27 March 2013


On Monday, the Australian Public Service Commissioner addressed a selected group of graduate entrants in the Great Hall of Parliament at Canberra.  He spoke of ethics and public trust. From July this year, the APS values are being repackaged around five principles. – He reminded them that the mnemonic is “I CARE”

I –  Impartial

C –  Committed to service

A – Accountable

R – Respect

E –   Ethical

( This contrasts with the standards of integrity and conduct for the New Zealand State Services, grouped around four elements of “being fair, impartial, responsible and trustworthy”.  A proposal to use the mnemonic of INTEGRITY FIRST – fair, impartial, responsible, serving and trustworthy – was dropped and four integrity elements of being fair, impartial, responsible and trustworthy were promoted without the mnemonic.)

The Australia Commissioner encouraged his audience “…to think about what each of the Values means for you in your work and about what you can do to make them real in your workplace…. the APS Values will be the common thread binding us together as a cohesive, collaborative public service…”

“…These values also give legal expression to something that generations of public servants have come to understand – which is that the effectiveness of the Public Service is deeply rooted in the maintenance of public trust.  Our effectiveness – and the willingness of the public to accept our role – is fundamentally dependent on maintaining the public’s trust in our capacity to look after their interests rather than our own, which amongst other things means living up to the values that we espouse.”

“Just two quick comments…First, ethical behaviour refers not just to compliance with the law – it refers to doing the right thing.   Second, since living our values is important for maintaining public trust, we are expected to comply with them 24/7…”