John Menadue and Michael Keating tackle policy issues

Two former heads of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet are to be joint editors of an ambitious series of policy papers on John Menadue’s blog Pearls and Irritations. Menadue was Gough Whitlam’s private secretary, then head of four Commonwealth departments, Ambassador to Japan and head of QANTAS.

Working with Menadue on this venture is Michael Keating, who headed PM&C when Paul Keating was prime minister. Keating previously ran the Employment and Finance departments. Menadue is one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters.

The plan is to produce around 40 articles, each of about 2000 words, starting early in May. The overall title is Fairness, Opportunity and Security: Filling the Policy Vacuum and the articles will be published as a book later in the year. Ken Henry, former secretary of the Treasury will introduce the volume.

The areas to be covered are listed below (along with authors):

Economic policy
Fixing the budget (Michael Keating)
Federalism (Michael Keating, John Menadue)
Productivity (Michael Keating)
Job creating and participation (Michael Keating)
Foreign policy (Stephen Fitzgerald, Richard Butler, Cavan Hogue, Stuart Harris, John McCarthy)
Security, both military and soft power (Michael Wesley)
Health  (John Menadue, Jennifer Doggett (co-payments), James McGinty (workforce))
Development of our human capital in the fields of education, science, innovation, research and development (Glenn Withers, Chris Bonnor (schools), Glenn Withers (universities))
Transport and infrastructure (Michael Keating)
Population/migration/refugees (John Menadue, Peter Hughes, Arja Keski-Nummi)
Welfare priorities (Andrew Podger, Peter Whiteford)
Retirement incomes (Michael Keating, Andrew Podger)
Indigenous affairs (Fred Chaney, Michael Gracey)
Communications and the Arts (Kim Williams (arts), Terry Flew (media regulation in internet world), Julianne Schultz (cultural identity), Rob Nicholls (NBN))
Environment and climate change (Ross Garnaut, Lesley Hughes, Brendan Mackay)
Inequality (Peter Whiteford, Michael Keating, Ian McAuley)
The role of government (Michael Keating, John Menadue, Ian McAuley)
Democratic renewal – the lack of trust in government and the hollowing out of our  political parties (Ian Marsh, John Menadue, Barry Jones)
Internal security and freedom (Stephen Zifcak (Human Rights Act/Charter), Peter Timmins).

‘There is a growing public disquiet [says Menadue] that both the government and the opposition keep playing the political and personal game at the expense of informed public discussion of important policy issues’.

As a community we have become concerned about the trustworthiness of our political, business and media elite. Insiders and vested interests are undermining the public interest. Money is unduly influencing political decisions. There is gridlock on important issues like climate change and taxation.

29 April 2015 updated 30 April 2015