy advice over the years. The exhibit shows how government works thanks to the people behind it providing candid and intrepid advice throughout, museum director Daryl Karp said. “The exhibition aims to show that you cannot do it without the officials who support you,” says Ms. Karp. Ben Morton, Deputy Minister of the Civil Service, kicked off the launch by noting that no prime minister could achieve anything without the support of the civil service, so it was appropriate that the showroom – used by the former secretaries of the PM&C – be connected via a now open door of the Prime Minister’s suite. “The work of public servants is both visible and invisible,” said Mr. Morton. “It reflects the times, the needs of the Australian public and has an impact on all of us.” Mr Morton said he has been on the other end of frank and fearless advice, and has witnessed how the advice of Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy and Secretary to the Steven Kennedy Treasury were debated, considered and accepted by the government. , leading to the current situation of the nation. READ MORE: Demands on public servants have changed, said Civil Service Commissioner Peter Woolcott. “The issues have become much more complex, interconnected, and almost all international issues play more within the national context than before,” Mr. Woolcott said. “It’s this complexity that means the public service really needs to be a lot more integrated – the old silos that might have existed really can’t do the right thing by the government or by the Australian people.” Competing for ability and attracting the best and brightest was also a bigger challenge for the public sector now, said Mr Woolcott, and who had long been at the forefront of community standards, such as gender diversity. A second exhibition is planned for next year and will explore in more depth the diverse people of the public service, the role of women and the role of APS in supporting the Australian community. Former departmental secretaries and the families of the deceased have lent their personal stories and memories to the collection. The National Archives have called agencies that have donated more than 500 significant objects, some dating from British Columbia – before Canberra – and telling recognizable stories of authority struggles between the portfolios. Curator Holly Williams named the vial of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that was administered to Prime Minister Scott Morrison as one of her favorite items, crowning a history of health advice that has shaped government responses to infectious diseases from the start. “Australia has led the way in many of these areas and it reminds me of the value of a strong and continuous public service workforce ready to respond to a crisis,” said Ms. Williams. The modest space used for the exhibit was used by the Prime Minister’s Secretary Sir Geoffrey Yeend while advising the Fraser and Hawke governments, but even the senior official at the time had to share his office with a fixed cabinet. Interviews with living secretaries and curators were recorded for the museum’s collection, including the first woman appointed secretary of a Commonwealth department, Helen Williams, with Tom Calma, Michele Bruniges and Brendan Murphy. The museum received an additional $ 11.3 million for chamber modernization from the House of Representatives in this month’s federal budget. Other major capital works at the museum include converting the Senate basement into a large modern exhibition space and creating an APS Career Inspiration Center, for which the museum received $ 5 million. of dollars. The new center and phase two of the APS exhibitions will be adjacent to the new APS academy announced earlier this year to teach the profession of public administration. Our journalists work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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