A history of the Institute of Public Administration Australia, 1980–2020

Government accountability Public service Public sector Public servants Australia

The history of the Institute of Public Administration Australia mirrors that of our federation: just as six British colonies came together as the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901, so too did eight Australian regional groups of the Institute of Public Administration unite as independent national organisation on 1 January 1980.

The strength of IPAA, since the very first regional group was formed in South Australia in 1927, has been its members: those working in government, those focused on the study of public administration, and those with a strong interest in good government.

Over the past 40 years IPAA has strived to support, challenge and inspire those working in the Australian public sector and promote the highest standards of excellence in government. Nationally IPAA has produced a journal of public administration since 1937, hosted a national conference every year since 1958, and since 1959 held an annual oration to provide a link between the memory of Sir Robert Garran GCMG — the first Australian Commonwealth public servant — and the subject of public administration.

This book of IPAA’s 40-year history reminds us of the wonderful spirit of service that defines the qualities of those working in public administration. Woven into this history are reproductions of ten Garran Orations delivered by some of Australia’s most eminent leaders, including three Prime Ministers, two leading public servants, three academics, a chief justice, a lawyer and four Aboriginal Australians.

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