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Tuesday, 19 June 2001
Page: 27857

Mr NAIRN (2:13 PM) —My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Has the Prime Minister's attention been drawn to the fact that this week sees the centenary of the Australian Public Service?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —It does not surprise me that the member for Eden-Monaro, who magnificently represents in this parliament many people who are employed by the Australian Public Service—

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr SPEAKER —The Deputy Leader of the Opposition! The Prime Minister has the call. The member for Brisbane will consult standing order 55.

Mr HOWARD —It is the case, as the member for Eden-Monaro alludes to in his question, that this week we are celebrating 100 years of the establishment of the Australian Public Service. I know that I speak on behalf of all members of the parliament in putting on record in this place the appreciation of the Australian people, through the government, for the contribution that has been made by the men and women of the Australian Public Service over the last 100 years. I think Australia has had an extremely professional and committed Public Service of great integrity. It is a Public Service that has faithfully served governments of different political persuasions over the last 100 years. I will have the opportunity later today at a gathering to say a few words about the role of the Public Service now and into the future and also to more directly express to the men and women of the Australian Public Service our very great appreciation for the contribution that they have made.

The Public Service now of course is very different from what it was 100 years ago. Like all other parts of society, it has changed significantly over that 100-year period. I am very pleased to have led a government that through the passage in 1999 of a modernised Public Service Act has significantly reflected the changed economic, bureaucratic and social circumstances in which the Australian Public Service operates. The interrelationship of the Public Service to government and the role of private office staff of course have undergone a very significant change in the 27 years that I have been a member of this place. But one constant, I believe, has been the commitment of the men and women of the Australian Public Service to give high quality advice, to give it fearlessly and to give it with the best interests of Australia at heart. I thank them for that contribution and I wish them well in the years ahead.