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Of ‘strong’ leadership, crisis communication and pooper scoopers: Change in the Queensland public service under Newman

journal contribution
posted on 31.08.2018, 00:00 by DCC Grant-Smith, Linda ColleyLinda Colley
Governments have historically offered their workforce a public service bargain founded on stable pay and conditions and job security. However, while the Westminster system aims for public service employment to be protected from the whims of government, public servants are nonetheless affected by the political environment in which they operate and changes to this bargain can occur with a new government. This paper focuses on a Queensland public service change process that resulted in large-scale forced redundancies, non-renewal of temporary contracts and legislative changes that nullified the provisions in job security, organisational change and redundancy policies. Using communication as a lens through which to understand leadership, it examines how the government communicated with the public service about this organisational change, immediately before and after the 2012 election. In particular, through analysis of public and media commentary, speeches and Hansard records, it examines Premier Newman’s change leadership and communication by contrasting pre-election messages to the public service with post-election messages about the public service and the justifications for change during this period of downsizing. This analysis is used to reflect on political leadership, communication, fair treatment, and trust in public service change.

History

Volume

77

Issue

2

Start Page

236

End Page

252

Number of Pages

17

ISSN

0313-6647

Publisher

Wiley

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Acceptance Date

18/12/2017

External Author Affiliations

Queensland University of Technology

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Australian Journal of Public Administration