These forty-eight articles from thirty-one contributors cover fifteen subject areas.
In the absence of political leadership, as Ken Henry points out in his opening comments, our problem may not be so much complacency about the need for future reforms as a public lack of awareness about the challenges that we face. Accordingly our hope is that this book will raise public awareness and act as a catalyst for further public discussion of what we see as the most important issues facing Australia at this time.
The selection of articles covers what we see as the key policy challenges for the future. They reflect the views of independent commentators who are experts in their field and able to draw on the available evidence to support their arguments. In the present policy vacuum we consider it is only by this type of informed public discussion that sufficient consensus will emerge to encourage the political parties to embrace a proper reform agenda.
John Menadue was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1985 for public service. From 1960 to 1967 he was Private Secretary to Gough Whitlam, Leader of the Opposition. He then moved into the private sector for seven years as General Manager, News Limited, Sydney, publisher of The Australian. John Menadue was head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1974 to 1976 and closely involved in the events of 11 November 1975. He worked for Prime Ministers Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser. From 1979-1980 he was Australian Ambassador to Japan. He returned to Australia in 1980 to take up the position of Head, Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs where he was active with Malcolm Fraser and Ian Macphee in the settlement of large numbers of Indo Chinese refugees in Australia. He was appointed Head of the Department of Trade in December 1983. From 1986-1989 he was Chief Executive Officer of Qantas. In October 1999, he published his autobiography Things You Learn Along the Way.
Dr Michael Keating was Head of the Australian Public Service and was the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (1991 to 1996). Prior to that he was Head of the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations (1983 to 1986), and Head of the Department of Finance (1986 to 1991). During those years Dr Keating led much of the advice and was responsible for implementing many of the reforms affecting the Australian public sector. Dr Keating was at the Australian National University from 1997 to 2007, and an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University from 1997 to 2001.