Political appointments



Reforming public appointments

Ministers make appointments to powerful roles across the public sector. These can be controversial, so ensuring a high calibre of appointees is important. This report responds to concerns about the appointments process – and standards in public life generally – by proposing reforms to restore...

Report of the DPC Inquiry: Appointment of Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to the Americas

Public servants and the general public should be able to have confidence that public service appointments are made based on merit. This report seeks to address specific problems arising in two recent recruitment processes, as well as making recommendations for system-wide change to bolster the...
Policy report

Defining democracy down: political judicialisation, judicial politicisation

In this paper, the author examines the issue of judicial independence and judicial politicisation in a comparative perspective. The paper starts with some general observations, then turns to the United States and moves on to the United Kingdom, before distilling some lessons — and perhaps...

New politics: a better process for public appointments

Many federal and state government boards, tribunals and agencies are stacked with people who have worked in politics – almost always for the party that was in government when they got the job. This report argues that Australian politics has a growing ‘jobs for mates’...
Discussion paper

Cronyism in appointments to the AAT: an empirical analysis

This study finds there has been a sharp rise in the proportion of political appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) during the Abbott/Turnbull/ Morrison administrations.
Briefing paper

Reinforcing ethical standards in government

This paper argues that Boris Johnson should take the steps to establish and enforce the high standards the public expects of the UK government and to help restore trust in public life.

Defining the challenge, making the change

This report examines the problem of declining public trust from the perspective of a representative sample of federal public servants brought together to deliberate on the role they could play in the renewal of Australia’s democratic practice.

Allegations of political interference in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

This report discusses the events in 2018 that led to the termination of the managing director's employment and resignation of the ABC Chair, and also examines allegations of political influence in the operations and broadcast policies of the ABC.
Discussion paper

Depoliticising the ABC board and appointment process

In previous eras, both sides of politics made inappropriate partisan appointments to the ABC board. Despite the ‘arm’s length, merit based’ reforms made in 2013, the appointment process has once again become deeply politicised. Basic governance standards are being breached.
Briefing paper

National Integrity Commission: Design blueprint

The Australia Institute’s National Integrity Committee of corruption fighters and retired judges has released the next stage in the design of a National Integrity Commission.
Conference paper

Australia's electoral management bodies: degrees of independence

Australia is at the forefront of professional and independent electoral administration, especially when assessed in international comparative studies. However, while there is often debate about the levels of fairness provided by the various electoral systems in use throughout Australia, less scrutiny has been applied to...

Appointments to public sector boards in Australia: a comparative assessment

Meredith Edwards, Emeritus Professor at the University of Canberra, has written a comprehensive analysis of the appointments process to public boards in Australia. Australia has yet to embark on the significant reform of the process seen in countries such as the UK and Canada, where...

Making independent bodies independent

As previously identified by the Democratic Audit of Australia, the making of politically tainted appointments to non-departmental public agencies can undermine the public value of these institutions and obstruct democratic processes.1 In most cases, independence from government is one of the major reasons for the...

Time for transparency

The Reserve Bank’s relationship with government is working well, except from an anachronistic process of appointing board members, writes Nicholas Gruen.