Reimagining Public Administration: We must imagine a future in which indigenous people thrive

In the wake of the conference Reimagining Public Administration: First Peoples, governance and new paradigms , ANZSOG has released an extensive set of free resources containing photos, videos and slides from their speakers.


Professor Marcia Langton AM at the  Reimagining Public Administration,  photo credit to ANZSOG

Professor Marcia Langton AM at the Reimagining Public Administration, photo credit to ANZSOG

Professor Marcia Langton AM spoke of self-governing, rather than being governed, and of Indigenous within agency in the current policy settings and the post- Uluru statement policy space:

“Most people who are informed about the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people agree that many of the present policy settings are contributing to a tragic and avoidable decline in their wellbeing.”

“We must imagine a future in which indigenous people thrive and we must do whatever it takes to reach that future, this is urgent.”

 Closing statements by AIATSIS CEO Craig Ritchie, who has a long history in public service positions, addressed the central challenge to rethink the public service and public administration:

 “Part of our reimagining will require us looking back at the pre-managerial public sector. Not trying to recapture and replicate, but take from there some of the things we sacrificed in our drive to be objective-driven and managerial and in control and in charge. We need to bring some of that into the contemporary world.”

Michelle Hippolite, a Maori leader with 20 years experience in state government and other services spoke to the issues of trust between indigenous people and government. She advocates for a culturally intelligent public service to increase the levels of trust that Maori people have for public administration:

“To be a public service that has the trust and confidence of a Maori public… we need to think through: how do we incorporate Maori perspectives into the core businesses of our agencies, not just an add on at the end when it’s a problem. That we have a culturally intelligent public service.”

 Leilani Bin-Juda offered strong closing comments, backed by over 20 years experience in the Australian public service, and spoke to the wealth of knowledge carried by indigenous people about the issues that face them:  

“We have a distinct role in presenting the alternative view about how the public service operates… We detect and disrupt. Each of us has detected issues in our various organisations and the various issues that we deal with and we have to disrupt the system in a good way so we can find a solid avenue to move forward for the betterment of our people and our communities.”

“Culture is core to everything that we do… the cultural framework, the protocols, the engagement, the way that we interact with one another, eith our environment, land, sea - you name it - sky, helps us form better understandings of each other and the way we carry out our work.”

The winners of the Showcasing Indigenous Strength and Leadership in Public Administration awards were also announced, with the The Dawul Wuru Aboriginal Corporation (Australia) and Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services (NZ), taking the honours. There are short videos of the work of each of these leading organisations available: 

“By having this option of specialist one-to-one care with well-functioning whānau [extended family] we have the potential expose these young people to what it might feel like to belong to a loving whānau, to have structure and routines in their lives and to inspire them to want more of that post sentencing.” Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services spokesperson, unidentified in the video (please contact PTP if you know who this speaker is)

All these talks and more are available on the ANZSOG site. If you’re interested in Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori perspectives on reminagining public administration (and we think you ought to be!) then please do take the time to listen to the speakers and explore all the stories available here.

Summary by Eleanor Malbon @ellie_malbon

Power to Persuade