Diplomacy trumps ideology with new Public Service Commissioner

The CPSU says the appointment of Peter Woolcott as Australian Public Service Commissioner offers a much needed break from the damaging ideological agenda of John Lloyd.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the appointment this afternoon, with Mr Woolcott moving from his current role as Mr Turnbull’s Chief of Staff to commence in the role in just 10 days time.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “It’s unusual to have a career diplomat appointed as Public Service Commissioner, but Peter Woolcott is a welcome and plainly also a much needed change given his long history of working in the Australian public service. There’s never been so much need for someone in the job who knows and values the role of the public service.”

“Peter Woolcott is a welcome change but he should be under no illusion that he’ll have his work cut out given the mess that he’s inheriting from John Lloyd, who leaves as the worst Public Service Commissioner in history. Mr Lloyd has put his own political ideology ahead of the interests of the public service and the Australian people at every opportunity, causing damage that will take literally years of work to repair.”

“The Public Service Commissioner should be championing the importance of the public service and the people who lie at its centre rather than pushing an agenda set by the Institute of Public Affairs and the HR Nichols Society. Mr Woolcott’s appointment makes that possible.”

“Mr Lloyd’s rapid departure gives Mr Woolcott the opportunity to play an important role in the ongoing APS Review. Public service capability and service delivery has been run down by years of cuts and repeated attacks by the Turnbull Government. We’ve seen destructive policies such as the arbitrary staffing cap and the ballooning overuse of contractors, consultants and labour hire, while workers suffer job insecurity and declining real wages. It remains to be seen whether Mr Woolcott’s appointment signals a genuine shift in direction or simply a more professional and palatable messenger.”

“I’ll be seeking to meet with Mr Woolcott as soon as possible after he begins as Commissioner to discuss his approach on the challenges facing the APS and the people working within it, many of whom we represent.”

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