30 episodes

Unpacking lessons for the public service, starting with the Robodebt Royal Commission. In 2019, after three years, Robodebt was found to be unlawful. The Royal Commission process found it was also immoral and wildly inaccurate. 
Ultimately the Australian Government was forced to pay $1.8bn back to more than 470,000 Australians. 
In this podcast we dive deep into public policy failures like Robodebt and the British Post Office scandal - how they start, why they're hard to stop, and the public service lessons we shouldn't forget.

The Westminster Tradition The Westminster Tradition

    • Government
    • 4.8 • 78 Ratings

Unpacking lessons for the public service, starting with the Robodebt Royal Commission. In 2019, after three years, Robodebt was found to be unlawful. The Royal Commission process found it was also immoral and wildly inaccurate. 
Ultimately the Australian Government was forced to pay $1.8bn back to more than 470,000 Australians. 
In this podcast we dive deep into public policy failures like Robodebt and the British Post Office scandal - how they start, why they're hard to stop, and the public service lessons we shouldn't forget.

    Andrew Podger AO: the induction, tenure and bravery of Secretaries

    Andrew Podger AO: the induction, tenure and bravery of Secretaries

    With a decade as a Commonwealth Secretary, and two more as Australian Public Service Commissioner, it is no surprise Robodebt Royal Commissioner Holmes turned to Andrew Podger AO for expert advice on the operation of the public service.In this episode, Danielle talks to Andrew about the impact that granting tenure could have on the quality of advice, the increasing use of labour hire in the public service, and the importance of senior executives having read the legislation.Also referenced in ...

    • 1 hr
    The Essendon Footy Club supplements scandal (part 3): regulation in a changing world

    The Essendon Footy Club supplements scandal (part 3): regulation in a changing world

    What does the community want more - every last transgressor to be punished, or government to keep out of their business?How can regulators keep pace with changing community expectations about what is ‘appropriate’ - and, indeed, what is a workplace?What is a regulator to do when you’re facing these issues in the full glare of media scrutiny?In this final episode of the Essendon mini-series, we think about what this footy doping scandal can tell us about the challenges of being a modern regula...

    • 36 min
    The Essendon Footy Club supplements scandal (part 2): what’s it like to investigate Australia’s biggest sports codes?

    The Essendon Footy Club supplements scandal (part 2): what’s it like to investigate Australia’s biggest sports codes?

    In episode two of this mini-series, we pick up the story of the Essendon supplements scandal from the perspective of the investigators.In this story we hear how ASADA ends up in the middle of a media fire storm, with inadequate regulatory powers and biopharmaceutical technology racing ahead.But is it really a matter for ASADA at all? Is this an anti-doping violation, or a WHS breach? And why do Cronulla players end up suspended for six matches, while Essendon players get two years?Intro grab ...

    • 40 min
    The Royal Commission we should have? The 2013 Essendon Football Club supplements scandal

    The Royal Commission we should have? The 2013 Essendon Football Club supplements scandal

    “Lack of good governance is why good people did bad things at Essendon Football Club”. So says Lindsay Tanner, former Minister for Finance, and President of the Essendon Football Club from 2015.In this mini-series, Caroline tries to convince us there are lessons for public servants from the Essendon Football Club supplement scandal in 2013.In this episode, we talk about what happened in Essendon itself. The dangers of charismatic new leaders, new brooms through an organisation, and a failure ...

    • 34 min
    Sue Vardon AO, inaugural CE of Centrelink: On learning while in the job

    Sue Vardon AO, inaugural CE of Centrelink: On learning while in the job

    In the second of two follow ups to her interview at the end of 2023, Sue Vardon dives deep on her commitment to training Centrelink staff, including the establishment of an in-house Registered Training Organisation (RTO).Now for some appropriately bureaucratic disclaimers....Those of us in the employ of the State Government speak in a strictly personal capacity, consistent with the Public Sector Code of Ethics that permits public servants to promote an outcome in relation to an issue of publi...

    • 37 min
    Sue Vardon AO, inaugural CE of Centrelink: On lawyers

    Sue Vardon AO, inaugural CE of Centrelink: On lawyers

    In the first of two follow ups to her interview at the end of 2023, Sue Vardon returns to share her thoughts on the dangers for Senior Executives who outsource considerations of legality to the lawyers.Now for some appropriately bureaucratic disclaimers....Those of us in the employ of the State Government speak in a strictly personal capacity, consistent with the Public Sector Code of Ethics that permits public servants to promote an outcome in relation to an issue of public interest - in thi...

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
78 Ratings

78 Ratings

GGeorgie545 ,

Very valuable

As a public servant passionate about my job, this is gold. Very relevant, important lessons and refreshing to hear public servants being honest about the realities of our work (rather than waiting until their retirement speech to do so). Thank-you.

podcastsislikemyfamily ,

This is a very good podcast… but

As a senior public servant, I am hanging on every insight and observation about improving our practice and accountability. I feel conflicted though that the podcast sometimes obfuscates the real human trauma with glib jokes and too-clever references to frameworks or philosophers (eg the most recent bonus episode from Caroline was hard to listen to). Sometimes misses the right tone for the right topic.

Flings Lass ,

Great public service podcast!

This is a great podcast for anyone working in the Public Sector whether State, Federal or Local Government, Emergency Services, Education, Health or the Justice and Community Services sector. I am listening to episode 11 and I really resonated with the conversation around senior leaders needing to provide insight into what they are asking their colleagues to sell. Understanding the thinking behind a decision is something I have only just begun to understand. I’m tasked with interpreting policy to stakeholders and it doesn’t matter if I don’t agree. If I can understand the rationale behind the decision then I will be more likely to be able to provide support.

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