Speech, Institute of Public Administration

Speech
19 Aug 2019
Parliament House, Canberra
Prime Minister
E&OE

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much Martin.

Can I also join you in welcoming my colleagues who are here today, Greg Hunt who is also the Minister assisting me for the public service, to Ben Morton, to Zed Seselja, and to those who may be linking in from other places.

Can I also Martin, place on record my appreciation and that of the Government and all the Governments’ if I can be so bold, to say that you’ve served- for your service, can I thank you for your advice personally, and can I thank you for your dedication to the welfare of the Australian people over an outstanding public service career. 

Over almost four decades - we’re having a dinner at the Lodge tonight for Martin and Heather and a number of friends and we can reflect on four decades of stories I’m sure, and that has included more than a decade at the helm of three different Departments, and great Departments of this public service. You’ve been committed to fearless advice, no one can accuse you, not of doing that, to policy reform and making this country a better place.

I wish you and Heather all the very best for the new challenges that lay ahead and we’re a grateful nation thank you very much.

Please thank Martin Parkinson.

I want to also acknowledge all the other Secretaries who are here today, including the incoming Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Phil Gaetjens who tells me his tie is where it’s always been- at home! Not around his neck. There are many things I’m familiar with with Phil, not just that. And congratulations to you Phil and I’m sure you’ll pick that up in the weeks ahead, and I look forward to working with you.

This place, our Parliament House, is on Ngunnawal land.  Can I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, their elders past, present, and those importantly, who are emerging, who we want to encourage and who we want to celebrate.

To any servicemen and women who are here today, to any veterans particularly as yesterday we marked the commemoration of Vietnam vets. Can I say to you, simply on behalf of our nation: ‘Thank you for your service’.

And today of all days I want to widen the circle to all who serve the Australian public in the APS; those of you in this room, or across Australia, wherever you happen to be in every state and territory as well as overseas, thank you for what you do for our country and all of your fellow citizens.

More than 240,000 Australians work for the Commonwealth Government in one form or another.

About 80,000 are in the ADF. Add to that another 16,000 or so in the civilian arm of the APS providing for our nation’s defence.

There are thousands more men and women in Home Affairs and our other security agencies, working every day to keep Australians safe through intelligence gathering, securing our borders, counter-terrorism, taking up the fight to those who would seek to do us harm.

One of the greatest achievements of these agencies is 16 thwarted terrorist attacks and that’s something that the heads of those agencies can be very proud to have been able to achieve.

Thousands more are devoted to growing our economy, because we all know everything else stems from that. And ensuring Australians get a fair go in their daily lives, delivering on our infrastructure program, making our industries more competitive, opening up new markets, enforcing our corporate laws.

The list goes on – some 19,000 people in the Tax Office ensuring everyone pays their fair share according to the laws of this country, we think people should pay less tax, but they should all pay the taxes that they should pay. And to share the support of the services- and to provide the support for the services we all need by providing that tax revenue. There’s about 6,000 people administering $85 billion worth in health funding a year; and more than 5,000 people running our legal and integrity systems at the Commonwealth level.

Or the roughly 11,000 Australians in agencies working on cutting edge science, from CSIRO to Geoscience Australia; from the tropical North to Antarctica.

I could go on, but this snapshot tells you we’re a pretty big show it’s complex, it’s extraordinarily diverse in all of its functions.

To meet the challenges of today and tomorrow, it also needs, as it has been, needs to be professional, capable, flexible, technology-enabled, citizen-focused, as Martin was saying, and open to outsiders and diverse viewpoints, both within and without.

And while the upholding of the best traditions of integrity at the same time, accountability and service that have been hallmarks of an apolitical APS for the past 118 years.

Today I want to place six guideposts out there to show the way forward as I see it as Prime Minister and for my Government for the public service, for the evolution of our public service and priorities for the future.

My remarks today are framed by a humble recognition that modern government is hard. Change is ever present. Expectations of the public have never been greater. And just as it is in business, the customer - and in our case, the public - is always right.

To support the Government across multiple, fast-moving policy and implementation challenges, the APS needs to evolve. Nothing new about that. In some cases, conventional wisdom needs to be challenged.

And most importantly, in whatever role you have in the public service, we need to make sure you have a clear line of sight, from wherever you are, whether you’re up in Bamaga, or over in Bunbury, whether you’re here in Belconnen, wherever you sit, whatever you do, if there’s something between you and the people you’re trying to serve, in your view, then we’ve got to deal with that. You need a clear line of sight between what you are doing everyday, every decision you’re making every day, every contribution you’re making every day, straight through to the Australian public. It’s not about impressing your boss or impressing your Minister, or- we’re just people along the way.

That clear line of sight is what I would want every single person who works in the Commonwealth Public Service, whether it’s me, whether its Ben or Stuey, or whoever in Ministerial ranks, Secretaries, or the first year recruit into the public service. A clear line of sight. So I hope therefore my remarks today will give you a better idea, a greater understanding of how the APS can better support the government and through the government, our nation.

Now my first guidepost is one I spoke of when I announced Phil Gaetjens’ appointment.

It goes to the heart of the relationship between the Executive branch and the public service that enables all of us to do a good job. We have to get our relationship right between Ministers and the public service.

Because the best teams are the ones where everyone knows what their job is and they do their job well rather than being in a constant running commentary about the job someone else should be doing. I’ve seen those teams. They lose. The teams where everyone knows what their jobs is, what their role is, and focus on that, those teams win. And we’re going to be a winning team.

My approach as many of you would know and who’ve worked with me in other portfolios, and it’s been my great privilege to have serves as a Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, as a Minister for Social Services, as the Treasurer and of course now as Prime Minister. I have enjoyed wonderful relationships with the public servants that I have worked with at senior and junior levels. And my approach has been based on a simple, straight-forward formula for managing that relationship– respect and expect.

Respect the experience, professionalism and capability that the public service brings to the table, both in terms of policy advice and implementation skills. And then having set the policy direction, expect them to get on and deliver it.

It is also about respecting the fact that responsibility for setting policy, for making those calls and decisions lies with the elected representatives of the people, and expecting Ministers to provide that leadership and direction.

Now this imposes an important responsibility, I think, on Ministers. And I’ve made this very clear to my Ministers. They must be clear in what they are asking of the public service. They must not allow a policy leadership vacuum to be created, and expect the public service to fill it and do effectively the job of Ministers.

One of the worst criticisms I can tell you, in the locker room of politicians, that one politician can make of another, is that they’ve become a captive of their department as a Minister. Now that is not a reflection on the department, not at all, not at all, but indeed on the Minister. It speaks to a Minister not driving their policy agenda. Nature abhors a vacuum just as much here in Canberra as anywhere else. And it will get filled. And I expect my Ministers to be in the center driving policy agendas for their agencies and departments. And so I’ve selected and tasked my Ministers top set and drive the agenda of the Government. I believe the public have a similar expectation of my Ministers as well.

This is very important for how accountability is designed to work in our Westminster democracy.

Ministers are accountable to the Parliament and to the public through our democratic process for the policies of the Government. Now I know you all know this but it bears repeating in the context of this principal, a public servant providing advice in a well prepared brief will and must exercise all due diligence and professional care in its preparation, and be absolutely certain and passionate about what they put in that document. But ultimately it is the Minister who must decide, whether approve or not approve, to provide comment, feedback, as they appreciate, because ultimately it is the Minister who will be held accountable by the public. And that’s how it should be.

Only those who have put their name on a ballot can really understand the significance of that accountability. As much as you might appreciate the Westminster system, until you put your name on a ballot, that changes everything.

So I know that sometimes you may feel frustrated, or go how on earth my brief was so perfect, as I’m sure they all are, at the end of the day our Ministers, I, my colleagues, have got to look constituents in the eye, face the public, look them in the eye, and be responsible for those decisions. And that gives you a very unique perspective.

When I played Rugby, my coach used to describe this difference as the bacon and eggs principle, the chicken is involved, but the pig is absolutely committed to the task. It’ll catch on.

That is why under our system of Government it must be Ministers who set that policy direction.

And it is why, having set that direction, they will have high expectations, as they should, of the public service when it comes to implementation and delivery of the Government’s agenda.

You are our professional partners in this undertaking.

The public service is the indispensable engine room for any successful government in delivering on its commitments to Australians. I mean this most sincerely.

I have always believed that, guided by clear direction from Ministers, the public service is at its best when it is getting on with the job of delivering the services Australians rely on and ensuring Governments can implement the policies they have been elected to deliver for the Australian people.

It’s important not only to establish clear lines of accountability. It is also fundamental to ensure our democracy keeps faith with the Australian people.

That’s what ‘respect and expect’ is all about.

My second guidepost is one I spoke to Secretaries about with the Deputy Prime Minister, in May, even before I had recommended my Ministry to the Governor-General.

You’ll remember President Clinton and his famous lines about “it’s about the economy, stupid” he would say.

Well for us, “It’s about the implementation”. That’s and important guidepost.

We need a step-change on service delivery.

Ensuring services are delivered seamlessly and efficiently, when and where they are needed, this is a key priority, the key priority of my Government.

Just as good business strategy is always about how you execute it, the same is true in Government policy. It’s only ever as good as its implementation. And you are the implementers.

I don’t know how many beautiful strategy documents I’ve seen over my course of life, in public service and in other fields, people can celebrate these strategy documents, they can be incredibly impressive, but I tell you what, the only strategies that are any good are the ones that are implemented and work.

And the ultimate test of a strategy is not how pretty it looks, but how well it’s done.

Good government is about receiving excellent policy advice. But that advice is only as good as the consideration in detail that it gives to implementation and execution.

And this is not an exercise in providing a detached or dispassionate summary of the risks that can be logged in the “told you so” file for future reference in memoirs.

It’s about telling Governments how things can be done, not just the risks of doing them, or saying why they shouldn’t be done. The public service is meant to be an enabler of Government policy not an obstacle.

The Australian people need to be at the centre of APS service delivery. That is the thinking behind Services Australia. This isn’t some fancy re-branding exercise.

It’s a message to the whole of the APS – top-to-bottom – about what matters to people.

It’s about what I call ‘doing the little things well’ – everything from reducing call waiting times and turnaround on correspondence, right through to improving the experience people have as they walk into a Centrelink office or any other government service office around the country.

I want to send a message to everyone who is in the service, in whatever role you have – you can make a difference to the lives of the Australian people.

We all have a job to do and that is to serve them.

I’ve talked about the need for a culture of regulatory congestion busting in our bureaucracy.

That doesn’t mean cutting corners or not meeting regulatory requirements.

But it does mean being relentless in finding ways to help Australians make things happen and reach their goals. Not sitting passively while families and businesses struggle to navigate unnecessary rules and unnecessary regulations.

We need interactions with government to be simpler, more human, and less bureaucratic.

Whether it be in delivering services like the NDIS, or rolling out our ambitious infrastructure program, or removing unnecessary barriers to business investment.

It’s why I have tasked my Assistant Minister Ben Morton with revitalising our regulatory reform and deregulation agenda, with a new Deregulation Taskforce which is being led by the Treasurer, out of Treasury.

A key focus is on working with business to identify and remove unnecessary barriers to investment, with a focus on sectors and activities which have the most to gain.

At the departmental level, Secretaries will need to be proactive in identifying ways to bust congestion in the Commonwealth bureaucracy. And all Ministers will continue to remain responsible for ensuring that regulations in their portfolios are fit-for-purpose.

I also want congestion busted in the public service hierarchy which can block your contribution. You don’t have to be in the SES to have a good idea. Did anyone know that’s true? I saw this in Treasury when I used to do budgets.

I used to love going down to the Treasury building in those weeks before the Budget. People there eating pizza well into the night, working really hard, and taking great pride in their work. I remember one night I sat down and I spoke to one of the officers who was working on one of the statements in the Budget which had to do with good debt and bad debt. And I remember meeting one of- their parent, their father, I forget where it was around the country one day, and he reflected this conversation I’d had with his daughter that night. And he was terribly proud of the work that she was doing. And there she was, crunching away there in the bowels of Treasury, in the middle of a Budget process making a big difference to understanding how we treat debt in this country. And really changing the conversation, taking pride in their work.

It was the same when I would go out to the Social Services when Finn Pratt was the Secretary and I remember talking to that wonderful little team that was working on distribution modelling when we were going through some social services reforms a few years ago, and one of them from- I recall, was actually there on an internship I think at the time or they were recent recruit, and couldn’t believe that in their first year in the service here they were sitting down with a Minister crunching through distribution modelling processes.

More recently I visited DFAT and I particularly want to commend there, Frances on the outstanding job she’s doing as secretary of DFAT and I want to thank the- I went there to thank the officers who had worked in difficult situations regarding getting children out of some of the most unsafe places in the world, who had secured one of our citizen’s safe release out of North Korea and my favourite, I could almost say my favourite part of the public service, I’m spending so much time with them recently, the Office of the Pacific, driving our Step Up initiative. And to say thank you to Ewen and all the team there.

I mean this stuff, I get it, I see it, I appreciate it.

And of course during my time at immigration and border protection, the remarkable and courageous efforts of everyone involved in Operation Sovereign Borders. Many of the most critical initiatives that came out of OSB and some of the most initiative were the product of the contribution of line officers in the public sector, working together in teams and focusing on solutions, not problems. Public service at its best.

And I want to harness that to enable your meaningful impact on the decision making process.

I am concerned, I recently learned that in a survey, just over a quarter of the APS does not really feel they can impact what’s going on. That really does concern me. I want people in the APS to feel they can make a contribution. I don’t want you to feel shut out. You need to feel that you can make a difference. Otherwise why are you here? I make the assumption that you’re here to make a difference and I think that assumption is absolutely correct.

Now to be a bit harsh, I think that result is a failure of public service management to enable that real engagement. We’ve got to work harder on that. This is one of the things I expect to see our public service leaders change in the future.

I want to draw further down into the public service for advice to those doing things on the ground. I want more input from you, more visibly in what’s coming through to me in my office and the offices of my Ministers. I want the gatekeepers who control access to Ministers to ease up a bit and let you in. Let me see what others are thinking.

So don’t be surprised if you find yourself in my office or one of my Minister’s office in the future, wherever you happen to sit. And if you get a call and someone who says they’re the PM, it may not be a prank call.

But after this speech, I suspect there’ll be many such prank calls in the next 24 hours.

My third guidepost is called “look at the scoreboard”.

We must have a strong emphasis on delivering outcomes, with priorities, targets and metrics across all portfolios. That’s not new.

Faced with scarce resources, setting priorities is essential. Setting targets and metrics at the same time helps us stay on track. And this is the point. Sure it provides some necessary accountability when performance measures are in place, for people management but the real purpose is to ensure we are getting done what we set out to do.

There are three basic questions I would ask you all to consider every day at work:

1.   What are you trying to do?

2.   How do you know you’re on track to get there?

3.   What does it look like when you’ve got there?

In other words what does success look like, at the start, along the way and at the end?

This is the information that helps me and my Cabinet be informed to make the decisions and adjustments to policy that keeps us heading in the right direction, and providing you with the clarity you need to get on with your job.

A friend of Stuart Roberts’ and mine, General Jim Molan used to have this great sign, stating that no strategy ever survives contact with the enemy. And you know, things have to be changed along the way. And the only way you know that is based on the data and information that’s coming back. That doesn’t mean that the programme’s failing, it just means that you need to constantly adjust and stay focused on your goal.

I want public servants to know and share in the success of public policy. I want you to feel good about what you do, the contribution you make and the positive difference you can make to the country and its future. Because otherwise, again, what is the point?

If your success is measured solely in career advancement through the seemingly infinite grades of the public service, I don’t think that’s enough. It’s not what I want as a citizen from my public service, let alone as the Prime Minister. And I think the overwhelming majority of public servants feel the same way.

Rather than complicating your life, I would suggest these three questions that I’ve outlined, open the door to a more satisfying APS career for you and a better experience for the Australian public.

My Government will continue to set clear priorities and strong targets for the APS.

I have established with Martin’s great assistance and leadership, a dedicated Priorities and Delivery Unit in PM&C and all Cabinet Ministers are developing their own set of objectives and targets.

This is something we’ve been doing a lot of work on since the election. We’ve made good progress, but there’s a lot more to be done.

Now the fourth guidepost is called, I’m sure you’ll love this one “look beyond the bubble”.

There are many highly organised and well-resourced interests in our democracy. They come to Canberra often. They are on the airwaves, they’re on the news channels. They meet regularly with politicians, advisers and departments to advance the policy ideas and causes on behalf of those who they represent.

Some will be corporate interests. Some will be advocating for more welfare spending or bigger social programs. Many will be looking for a bigger slice of government resources.

Yet the vast majority of Australians will never come to Canberra to lobby government. They won’t stay at the Hyatt. They won’t have lunch at the Ottoman. They won’t kick back at the Chairman’s Lounge at Canberra airport after a day of meetings.

And what these Australians who don’t do those things do every day is work hard. They pay their taxes. They put their kids through school. They look after their families. They give back to their communities and they are the centre of my focus as PM and my Government.

These are your stakeholders, not the myriad of vested and organised interests that parade through this place.

They rely, those Australians I’m speaking of on the services that you deliver, that make their lives just that bit easier and better. And they want value for money for those services, through the taxes that they’re paying.

They expect governments to focus on what matters to them:

-     A strong economy that generates more and better jobs and better paid jobs.

-     Ensuring Australians are kept safe from threats abroad and at home, it’s a convulsing world at the moment, and we all have a job to keep calm and to provide that reassurance to them

-     Making sure services are reliable and responsive to their needs.

I want the APS to have a laser-like focus on serving these quiet Australians. Those who don’t meet here, and you never hear from largely, they’re too busy doing life. Australians who just get on with it, but who often feel their voice gets drowned out by the shoutier ones in the public sphere and parading through this place.

There is strong evidence that the “trust deficit” that has afflicted many Western democracies over recent years stems in part from a perception that politics is very responsive to those at the top and those at the bottom, but not so much to those in the middle.

This will not be the case under my Government.

Middle Australia needs to know that the Government and including the public service, is on their side.

My fifth guidepost and forgive me to all the AFL people in the room, but I’m going to use a Rugby League example, feel free to apply your favourite AFL player of all time- I know the Minister for Health is going to do this, but given I’m a Rugby League fan and my Chief of Staff is, we’re using a Rugby League one from this podium today- it is called the Ray Price principle, those of you who know of the Rugby League legend from Parramatta, Mike Pezzullo will well know about this, he’s known as Mr Perpetual Motion.

Ray was everywhere. His work rate was unmatched. The conditions, his opponents, never fazed him. He could read the play and always stay ahead of the game.

The APS needs to be the same. It needs to evolve and adapt amidst constant change. Old ways of doing things need to be challenged and, if necessary, disrupted.

As you know, David Thodey is leading, and is completing now, finalising now, his major review of the APS and I expect his report to pick up this theme of how the service needs to change so it can respond to new and emerging challenges – economic, social, technological and geo-political.

We need the APS to be an exemplar of innovation and adaptability. More agile and more responsive to the public where they live.

There are many dimensions to this challenge, let me focus on three quickly.

Firstly, we need the public service to be more open to outsiders.

Information has never been more available and expertise in our society has never been more dispersed. Citizens from all walks of life have never had more outlets to express their views – their likes and their dislikes.

To succeed, government needs to tap these insights, and these skills and energy from more points on the compass than those who have only ever worked in the public service.

While some of our brightest minds will want a lifetime career in the federal bureaucracy, many of you here, many Australian’s won’t. And we need to find ways for smart, dedicated Australians to see a stint in the public service as part of their career journey.

And likewise for those who’ve chosen a life as career public servants to see that time outside of the APS in the non-government sector and in the business sector, that that is also an important part of their career journey. And their career choice. Their life choice. The APS system should reinforce and reward these choices. And I’m not confident it currently does.

This is about reinforcing two important values as the Health Minister and Assistant Minister- Minister assisting me for the public service reminded me of just over the weekend.

First the importance of outside and mid-career experienced recruits to informing the understanding of how sectors and the economy operate on the ground.

Second, the career development value for long term public servants of their own experience in the private sector. In the same way as experience in a ministerial office is valued, so should be a private sector secondment.

The APS needs to be world-class at collaborating with external partners on all the challenges we face as a country – everything from grasping the productivity opportunity of the digital economy, to ending the export of waste to using Big Data to dramatically improve service delivery.

The second area where disruption and cultural change are needed is in breaking down the bureaucratic silos and hierarchies that constrain our capacity to fix problems.

We’ve only had this problem in the public service for 118 years.

We need an APS that’s more joined-up internally and flexible in responding to challenges and opportunities.

The model I’m most proud of in recent times, and there are many, is the way the APS responded to assist Australians in North Queensland hit by the devastating floods earlier this year.

It highlighted the way I like to work as well: pulling the right people together, removing obstacles to the delivery of programs, engaging with those most affected on the ground, and demonstrating that the Government can be there for them when they need it most.

This really made a difference. It saved lives, literally, and it saved livelihoods. And it saved a way of life, in Australia that has been there for hundreds of years.

This is the sort of agile and responsive public service, which Shane Stone most recently had the privilege to just lead that small team. That sort of attitude we need to further build across all arms of government as Australia navigates rapid change and a more uncertain world.

It will require departments to become more adept at reallocating resources to fit changing priorities. Not just ask for more. Because Mathias will say no. I know it can be done because I have driven it myself in three different portfolios prior to service as Prime Minister.

The third area of disruption is obviously greater use of digital technology which Minister Robert is very closely involved in.

The digital revolution - with the exponential rise in connectivity, data generation, processing power and personalised service delivery - continues to reshape our jobs, industries and lives on a daily basis.

With our fellow Australians among the most enthusiastic early adopters of technology in the world, harnessing the power of digital technology is not an option for the Australian Government. It’s the future of it. 

Government needs to connect instantaneously and seamlessly with Australians to answer questions, provide services, make payments and solve problems. I like how Martin referred to it before, when they engage with the public service they don’t feel like they’re going back in time.

So providing a roadmap for our work on data and digital transformation is important, and that’s what the Digital Transformation Strategy did last year and our goal is to have all government services available digitally by 2025.

This is part of a broader transformation, of challenge that includes tailoring policies and service delivery to individuals and local communities and using data and analytics for better policy and service delivery.

Just as technology opens up new opportunities, it also creates new vulnerabilities. Whether it be working through the ethical and privacy dimensions of the digital revolution or protecting our systems and our national security from malicious cyber activity, the Australian Government cannot be anywhere but on the forefront, on the frontier of that activity. 

Now you’ll be pleased to know, I’m getting to the end.

My sixth and final guidepost is “honour the code”.

It’s something that I observed amongst the veteran’s community, and I take, and I’d encourage you to take your lesson from them, and our serving men and women in the ADF. They are bound together by a code, an unbreakable code. That sees them act at the highest levels of integrity under the most extreme levels of pressure. It is that code that keeps them together and where that code fails or where that code breaks, then we know what the consequences of that can be.

It’s about governance and integrity across the service.

I want to reaffirm my Government’s and my personal commitment to an APS that is apolitical, merit based and committed to the highest standards of integrity.

These core elements of the Westminster tradition are as important as they have ever been, not least to securing the trust and legitimacy of democratic government that is needed to implement good policy and to deliver services successfully.

And on the critical relationship between Ministers, their staff and the bureaucracy, let me underscore what I have said directly to all of my Ministers. I expect my Ministers to be demanding. I also expect them and all of their staff to discharge their responsibilities with the highest standards of professionalism and within a values framework of mutual respect. And where that isn’t occurring, there are ways and processes to deal with that.

It’s important we value diversity of course in the public service. This is right in and of itself. It is in keeping with the more diverse, pluralistic society Australia has become over many decades. And it chimes with our national ethos of “live and let live”.

I believe a commitment to diversity should encompass diversity of viewpoints within the APS. There is compelling evidence that this helps teams find answers to complex problems by bringing together people who approach questions from different points of view.

The American academic Jonathan Haidt has made this point powerfully in challenging worrying trends toward conformity in the university sector. And I think his observations are relevant to the future of our public service.

It’s vital that the APS avoid the sort of stale conventional wisdoms and orthodoxies that can infuse all large organisations.

I expect there will be more debate on those issues as I have raised today throughout my address when the Independent Review of the APS, the Thodey Review, is received by the Government formally.

The review will be finalised shortly and I want to thank in particular, David Thodey who I’ve already had an opportunity to meet with, and the review panel for their time and commitment to this exercise. It’s been a big undertaking. And it’s been a fair dinkum effort.

Once the report has been received, I will be asking the Secretaries Board under Phil Gaetjen’s leadership to evaluate the review’s recommendations and to report to Cabinet on relevant issues and findings.

So as we gather here in this Great Hall, I want to remind you of a poignant feature of this house of democracy.

This is one of the few parliamentary buildings in the world where you don’t have to walk up steps to enter it.

Our Parliament isn’t a Parliament over the people or above them, but one that people, that Australians, can freely and easily approach.

I want this to be a metaphor for how Australians see their government. And our government.

Our work is not governing over people, but to humbly govern for people. With a clear line of sight always to those people.

Working with people.

Governing for all Australians.

Delivering for them and never letting anything get in your line of sight between you and the people you have chosen to serve, as much as I have.

It is a privilege to serve the Australian people and I am grateful for the enthusiasm and passion of our public service who share this good, and decent and honourable vocation.

Thank you very much for your attention today, I know I’ve unloaded a lot on your today, but I thought it was really important, at the outset of this term, for me to give you a very clear understanding of where I’m coming from, and where my team’s coming from. And we very much look forward to working with you in the years ahead.

Thank you for your attention.