Governing the government: the paradoxical place of the Public Accounts Committee

Journal article


Jones, Kate and Jacobs, Kerry. (2006). Governing the government: the paradoxical place of the Public Accounts Committee. Australasian Parliamentary Review. 21(1), pp. 63 - 78.
AuthorsJones, Kate and Jacobs, Kerry
Abstract

[Extract] Accountability, flexibility and the need for better governance have become, in recent decades, the mantras of management in Australia and New Zealand as the public sector attempts to become more like the private sector. Driven by economic rationalism, by managerialism, by the election of right-of-centre governments and the movement of left-of-centre governments to the right, and by a different expectation of what governments can and should do, public administration has morphed into new public management (NPM). The phenomenon is not unique to Australia and New Zealand. Like many of our institutions it has come to us, changed by the trip and the different environment but still recognisable in its essentials, from the once ‘mother country’, in particular from Margaret Thatcher’s radical conservative reforms to the British public sector in the 1980s (Aucoin 1995). New Zealand initiated its sweeping reforms of the public sector in 1986 with the State Owned Enterprise Act, which was followed by other legislation affecting the public service and financial management (Boston, Martin, Pallot and Walsh 1996; Jacobs 1997; Inquiry to Review New Zealand’s Constitutional Arrangements 2005) and ‘is often hailed as the archetypal example of NPM reform policies (Jacobs 1998, 343). The changes in Australia have been more gradual, although many identify the floating of the Australian dollar in 1983 as the beginning of two decades of reform (Keating 2005). Nor are Australia and New Zealand the only western democracies to have adopted new public management. Many other OECD counties have followed the same path, although perhaps not as wholeheartedly as New Zealand, which had one of the earliest and most coherent programs (Hood 1991).

Year2006
JournalAustralasian Parliamentary Review
Journal citation21 (1), pp. 63 - 78
PublisherAustralasian Study of Parliament Group
ISSN1447-9125
Page range63 - 78
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationSydney, Australia
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