ETHICS AT LARGE:
REGULATORY FRAMEWORKS AND POLICY LESSONS
Discussion Paper No. 74
ISBN: 0 7315 3417 4
This Discussion Paper draws together a range of Australian policy initiatives relating to the place of ethics in democratic governance. The title 'Ethics at Large' refers to the topic of personal ethics writ large when it relates to public officials. The title also refers to what I see as the loose generality of many forms of public sector ethics, where claims of high ethical conduct frequently outpace the ability of accountability systems to assure the community that conduct really matches claims. My argument is that ethical responsibility and public accountability should converge through a commitment across the public sector (ministers no less than public servants; and contracted service providers no less than mainstream government operators) to the 'ethics of accountability'. The aim of this Discussion Paper is to promote fresh discussion on the political design and performance of Australian institutions protecting the ethics of accountability.
The primary focus is on public officials at the centre of government operations, particularly career officials working in merit-based systems of public employment. Governments around Australian are increasingly moving to formulate 'core values' in public service legislation in order to provide officials with some reassurance of the values expected of them. Typically, these 'core values' exhort officials to be models of administrative responsibility. Ethics now features prominently in the regulatory frameworks of law and policy affecting public officials, and is now surfacing as an important component of public service performance being monitored by auditors-general (see eg Barrett 1999). The task of institutions monitoring ethical conduct is daunting. The exacting if somewhat abstract reach of responsibility now expected of public servants can be seen in the principles and values attributed to the public service role: models of official integrity, apolitical, objective, impartial protectors of public interest values (Kemp 1998). But come decision-time, public servants know that under contemporary conditions of devolution and deregulation, they are meant to exercise greater responsibility and management discretion than in days gone by, when 'going by the book' was the prescriptive rule. A considerable gulf separates the old world of prescription from the new world of principle (Finn 1990, 1993). The contemporary trend is to call on public officials to rise to the opportunities before them, to use their judgment and to rely on an 'ethic of responsibility' ie, to take responsibility for their actions and not to expect to be guided by detailed rules.
Trouble is, the practical content of 'being responsible' varies according to the management hierarchy demanding responsibility. Given this diversity of policy perspectives, it should be no surprise that variations on the traditional 'ethic of accountability' emerges as the point of convergence when searching for public services values. Ethics of accountability hold that the test of 'being responsible' is complying with whatever standards are relied on by those with power to hold officials to account for their conduct. One difficulty with the 'ethics of accountability' is that elected public officials, who do so much of the business of holding non-elected officials to account, are themselves only just beginning to formulate their own public statements of ethical principles. The situation that results is one with an uneven balance between these two ethics of responsibility and accountability.
The paper is organised in six parts, covering (i) political debate over core Australian values; (ii) examples of what can go wrong when ethical tensions currently experienced within government get badly out of hand; (iii) examples of proposed 'best practices' designed to manage the inevitable tensions over competing priorities and responsibilities; (iv) brief review of the role of codes of ethics and conduct in ethics frameworks; (v) brief commentary on schools of thought among policy analysts; (vi) concluding review of an idealised policy framework that still serves as a useful policy beacon, should Australian governments want to look to it to refurbish their statements of values and principles.
1: Australian regime values
The Australian system of public service was derived in the late nineteenth century from the evolving British system, with important Australian innovations designed to strengthen the political independence and official impartiality of public servants (see eg Caiden; Finn 1987). Now a century later under the attractions of 'new public management', Australia is going through a fundamental overhaul and streamlining of the public sector, with a breakdown in traditional responsibilities of public and private sectors which is posing an uncertain future for the concept of a career public service (Mulgan 1998, 2000; Keating, 1998).
From an international perspective, it is not just the pace of economic restructuring that makes the Australian case interesting. Australia is also an example of a developed nation going through a process of redefinition of national identity. This process is a significant political feature, comprising community debate over a formal agenda of regime change from a constitutional monarchy to a republic, as well as debate over a less formal agenda of values clarification in relation to multicultural citizenship. Although Australia is one of the most enduring of modern democracies, the centenary of the national Constitution in 2001 has been prefaced by a remarkable series of public debates over the changing nature of Australian 'regime values', to use John Rohr's phrase (Rohr). One effect of this process of redefinition is the loosening of significant structural supports for the traditional Australian governmental ethos, including the ethos of public service and administration. This wider process of change entails major restructuring of traditional policies and practices of social as well as economic protection, calling on individuals to take greater responsibility for their own well-being and not rely on the welfare state. This change makes it increasingly difficult for commentators to speak with clear authority about the general nature of Australian social and political values or about the specific character of core values shaping the Australian public service.
Two illustrations of this change in regime values deserve brief attention. First, the community debate over constitutional change to establish Australia as an independent parliamentary republic, which is in form if not in substance a major alteration to the executive branch of Australian government; and second, the community debate over multicultural citizenship, which is one of a number of significant debates over various attempts at national statements of Australian core values. The republic debate has been the more pressing of these two policy areas but in many ways the debate over a multicultural identity for Australia represents the deeper level of community concern.
The Australian constitution of 1901 establishes the Commonwealth of Australia as a constitutional monarchy with the British monarch as the Australian head of state, represented in Australia by the Governor-General who is appointed by the British monarch on the advice of the Australian government. Australia has a parliamentary system of government, with the Governor-General in possession of potentially great legal authority as the formal holder of executive power, exercised in practice by the prime minister and cabinet. The constitution grafts the democratic norms of representative government on to the pre-democratic norms of a foreign monarchy.
From an ethical perspective, it is interesting that the formal terms of the constitution provide no real guide to the responsibilities and accountabilities of those who hold executive power. Public servants reading the constitution are asked to see themselves as servants of the crown since the government of the day is barely acknowledged. But in everyday reality, public servants appreciate that they are in the first instance servants of their minister. The crown continues in the form of the Governor-General who delegates executive power to ministers of state, while retaining a role as circuit breaker or constitutional umpire in the event of a deadlock between the two houses of parliament. This role is routinely in evidence when determining the merits of governments' requests for dissolution of both houses of parliament; but it is used in its most extreme form when dismissing a government facing parliamentary gridlock, as was the sorry fate of the Whitlam government in 1975 (Barlin 1979: 54-59). Not surprisingly, much of the recent momentum of Australian republicanism dates from 1975.
One important democratic norm of the constitution is that no formal constitutional change may take place except through popular referendum. November 1999 saw Australians voting on and overwhelmingly defeat proposals to replace the monarchy and Governor-General with a new office of President: a head of state appointed by the prime minister and confirmed by parliament but dismissable by the prime minister alone. If the referendum had been carried, Australia would then have become an independent republic with its own head of state (Uhr 1999b, 196-201; Uhr 2000). But the President would have continued with tradition as the formal holder of executive power, holding important national responsibilities for commissioning governments and dissolving parliaments. Students of political morality might well take note close note: should this new constitutional situation ever come about, it will test the durability of unwritten conventions relating to the political impartiality of the constitutional umpire and of the unwritten norms regulating the respect by governments for the moral authority of the head of state.
A subsidiary but related issue is the debate over proposals for a new constitutional preamble (Uhr 1999b, 201-203). The movement for a republican head of state brought forth calls for a new preamble to the constitution with a fresh declaration of national values to begin the second century of nationhood. The agenda of issues requiring recognition was set by the 1998 Constitutional Convention which devised the program of constitutional change for determination through the 1999 referendum (Uhr 1999b, 191-196). Subsequent political debate has made clear that the community does not support constitutional entrenchment of the recommended ensemble of preamble values: ranging from 'Almighty God', 'the rule of law', 'our federal system of representative democracy', acknowledgement of indigenous 'original occupancy and custodianship of Australia', through to 'Australia's cultural diversity'.
The second realm of uncertainty over regime values relates to multiculturalism, or 'Australian multiculturalism' as it is now styled (NMAC 1997, 1999). The 1999 debate over the values to be declared in a preamble draws on earlier debates over statements and charters of Australian citizenship which reflect deeper community anxiety over Australia's regime values. The Labor governments of Hawke (1983-1991) and Keating (1991-1996) secured bipartsian support for a 'national agenda for a multicultural Australia' as a basic declaration of the Australian social consensus. This declaration developed into a carefully balanced statement of the civic rights and obligations associated with the privilege of Australian citizenship. The agreed set of core values began with a clear and unambiguous acknowledgment of 'the obligations that all Australians should have to an overriding and unifying commitment to Australia', including acceptance of 'the basic structures and principles of Australian society --- the Constitution and the rule of law, tolerance and equality, parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and religion, English as the national language, and equality of the sexes'.
This policy in favour of multiculturalism has impacted on the Australian framework for public administration. Under the former Keating government the reigning policy was one of 'productive diversity' explained in terms of harnessing the diverse skills and experiences of a multicultural workforce to contribute to the country's economic prosperity (PSC&OMA 1995). The Australian emphasis of multiculturalism has always been on equality of rights of access to common public services, in contrast to the strategy of some other nations where the emphasis has been on diversity of services to different social groups. A classic illustration is that a majority of Australian government programs called 'multicultural policies' relate to English language training, designed to promote the rights of individuals to participate in society and the economy regardless of linguistic background.
Under the successor Howard government this emphasis on has been maintained in practice if not in policy rhetoric, with the public service experimenting with many new approaches to enable greater participation in mainstream activities by non-mainstream individuals and groups. The 1998 release of the Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society reflects widespread intergovernmental consultation over a national framework designed to integrate into mainstream service 'planning, delivery, evaluation and outcomes reporting' (DIMA 1998). This Charter covers seven principles of effective public administration in a multicultural context, with fresh approaches to such core activities as program accountability as well the expected emphasis on access and equity. The intent is that the Charter will be supplemented by agency-specific plans which will vary according to program and community. The latest expression of the government's policy in support of 'Australian multiculturalism' carries over much of the policy thrust of earlier governments, including the emphasis on the need to promote the common core of civic values expected of all Australian citizens (NMAC 1999).
2: Cries of Corruption
We can begin with a case illustrating the collapse of official responsibility. An early 1990s case-study illustrates Australian trends in administrative ethics and highlights the important and unresolved public policy issues associated with allegations of corruption. New South Wales established the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in 1989 as the chief policy instrument in a set of initiatives directed against fraud and official misconduct in government. Mr Greiner, the state premier headed a recently elected government brought to office in no small measure through his election promise of an ICAC-type body to combat fraud and corruption in government. The premier introduced a wide-ranging ethics program into the state's aging and rusty public administration, which was reformed along orthodox public management lines of organisational efficiency and political responsiveness.
Three years later, soon after being returned to office only with the formal support of a small number of independent legislators, Mr Greiner was declared 'corrupt' by ICAC. The allegation focused on his offer of what his opponents described as a bribe of a public service job to a former party colleague who had become one of the independents and a prominent critic of the government (ICAC 1992a: 46-47, 58-59; Page: 27). The ICAC cleared the premier of the bribery charge, but reported that he was still 'corrupt in terms of the ICAC Act' for his 'partial exercise' of his office in bypassing established appointment procedures protecting the merit-system of public service. The ICAC, which only took up the reference upon formal direction by the parliament, declined to recommend any further legal prosecution, leaving it up to parliament to determine the political fate of the premier - but finding that there existed, under the strict terms of the ICAC act, 'reasonable grounds' for the premier's dismissal (ICAC 1992a: 72-76). Mr Greiner quickly resigned as leader and later, together with another minister named in the report, also from parliament. The governing party quickly elected a new leader who, with the support of parliament, became the new premier, only to lead his party to defeat at the next election.
Many elected politicians, including a number of nationally prominent party opponents of the ex-premier, spoke out against the bureaucratic monster which had turned against its creator. The ICAC had faithfully applied the remarkably strict test of official corruption found in the ICAC Act: including that very open test as to whether official actions were 'partial', understood in this case as partial compliance with the requirements of the merit-based system of public service. Within a few months the state appeals court overturned the ICAC finding in a two to one decision, although their doubts were directed to the ICAC's subjective test of the grounds for dismissal from office, rather than the initial finding of 'partiality'.
The case reveals much more about administrative ethics than might be apparent from the publicly reported preoccupation with 'corruption'. The law includes, as a leading category of corruption, conduct which involves 'the partial exercise… of any official functions'. The ICAC law stipulates that in making findings of corruption the Commission must satisfy itself that the 'partial' actions are of sufficient magnitude that, in the words of the act, they 'could' constitute a criminal offence, or a disciplinary offence, or constitute at the very least 'reasonable grounds' for dismissal. The ICAC used only the 'reasonable grounds' case against the premier, arguing that his conduct threatened his continued hold on the office of chief executive: parliament could well have reasonable grounds to cause his dismissal by withdrawing its confidence in his administration. As the ICAC emphasised, whether parliament actually caused his dismissal was a matter for parliament alone. The superior courts declared this to be wrong in law as an unreliably subjective test (ICAC 1992b).
Political critics were outspoken in their criticism of so-called 'ethics police'. Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke, for example, after conceding that the premier had seriously misjudged the political risks of the job offer, raised what he termed a 'profound question of public policy' in warning against any trend to confuse 'a lack of wisdom, mistakes of judgment or plain bloody stupidity with corruption'. Similarly, Queensland state premier Mr Goss protested against the trend represented by the ICAC finding of casting politicians' behaviour 'only in dark and self-interested terms': judging actions according to such an elevated impartiality test is politically naive because 'seeking a party advantage' is 'what politicians do each day at the office'. The ICAC report had anticipated this, even to the extent of quoting from the premier's own explanation of the needlessly high standards of what the premier called the fearsome 'disinterestedness' standard, under which elected politicians may 'act only in what they consider to be the national interest' (ICAC 1992a: 92). As Mr Greiner clearly recognised, successful enforcement of standards of 'disinterestedness' would require the expulsion of partisanship, parties, and party government from Australian political life.
Of great interest here is the debate over the value of merit and the fear of political manipulation of the merit system of public service. The ICAC report reveals two related ethical dangers embedded in the Australian political system: first, a corrupt tendency for politicians to act partially by, second, influencing officials to act improperly in unethically bypassing the procedural conventions of the merit-based public service. In the opinion of the ICAC, the premier 'failed the test of impartiality' (ICAC 1992a: 73; cf ICAC 1992b). He attempted to appoint to a permanent public service position a political opponent on the partial grounds of the 'political advantage' of the government, and not on the properly impartial grounds of the individual's merit. The ICAC quite carefully distinguished appointments to the merit-based career public service from those to government service, such as boards of public enterprises, diplomatic posts and politically sensitive agency headships. This partiality test presumes that one can reasonably distinguish career public service cases from routine political appointments by governments to public offices, which are conventionally accepted as being within the gift of executive governments. Being part of a conventional government service, they are therefore not protected by statutory provisions stipulating appointment solely on the basis of merit, as in the case of the senior executive position established under the state's Public Sector Management Act examination (eg, ICAC 1992a: 58-59, 69, 75, 93). Ministers brought pressure to bear on the official head of the state's career public service to apply the appointment provisions of the Public Sector Management Act 'in a positively partial fashion' which, if not strictly unlawful, was 'improper' in the opinion of the ICAC (ICAC 1992a: 78-79, 88).
The ethical agony of public service life is illustrated in the situation of the administrative chief of the state system of public service, the secretary to the premier's department, who had been put 'in a most invidious position' by the government (ICAC 1992a: 87). His practical problem was how best 'to exercise a discretionary power in highly unusual circumstances'. This involved the dilemma of balancing his obligations to his minister, the premier, and his statutory obligations to care for the 'professional public service'. In finding that the most senior official had acted 'improperly', the ICAC reported that he had done the bidding of the government and was 'party' to the 'positively partial' process in which there was 'no genuine merit selection' (ICAC 1992a: 88-89).
The ethical test of proper use of powers cannot be reduced solely to a legal one without exhausting ethics of any moral meaning. The policy task is to identify the appropriate bodies with responsibility and capacity for auditing the ethics of official discretion: the two extremes of ministerial and judicial bodies each pose tests of form which too easily abstract from the substance of the public interest. The alternative of closer legislative oversight, which suggests itself as the unexplored remedy, suffers from Australian uncertainty as to the constitutional credibility of a legislative body controlling executive officials. Some of this uncertainty has been met by the welcome developments in the ethical reorientation of the state legislature in the wake of the Greiner Affair.
One of the most significant institutional developments to come out of the Greiner Affair is the articulation of legislative ethics. For present purposes, the developments in the state of New South Wales can stand as representative of legislative ethics trends in the larger Australian scene, although different jurisdictions will be a little ahead or behind the trends reported here (see eg Uhr 1998: 170-176; Burgmann 1998). Australian public servants frequently find themselves in professional dilemmas, caught between their organisational duties to their ministers who direct the activities of their agencies and their countervailing obligations of accountability as public employees to parliamentary oversight committees. Hence it is useful for all concerned when parliamentary institutions set out the standards of appropriate conduct against which elected representatives want to be judged (Preston and Sampford 1998).
Consistent with this, the ICAC act has been amended to ensure that the state parliament put its own house in order. Three subsequent developments reflect the rather sudden arrival of ethics within the legislative sphere in Australia. First, the two houses of the state parliament each established specialist ethics committees based on an overhaul of the traditional rather self-protective committees on parliamentary privileges. The inquiries and reports of these committees are now important sources in the Australian policy literature on public sector ethics (see eg Burgmann 1998; Smith 1998). Second, both houses have agreed to a code of conduct declaring the standards which the community had a right to expect of its elected representatives. Typically for Australian parliaments, there was initially no agreement between the two houses on the content of such a code: the lower house favouring a vague aspirational code and the upper house preferring a very detailed set of guidelines on misconduct. In 1988 the state premier released a model code which eventually obtained parliamentary consent. This code is short and legalistic, full of 'must dos': reminding members that under their general duties as trustees of the public they must: declare conflicts of interest and declare gifts; resist bribery; refrain from using confidential information for private gain. An important parliamentary addition to the premier's code is the public acknowledgement that 'organised parties are a fundamental part of the democratic process'. The implication here is that party loyalty is not to be understood by ICAC or other external scrutineers as a form of 'partiality' inappropriate to the parliamentary sphere.
Third, both houses moved towards the establishment of an ethics commissioner, styled a parliamentary ethics adviser. Each step here is small and tentative. The federal legislature has no such ethics officer and like most of the state parliaments relies on the skill and prudence of their Privileges Committees. Australian legislatures acknowledge that their credibility as agents of public accountability now depends on their ability to demonstrate their own ethics of accountability. The New South Wales upper house ethics committee has signalled that this demonstration should proceed through internal training rather external policing and has undertaken to produce a novel casebook on legislative ethics as an adjunct to the work of the ethics commissioner (Burgmann 1998).
3: Promoting Public Trust
We turn now to positive attempts to promote responsible conduct. Developments in the state of Queensland illustrate many of the boldest policy measures that have emerged in recent years in Australian public service ethics. At around the same time that New South Wales experienced a newly elected conservative government establishing the ICAC, Queensland experienced a liberal government experimenting with alternative policies to combat fraud and corruption in government. Whereas the ICAC model is, as its name implies, geared up against invasive and negative elements which corrupt the integrity of government, the Queensland model attempts to promote positive standards of ethically appropriate official practice. Following the main outlines recommended by the 1989 Fitzgerald Inquiry which effectively brought to an end over two decades of secretive conservative rule and increasing public cynicism about public life, the new liberal government established, among other anti-corruption institutions, an Electoral and Administrative Review Commission (EARC) to advise government on best policies and practices for rebuilding public confidence in government (Prasser, Wear and Nethercote 1990; EARC 1992: 1-6; Solomon 1998; Whitton 1994).
EARC existed from 1989 until it completed its series of systemic reviews of state governance in 1994. Among EARC's many inquiries and reports is that of 1992 on codes of conduct for public officials, which was published around the time of the ICAC inquiry referred to above (EARC 1992: 192-204). This was EARC's primary contribution to ethics in government, and it broke ranks with many traditional Australian approaches to the regulation of public office. EARC was unconvinced of the public policy merits of the conventional view about administrative morality which holds that officials are neutral instruments of the government of the day, with no professionally independent role in the policy process; and further that 'trust' in government referred principally to the confidence which ministers have a right to expect of their loyal officials. Focusing on 'the duty of trusteeship' as the primary orientation for public officials, EARC reported that the need for new policies and practices on administrative ethics was urgent now that administrative discretion was being accepted as an inevitable element of the public policy process in systems of responsible government (EARC 1992: 34-56).
But the mere articulation of public trust concepts is, as the EARC knew full well, insufficient, for there is 'no settled view of the ethical standards' appropriate for 'public officials in a democratic system of government'. EARC saw its role as including that most basic of public policy tasks: drawing together the core elements of the absent consensus on administrative ethics. Where other review bodies have attempted to define the substantive moral responsibilities of the ethics of public office, EARC mapped out new ground by attempting to define what one might call the process framework of obligations of public accountability. This is the framework regulating the ways in which officials' ethical discretions are, if so required, publicly justified. EARC's distinctive approach to the ethics of office was to focus on the concept of public office as the primary category, with the stated aim of devising 'a set of distinctive relationships inherent in our society's concept of "public office"…'. The result is a refreshing reappraisal of the relevance of the constitutional framework of the Westminster-derived tradition of responsible parliamentary government, which has in practice shown great 'potential for conflict between the public and private loyalties of public officials' (EARC 1992: 9, 11,15, 16-28; Solomon 1998: 14-17).
EARC recognised a systemic defect in Australian constitutionalism: the exclusion of appropriate checks and balances under the political fiction that public officials can and should act as neutral, technocratic instruments, unbiased by value distractions relating to their wider public interest obligations (EARC 1992: 16-17). In contrast to many other ethics reviews, EARC went beyond the common initial steps of identifying flaws in the orthodox doctrine of neutrality and calling for recognition of a values dimension to public office. Such a generic call for values (surprisingly unspecified in many cases) is the easy part of administrative ethics; the hard part is devising institutional environments that invest in ethics within public agencies. EARC in contrast saw the importance of providing an institutional dimension to this search for values-based public administration, and it turned to constitutional structures to provide a legitimate grounding for administrative ethics.
The proposed solution was the challenging constitutional doctrine that public offices are positions of public trust, which involve a balance of policy responsibilities and process accountabilities. Officials exercise power over public policy through their administrative discretion in advising on, implementing and evaluating government programs. In contrast to most ethics regimes which attempt to specify the values with which proper public administration should comply, the EARC approach puts to one side the principles of motivation while paying greater attention to those of public justification. This implies that there is a zone of acceptable ethical values which is defined and ordered by the tests of justification imposed by the agents of accountability. For public officials, the basic test of being ethical is meeting the tests of open, public justification of results as constitutionally required by the structures of accountability. This approach is not simply an institutional one but a constitutional one that locates appropriate regime values in the core political institutions which constitute the system of democratic governance.
Not all have been convinced that constitutionalism thus understood gets us far enough beyond the limitations of role ethics (Preston 1996; Corbett 1997). One understandable fear is that this route might reduce administrative morality to compliance with the endless demands of the agents of accountability for more and more information about administrative process, regardless of whether the public interest is being served by program management. When push comes to shove, trusteeship becomes responsiveness to political demands made in the name of, but not necessarily in the service of, public accountability.
The EARC response is that the constitution of accountability provides the essential processing structures within which administrative discretion is examined. Further, examination by accountability agents must itself meet certain compliance standards, the aim being to relate the two parties in an audit of the 'trustworthiness' of the officials under examination. Like ICAC, EARC accepted that their new standards might be regarded as too demanding for public life. In practice, much depends on the working relationship between the office of public trust and official actions respecting the 'duty to act in the public interest'. Public trust notions might work most effectively as inhibitors on self-interest, reminding officials that their powers will be judged according to a benefits test, with a critical eye to the possibility of official self-interest or partiality. Trust thus understood serves as a check on the irresponsible use of public office for private gain. But EARC opens a door to another mode of managing the ethics of office, in which the concept of the public interest serves as a positive goal against which actions will be judged by the agents of accountability. In this alternative mode of official ethics, the appropriate standard is not the negative one of avoiding self-interest, but the more exacting one of promoting the common good or public interest (EARC 1992: 22-25; cf Mulgan 2000).
EARC itself raises all the usual warnings about the difficulty of finding practical definitions of the public interest, and adds to the potential mischief of any such standard by detailing the conventional subdivisions of public interest theories into the two camps of utilitarianism and deontology. Their proposed solution is to accept that the notion has an unavoidable elasticity due to the 'three overlapping criteria' derived from the set of three legitimate perspectives on what is in the public interest as judged by executive government, professional standards, and personal ethics (EARC 1992: 25).
Life after EARC measures up remarkable well against the demanding EARC standards. Ethics features prominently in two spheres in the newly reformed public sector in Queensland. First, the place of administrative ethics in the newly articulated professional ethos of career public servants; and second, the surprising turn to legislative ethics as an important supplement to the emphasis on the public accountability of officials. Other jurisdictions are reshaping their own ethics regimes along generally similar lines, if at a slower pace of reform.
In relation to administrative ethics, the general Queensland framework is regulated through the state's 1994 Public Service Act and the specific ethics regime is established by the 1996 Public Sector Ethics Act. The latter is the most significant product of the government's response to EARC and the former is an interesting consequential rewrite of the basic legislative provisions for core public employees. The basic legislation states that state public service exists 'as an apolitical entity responsive to Government needs' and committed to 'a spirit of service to the community'. This establishes the formal declaration of a public as distinct from a government service. The basic law also stipulates the core principles of public service management, nicely captured in the duty to implement government policies 'responsively and responsibly'. So too official conduct is acknowledged as a 'public trust' such that officials are expected to carry out their duties 'impartially and with integrity'.
Who is responsible for making this happen? Interestingly the law recognises that the ultimate responsibility of the state premier, working normally through the public service commissioner whose own functions must be performed 'independently, impartially, fairly, and in the public interest', thereby modelling the qualities of bureaucratic chief executives generally. Under this legislative umbrella, the Public Sector Ethics Act establishes the specifics of the ethics regime. This law lists five core ethics principles which it declares as fundamental to good public administration: respect for the law and the system of government; respect for persons; integrity; diligence; economy and efficiency. From these core principles an extensive set of ethics obligations flows, with each of the five principles attracting a package of 'should' and 'should nots': for example, the principle of integrity requires that officials should 'seek to maintain and enhance public confidence in the integrity of public administration; and to advance the common good of the community the official serves'; and therefore should not allow personal interests to interfer with their official duties.
How can such admirable principles and obligations become administrative realities? The policy answer is through the promotion of codes of conduct as instruments of ethics (Hughes 1991; Whitton 1994). The law outlines the general character of codes of conduct and then identifies the preparation of agency-specific codes as a responsibility of the relevant chief executive --- with the final public approval resting with the appropriate minister, thereby making the political executive equally responsible alongside the bureaucratic leadership for the carriage of codes. After that point, agency employees 'must comply' with the duties as codified and chief executives must ensure that 'appropriate education and training' are provided to employees about their rights and obligations.
As with New South Wales, the renovation of legislative ethics has been less forthcoming. But the system of governance can not overhaul administrative ethics in the absence of greater appreciation by elected officials of their own ethical obligations. Once again, the incentive rests with EARC which called for new efforts to devise a scheme of legislative ethics. The various detours and eventual achievements since that original plea in 1992 are recorded in the 1998 parliamentary report which devised and recommended a draft code of legislative ethics (E&PPC 1998). Among the proposed innovations is a statement of commitment for newly elected members and a substantially upgraded program of induction and training.
4: Codes of Conduct
The merit of codes of ethics and of conduct is the transparency they bring to public expectations of official conduct. But even the most ardent proponents of codes know that codification is not all there is to ethics. Public credibility requires proof not only of official compliance with proclaimed standards but also of external scrutiny and review to ensure that standards are both fair and feasible (Uhr 1999a). Recent Australian experience has highlighted a number of limitations of the code-centred approach to public service ethics. Two issues stand out: legislative uncertainty over what governments accept as fair and feasible; and political conflict over the adherence of ministers to their proclaimed standards as leaders of public administration. Both instances surfaced early in the life of the Howard government elected in 1996.
The case of legislative uncertainty surrounds the much-delayed parliamentary passage of the 1998 public service legislation (CBPA 1997). The Howard government's original 1997 public service bill was not passed by the Senate, forcing the government to introduce a number of its values-related changes by way of regulation. These were later picked up and included in the Public Service Act passed in 1998. The parliamentary debate clearly indicated considerable political uneasiness over several ethics-related proposals. Of particular importance was the opposition of non-government parties to the proposed new statement of public service values. Instead of any reference to the public interest one finds the description of the public service as 'apolitical', which is at best a negative definition of service values. Critics feared that this negative approach meant that governments might be tempted to subvert traditional values of public interest impartiality by substituting value-free instrumentalism in its place.
Interestingly, the most hotly debated provision related to the qualities appropriate to policy advising, which is a sphere of public service activity that is becoming more prominent as many spheres of program implementation are being hived off to contract providers (Uhr and Mackay 1996). The Howard government proposed a set of values including one that identified a standard relating to the provision of 'accurate and timely' advice. Critics feared that this declaration fell far short of the standards of public interest advocacy which the community is entitled to expect from their public servants. The revised charter of values now included in the Public Service Act refers more broadly to 'frank, honest, comprehensive, accurate and timely advice' --- and this parliamentary amendment of the government's preferred position tells a larger tale about Parliament's growing institutional interest in protecting the public interest dimensions of government operations (see eg Mulgan 2000).
The case of ministerial compliance with their own distinctive code of conduct is even more complicated. During its first term (1996-1998), the Howard government found itself impailed on the sharp point of the prime minister's welcome but demanding code of conduct (Uhr 1998: 194-196). The government was taken by surprise when eight ministers or parliamentary secretaries were forced to resign for various lapses of official conduct. Three ministers have gone for breaches of conflict of interest and the rest for various 'travel scams' which breached related guidelines as well as the spirit of the new code. Another minister had the public support of the prime minister against charges of conflict of interest but, weary from the burden of repeated public justification of his apparent if not real conflicts of interest, eventually retired from ministerial office after the 1998 election.
Most of the immediate commentary related to the prime minister's reluctance to force strict ministerial compliance with his code. But just as important is the very existence of the code. While earlier prime ministers have had rules requiring ministers to file statements of financial interests, John Howard is the first Australian prime minister to establish a public code stipulating standards of ministerial conduct. The Commonwealth public service had done its policy development and had provided the former government with an important statement on accountability in Australian government which identified the place that ministerial ethics should play in setting the tone for responsible government in Australia (MAB 1993). To an extent, the bureaucracy had taken the initiative and gone some considerable way towards providing whoever was the government of the day with two companion documents: an emerging report which identified the important place of values and ethics in Australian public administration, and a working draft of a set of standards for ministers. Soon after his election in March 1996, John Howard published both documents: first his version of the ministerial code and then the public service report on bureaucratic ethics (Howard 1996; MAB 1996; Uhr 1998: 194-209).
The so-called ministerial code is not really a code or legal instrument but a public declaration by the prime minister. The document is not a law or regulation and it does not even have any formal parliamentary authorisation. There is nothing to stop the prime minister as author of the document from using his authority to alter or amend it or to interpret it as he sees fit --- and nothing to stop a new government from starting all over again with a new code. As critics have argued, this is very much a small-c code of conduct.
Ministerial misconduct should be understood in terms of its context, within the rules of the game of parliamentary government. Even after acknowledging the formal authority of the Governor General as head of the federal executive council, the Howard code notes that even though the cabinet is not mentioned in the Constitution, it really is 'the central organ for collective consideration of issues by ministers'. The code usefully identifies three leading principles of collective ministerial responsibility which effectively define the operating ethic of cabinet government in Canberra, which is one of player loyalty to the captain/coach: first, all cabinet decisions 'bind all ministers'; second, all ministers 'must give their support in public debate to decisions of government'; third, ministers must 'refrain from public comment' on matters before cabinet or its committees 'until endorsed by the full cabinet'. So who really is in charge of our national system of collective or cabinet government? Who sets the terms for collective confidence? The code is very clear on this point: it is 'the Prime Minister who decides' both the agenda of business and the means of determining cabinet decisions (Howard 1996).
When the code finally comes to section five on ministerial conduct, the opening theme is that it is vital that the conduct of ministers not 'undermine public confidence in them or the government'. As in real life, public confidence in government should depend on evidence of trustworthiness by government. But frequently when governments demand our confidence all that they are really doing is asking us to take them on trust. This theme of retaining public confidence can be taken in two senses. First, in a high-minded sense of public trustworthiness introduced by the prime minister's Foreword when referring to ministerial observance of the highest standards of public trust which the Australian people 'have...as their entitlement'. There is also a second sense which is less high-minded and relates to the public credibility and electoral reputation of the government in power. Public confidence thus has at least these two meanings: a positive public faith in the trustworthiness of the ministry, and a negative sense that the ministry has not yet lost community confidence and deserves to remain in office, pending final electoral judgment. The path of honour places a burden on the prime minister to take positive responsibility for promoting and reinforcing public confidence in the trustworthiness of the ministry. But the path of convenience puts the burden on individual ministers not to rock the boat, either by speaking out against questionable conduct by colleagues or by disclosing personal details which might somehow 'undermine public confidence' (Howard 1996).
But the code also notes that ministers must also ensure that whatever they do 'that their conduct is defensible'. To many, a 'defensible' course of conduct falls short of conduct that is more openly 'justifiable'. Defensible conduct is akin to getting off with an 'unproven' verdict as distinct from a full exhoneration. This test of defensibility could be reduced to a minimalist one of avoiding conduct that is not capable of a public defense against charges of impropriety. This falls short of a strict ethical test of reassurance and trustworthiness. On the other hand, perhaps the code is taking a fair account of the relevant court which is political rather than judicial. Parliament is a political forum in which the opposition parties can be expected to remain unconvinced even of the most reasonable evidence in a minister's favour. The code in effect alerts ministers to the need to think ahead and ensure that their conduct, even in such minor matters as periods of leave while on overseas business, 'must be clearly defensible' (Howard 1996).
The code takes a remarkably strong line against private use of public office for personal gain. It silently draws on advice given to the former Fraser government in the influential report of the Bowen inquiry into Public Duty and Private Interest (Bowen 1979; Barlin 1997: 163-164). Bowen's proposed code of conduct rested on the principle that officeholders 'may be required by the nature of public office to accept restrictions on certain areas of their private conduct beyond those imposed on ordinary citizens' (Bowen 1979: 31). Such restrictions are more than simply obstacles to self-interest and should be understood as evidence that public officials are to act, in the best of worlds, as moral exemplars of public service.
The Howard code is especially useful in drawing attention to the appropriate relationship between ministers and public servants. The code recognises that ministers will encounter areas of unclear responsibility in their work with their 'permanent secretaries' --- as their departmental heads were once called, before the former Labor government turned them into 'departmental secretaries' employed by the government of the day on limited tenure. The code notes that ministers and public servants have 'complementary roles' in maintaining the trust upon which their public partnership rests. The ethical foundation of the career public service working under the general direction of departmental secretaries is their professional commitment to 'political impartiality'. The code recognises that ministers have very limited rights over the employment of career public servants and that they must not do anything 'which could call into question their political impartiality' (Howard 1996: 13, 15; cf Howard 1998). Merit-based employment in the public service is about many things, but particularly about safeguarding the public service against politicisation.
This is a two way street with professional obligations binding ministers and public servants into a public partnership. The code notes that the 'high standards' expected of the public service in relation to their 'honesty, integrity and conduct' demands of career public servants that they provide their ministers 'frank and comprehensive advice' and 'party-political impartiality'. The code is equally clear that ministers have 'no obligation' to accept public service advice, although they do have an obligation to ensure that public service advice be 'considered carefully and fairly' (Howard 1996: 13).
5: Schools of Comment
The Australian academic literature on ethics in government is small but growing. The field was originally the preserve of political scientists, most of whom have directed their contributions to the debate over the policy merits of the so-called 'new managerialism' (Parker 1993; Corbett 1997; Hood 1998). To the limited extent that Australian ethics-in-government literature has had any policy effect, it is as a participant in the often polemical dispute over the fate of equity and social justice under 'new public management'. The initial issues in debate have been, first, whether equity has been a casualty of the recent efficiency drives; and second, whether the professional ethic of career officers has been politicised through a form of 'asset stripping' in which political executives have neutralised the public service's capacity and will to act as an independently accountable institution of government. These two issues are about the social values of policy and policymakers. There is, however, a third and (at least in my view) regrettably minor issue relating to the institutional virtues of public servants which also deserves comment here (Uhr 1990: 25-26; cf Mulgan 2000).
The traditional pre-managerialist perspective is ably represented by R S Parker, whose reflective accounts of practical dilemmas in administration formed the major Australian chapter in the dismantling of the influential politics-administration dichotomy (Parker, 1993). Parker's interest was in administrative ethics as a political issue affecting the operations of interrelated institutions in the system of responsible government. As a public administration scholar, his contribution stopped short of advocating particular social outcomes, or even advocating systems of administration conducive to particular social outcomes. This is to do less than full justice to Parker's energetic rejection of managerialist models of public organisation and the professional ethic of administrators.
On the first issue, those non-government policy analysts closely involved in the debate over public service ethics have tended to be severely critical of the insiders' claims that the managerialist reforms to the organisation of public services have enhanced social justice. Representative scholars include Anna Yeatman, Marian Sawer and Martin Painter. The model of ethical administration at work here is one adapted from the 'new public administration' literature. The research task has been to identify the social pattern of winners and losers under managerialism, and to assess the ways in which the policy design shaped by economic rationalism has adversely affected the equal opportunities of vulnerable groups. By implication, much of this research work suggests that officials have an ethical duty to act in government on the basis of their sense of social responsibility. This segment of the ethics literature focuses on the social outcomes of government, and tends to see officials as potentially influential participants in the
policy process, who should act with a commitment to equity and socially beneficial outcomes.
Typical of this group is the rather angry exchange between the external analyst Considine and the agency head Paterson over the federal government's equity credentials (Considine 1988, 1990; Paterson). As a contribution to Australian public policy development, this and the associated literature mark an important turning point in the treatment of ethics. The equity literature fixes on the organisational relationship between processes and outcomes, and laments the managerialist preoccupation with private sector styles of organisational management, in which a range of social goods traditionally produced by government is marginalised. Although strongly rejected by many senior officials, the anti-managerialist critique has served to keep the ethics of office to the fore, and might even have forced the architects of managerialism to rein in some of the risky components of the risk management package.
On the second issue relating to personal rather than social responsibility, the relevant Australian policy analysts contend that the professional ethic being cultivated amid managerialism is basically instrumental and devoid of officers' individual commitment to independent moral standards. The model of ethical administration here is allied to moral theories of personal responsibility, and is close to that devised by John Burke and Terry Cooper in the US. The ethical perspective is that officials have a duty to act with a sense of personal responsibility for the processes of public administration. This segment of the ethics literature includes the whistleblowing research, mainly written by its advocates who argue that individual officials have a personal responsibility to see that the process is structured so that the truth wins out (Corbett 1997; Hood 1998; Pusey 1991).
Typical of this segment of the ethics literature is the influential research of Jackson, which has turned the bright spotlights of morality on to public administration, in an attempt to identify its weak ethical foundations (Jackson 1987, 1988; Jackson and Nelson 1991). Where many others confine their attention to professional ethics, Jackson reminds us that adjectives such as 'professional' before ethics tend to confine and stifle the place of genuine morality in office. Jackson's treatment of administrative ethics focuses on the personal moral responsibilities of decision makers, as they weigh up contending versions of the right thing to do. Drawing on Aristotle's robust political science, Jackson represents the important view that the ethics of office can not be reduced to pragmatic functionalism, in either its lowly managerial mode or its more lofty constitutional mode. Here the interest in administrative ethics is not limited to the network of institutional responsibilities linking officials to their accountability agents, but reaches out to the higher responsibilities which officials must observe. These higher duties include an interest in ensuring that the network operates to satisfy not simply the interests of the institutional stakeholders but more fundamentally the interests of justice. Administration is a political component within a larger social and economic whole, with a bias towards system maintenance; administrative ethics must include the consequences of bureaucratic power for the enhancement of the moral opportunities of all.
On the third issue of what I have termed institutional virtues, much excellent research is being done in Australia, without as yet great effect within government (see eg, Kellow, Finn, Saunders in Power 1990). The view of the relevant policy analysts is that the overlooked area of ethics is that of the institutional basis of official responsibilities (Sampford and Preston 1998). The model of ethical administration here is close, despite the absence of a public service oath to uphold the constitution, to that of Rohr's constitutional officer who balances the responsibilities of office against the legitimate interests of the other core institutions of government (Rohr; Uhr 1988). The aim here is not to identify a set of appropriate social values fit for official implementation, or even, like Jackson, a theory of justice which could elevate the moral dimension of decision making. Instead, the interest in this segment of the literature is to replace the search for right social values with a map of duly-constituted 'responsibility centers', in which different administrative offices and institutions would fulfil their policy responsibilities in line with the broad constitutional responsibilities of the office, as delegated to offices or institutions by the duly-constituted policy-authorisers. In contrast to the former treatments of social and moral trusts, here the core ethical idea is that of the duties of public trust which acts as one of the the primary fetters on the official exercise of discretion. The perspective being developed here is that of the institutional responsibility of officials, understood in terms of their quite specific duties attached to their particular responsibilities of offices.
The latest wave of research on public sector ethics has included a formidable body of work on what is termed 'institutional ethics'. This takes the ethics of role as a starting point for a fresh inquiry into the capacities of differently placed public officials to bring ethics to bear on public policy and administration. Typical of this trend in research are Charles Sampford and Noel Preston who have built on the practical achievements of Howard Whitton who is one of Australia's leading ethics advocates within the public service (Whitton 1994; Sampford and Preston 1998; Preston and Sampford 1998). It is probably an advantage that no one school or approach to ethics has anything like market dominance. Cynics would argue that all three approaches are marginal to the mainstream focus on managing for results, with its surprising devaluation of traditional process-ethics.
6: An Idealised Framework
Finally, it is important to stand back from the welter of changing policies and try to identify any deeper principles that might resonate with search for stable regime values. Australia is unusual in that the system of public administration has generated its own remarkable articulation of values. We conclude with a brief look at one of the most impressive internal accounts of public service ethics that still holds the promise of helping redefine the ethic of career service in Australia. The best place to find Australian benchmarks for administrative ethics is still the 1976 Report of the Coombs Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration (Coombs 1976; Uhr 1998: 164-170).
In the Coombs' view, ministers have good and bad reasons for rejecting the traditionally onerous standards of strict ministerial responsibility. The bad reasons are associated with self-interested flight from parliamentary responsibilities. Under the strict view of individual ministerial responsibility, which might appear to be an essential requirement of genuine parliamentary government, ministers are liable before parliament for all administrative actions performed in their name by their anonymous officials. From this perspective, bad faith could account for ministerial noncompliance with their obligations to wear their public responsibilities as chief executives. The good reasons flow from the recognition of the political facts of life, especially those of: steadily increasing bureaucratic power, with officials exercising ever wider-ranging administrative discretions; the reluctant recognition that official discretion is not only entrenched but necessary for good government and effective public policy; and the need to supplement ministerial responsibility and oversight with new protections against irresponsible uses of administrative powers.
The Report called for policy guidelines on the appropriate practical response of public officials to parliamentary committees - guidelines designed to clarify the existing convention supporting answers to questions on 'matters of fact' but not with such irresponsible independence as 'to express opinions for or against government policy' or to comment 'on the merits of a ministerial or government policy'. The Commission conceded that it is proper for some officials sometimes to comment on policy: for instance, in the cases of officials either (and it is a big 'either') in positions of responsibility in statutory authorities or otherwise established to 'exercise independently' their legal authority and provide government 'with independent and publicly stated advice' (Coombs 1976: 114-117).
In 1979 the federal public service commission produced its initial response to Coombs: the Guidelines on Official Conduct of Commonwealth Public Servants (PSC 1995; cf Hughes, 1980: 195-200). The Guidelines have been since revised several times under the responsibility of the Public Service Commissioner and are 'intended to ensure that public confidence is maintained in the Australian Public Service' by articulating a set of three root principles. First, that that officers should, 'with professionalism and integrity', efficiently 'serve the Government of the day'; second, that officers should observe 'fairness and equity'; and third, that officers should avoid 'real or apparent conflicts of interest' (PSC 1995: 1).
The Guidelines frankly recognise that public employees are part of the political system and that standards of conduct are affected by the political role which officials play in managing the public business. Within the first two pages of the Guidelines, one reads that the desired model of 'a professional and scrupulous public service' can not be quarantined from political conflicts over public power, especially those disputes between legislative and executive politicians over the accountability obligations of officials, which helps to explain the purpose of the companion Guidelines for Official Witnesses before parliamentary and related inquiries. Accepting the potential for disputed 'ownership' of the bureaucracy, the Guidelines state the main responsibilities of officials as the provision of 'honest and frank' policy advice - in contrast to advice that is given simply to 'curry favour' - and the implementation of government programs 'conscientiously and with full regard for government policy' (PSC 1995: 2-3, 12).
Commendably, the Guidelines reject any professional image of neutral instrumentalism: both major responsibilities require judgment which itself calls upon 'a public servant's own values'. Such enlistment of personal values is legitimate except where those values 'supplant those implicit in government policy'. The Guidelines offer quite practical advice on professional ethics even if that term is not in fact used. A section on how agency heads ought to manage policy and value disagreements with ministers helps set a tone of responsible political management, which contains a recognisable professional ethos even where ethics are not explicitly part of the theme. Officials act in ways which are 'the result of compromise and conflict between different perspectives, interests and values'.
Officials 'are not neutral' in that they make value judgments; they ought to be only as neutral as is consistent with acting 'inside Government policy' - although 'equity should be a goal and commitment in making those judgments' whatever the policy of the government of the day (PSC 1995: 3-5, 63). Equity thus understood can be regarded as a basic constitutional or regime value, part of the vital value consensus within which political dispute is contained.
The professional character of the public service is particularly evident in two aspects of officials' responsibilities: their duty of public comment, and their commitment to equity. Their 'positive duty' to contribute to public policy debate is restricted to 'reasoned public discussion', not so much on the policy merits of proposals as on their 'factual technical background' (PSC 1995: 14-17). Restrictions do apply, principally where public comment might undermine 'public confidence' in the 'professionalism and integrity' of the public service. As for the meaning of 'professionalism', the Guidelines note that its nature varies with employment positions, although 'skill, care, diligence and impartiality' are its among its 'common elements' (PSC 1995: 52).
The Guidelines conclude on the second and in many ways central theme of the equity commitment. This involves responsibilities to 'fairness in decision-making and equity in program administration'. Fairness here relates to the observance of the rules of natural justice; equity relates to the discretion exercised by officials who have a responsibility to try to honour a range of competing objectives - to the policies of the government, to efficiency, to the law, to equity - and on occasion 'those responsibilities will conflict with one another'. The principle of reconciliation is the obligation to act 'within Government policy' (PSC 1995: 58-63; cf MAB 1996: 13-21).
The Commonwealth Guidelines are not much referred to these days. They reflect an older era of central agency leadership of service-wide issues. The 1993 Management Advisory Board report on Accountability comes at the issues more directly by concluding its much tighter discussion with the public service guidelines for parliamentary witnesses (MAB 1993: 26-41). The 1996 companion report on Ethical Standards and Values gets back to the realm of responsible discretionary judgments, but that encouraging return to philosophical deliberation for public officials has faded in the wake of the fading away of the Management Advisory Board itself (MAB 1996).
Public servants can never really expect to find an easy way of balancing the two ethics of responsibility and
accountability. The balance will vary with circumstances and not least with the changing demands of those exercising accountability. Both ethical perspectives are legitimate in democratic governments and democratic communities can expect both to play important parts in the policy process. Not all the problem rests with executive government. Arenas of accountability are useful when it comes to testing the levels of responsibility of political and administrative officials, but accountability agencies should also face tests of their own competence and responsibility. Declarations of the values that the community can rightly expect to see on display by public officials provide a good start to joining the interests of responsibility and accountability. But just as important is a sustainable dialogue between institutions of executive responsibility and institutions of public accountability over how best to promote the good goverance of the community as a whole. This Discussion Paper has attempted to keep that dialogue going by focusing on important policy frameworks regulating ethical conduct.
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Public Policy Program Discussion Papers
The Public Policy Program publishes occasional Discussion Papers by staff, students, visitors and others associated with the Program.
In November 1997 the program began making electronic copies of most recent Discussion Papers available to be down loaded from the program's website at http://www.anu.edu.au/pubpol/discussp.html (*marked below with an asterisk).
Enquiries should be directed to: The Editor, Discussion Papers, Public Policy Program, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200.
Papers published thus far are:
No. 1 Larry Dwyer, Estimating the Lifesavings Benefits of Controls on Hazardous Wastes: Two Problems for the Policymaker. (July 1986)
No. 2 Jane Marceau, Unequal Returns: Aspects of Opportunity in Australia. (October 1986)
No. 3 Rolf Gerritsen, Making Policy Under "Uncertainty": The Labor Government's Reaction to the "Rural Crisis". (February 1987)
No. 4 Eleanor Moses, The Oil Price Fall of 1986. (July 1987)
No. 5 P J Forsyth, Productivity Measurments in the Public Sector. (August 1987)
No. 6 Rolf Gerritsen, What Do Budget Outcomes Tell Us About the Australian States? (September 1987)
No. 7 Rolf Gerritsen, Collective Action Problems in the Regulation of Australia's Common Property Renewable Resources. (October 1987)
No. 8 Neil Marshall, Bureaucratic Politics and the Demise of the Commonwealth Tertiary Education Commission. (March 1988)
No. 9 Charles Maskell, Does Medicare Matter? (May 1988)
No. 10 Ray Jureidini, Public Policy and Marketplace Discrimination: Life Insurance and Superannuation. (June 1988)
No. 11 Roger Wettenhall, Overlapping Public Sectors; Notes on Foreign Public Enterprise Activity in Australia. (July 1988)
No. 12 Deborah Mitchell, Assessing the Adequacy of Social Security Payments. A Study Using U.K. Data. (August 1988)
No. 13 Rolf Gerritsen, Informing Wilderness Policy: The Distributional Implications of Conservation. (January 1989)
No. 14 Christine Fletcher, Isolated Aborigines and Road Funding Policies in Western Australia. (March 1989)
No. 15 Rolf Gerritsen, A Comment on the Appropriate Assignment of Policy Powers in the Australian Federation. (November 1989)
No. 16 Deborah Mitchell, Comparative Measures of Welfare Effort . (January 1990)
No. 17 Ann Cronin, Trends and Tensions in Performance Evaluation in the Public Sector. (February 1990).
No. 18 Deborah Mitchell, Comparing Income Transfer Systems: Is Australia the Poor Relation? (May 1990)
No. 19 John Uhr, Ethics in Government: Public Service Issues. (June 1990).
No. 20 Peter Cochrane & Rolf Gerritsen, The Public Policy Implications of Eucalypt Plantation Establishment: An Introductory Survey. (September 1990).
No. 21 F G Castles & D Mitchell, Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism or Four? (September 1990)
No. 22 Francis Castles & Michael Flood, Divorce, the Law and Social Context: Families of Nations and the Legal Dissolution of Marriage. (January 1991)
No. 23 Rolf Gerritsen, The Impossible Politics of Microeconomic Reform. (February 1991).
No. 24 Duane Swank, Electoral and Partisan Influences on Australian Fiscal Policy From Menzies to Hawke. (May 1991)
No. 25 Francis Castles, On Sickness Days and Social Policy. (July 1991)
No. 26 Adrian Kenneth Noon, The Negligible Impact of Specific Purpose Payments and Australia's New Federalism. (August 1991)
No. 27 Kerry Barwise & Francis G. Castles, The New Federalism , Fiscal Centralisation and Public Policy Outcomes. (September 1991)
No. 28 Francis G. Castles & Jenny Stewart, Towards Industrially Sustainable Development? Industry Policy Under the Hawke Government. (October 1991)
No. 29 Stephen Albin, Bureau-Shaping and Contracting Out: The Case of Australian Local Government. (January 1992)
No. 30 Adrian Kenneth Noon, Determining the Fiscal Policy Time-Frame: the Dominance of Exogenous Circumstances. (February 1992)
No. 31 Christopher John Eichbaum, Challenging the Intellectual Climate of the Times: Why the Reserve Bank of Australia is Too Independent? (January 1993)
No. 32 Joan Corbett, Child Care Provision and Women's Labour Market Participation in Australia. (February 1993)
No. 33 Francis G. Castles, Social Security in Southern Europe: A Comparative Overview. (March 1993)
No.34 Francis G. Castles, On Religion and Public Policy: Does Catholicism Make a Difference? (April 1993)
No.35 Rolf Gerritsen, "Authority, Persuasion and Exchange" (Revisited): The Public Policy of Internationalising the Australian Economy. (August 1993)
No.36 Deborah Mitchell, Taxation and Income Redistribution: The "Tax Revolt" of the 1980s Revisited. (September 1993)
No.37 Kim Terrell, Desperately Seeking Savings, Performance and Accountability. Policing Options for the Australian Capital Territory. (September 1993)
No.38 Francis G. Castles, Is Expenditure Enough? On the Nature of the Dependent Variable in Comparative Public Policy Analysis. (February 1994)
No.39 Francis G. Castles, The Wage Earners' Welfare State Revisited: Refurbishing the Established Model of Australian Social Protection, 1983-1993. (March 1994)
No.40 Francis G. Castles, Testing the Limits of the Metaphore: Fordist and Post-Fordist Life Cycles in Australia and New Zealand. (May 1994)
No.41 Louise Watson, Making the Grade: Benchmarking Performance in Australian Schooling. (August 1994)
No. 42 Siwan Lovett, Evaluating Reform of the New Zealand Science, Research and Development System: New Deal or Dud Hand? (September 1994)
No. 43 Choon Fah Low, An Evaluation of the Impact of the ANU's Graduate Program in Public Policy on its Students' and Graduates' Careers. (October 1994)
No. 44 Einar Overbye, Different Countries on a Similar Path: Comparing Pensions Politics in Scandinavia and Australia . (August 1995)
No.45 Grant Jones, Games Public Servants Play: The Management of Parliamentary Scrutiny Before Commonwealth Estimates Committees. (August 1995)
No.46 Stephen Horn, Disagreeing About Poverty: A Case Study in Derivation Dependence . (August 1995)
No 47 Douglas Hynd. Concerned with Outcomes or Obsessed with Progress? Characteristics of Senate Committee Reports During the Period 1990-1994 . (September 1995)
No. 48 Pip Nicholson. Does the System of Appointing Australian High Court Judges Need Reform? (November 1995)
*No. 49 Fred Argy, The Balance Between Equity and Efficiency in Australian Public Policy (November 1996)
*No. 50 Deborah Mitchell, Family Policy in Australia: A review of recent developments. (March 1997)
*No. 51 Richard Mulgan, Contracting Out and Accountability . (May 1997)
*No. 52 Cynthia J. Kim, Will they still pay up-front? An analysis of the HECS changes in 1997 (May 1997)
*No. 53 Richard Mulgan, Restructuring -The New Zealand Experience froman Australian Perspective (June 1997)
*No. 54 P.N. Junankar, Was Working Nation Working? (July 1997)
*No. 55 Deborah Mitchell, Reshaping Australian ?Social Policy: alternatives to the breadwinner welfare state (December 1997)
*No. 56 Irene Krauss, Voluntary Redundancy from the Australian Public Service-its impact on people and families in the ACT (March 1998)
*No. 57 Peter Taft, Does who wins matter more or less? An analysis of major party candidate views on some aspects of economic policy, 1987-1996 (July 1998).
*No. 58 Elise Sullivan, A Case Study In The Politics Of Retrenchment: The 1997 Coalition Residential Aged Care Structural Reform Package (November 1998).
*No. 59 Richard Mulgan, Have New Zealand's Political Experiments Increased Public Accountability * (January 1999).
*No. 60 Michael Bergmann, The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme: How did it Manage Without an EIA? (Februaary 1999)
*No. 61 Clive Hamilton, Using Economics to Protect the Environment (March 1999)
*No. 62 Withers, Glenn Essays on Immigration Policy (March 1999)
*No. 63 Withers, Glenn A Younger Australia (March 1999)
*No. 64 McMullan, Bob; Shadow Minister for Industry and Technology, The Responsibilities Of Opposition (May 1999)
*No. 65 Evans, Harry, Clerk of the Senate, The Senate And Parliamentary Accountability (June 1999)
*No.66 Barrett, Pat, AM, Auditor General for Australia, Auditing in contemporary public administration , (June 1999)
*No.67 Enfield, Samantha, Public Sector Restructuring and Community Consultation in the Australian Capital Territory: Can Old and New Public Policy Trends Work Together? , (September 1999)
*No.68 Barrett, Hon Phillip, MP, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Democratic Governance: Improving the Inistitutions of Accountability, (September 1999)
*No.69 Uhr, John, The Senate and Proportional Representation: public policy justifications of minority representation , (September 1999)
*No.70 Yates, Athol, Government as an informed buyer: Recognising technical expertise as a crucial factor in the success of engineering contracts , (September 1999)
* electronic copy available to be down loaded from our web site at
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date last modified: Thursday 19 October 2000