Ending the Consultant Culture in the Australian Public Service

The Albanese Labor Government and Treasurer Jim Chalmers

We firmly believe that our public service should serve the best interests of the Australian community, free from undue influence and conflicts of interest. The practices employed by certain consultants, who profit from aiding multinational tax dodgers while advising our government, have caused harm and eroded trust.

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To: The Albanese Labor Government and Treasurer Jim Chalmers
From: [Your Name]

We believe in a public service that upholds values of transparency, accountability, and fairness, placing the interests of the Australian people above the profits of multinational tax dodging companies.

Recent events, particularly the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) tax scandal, have further highlighted the overuse use of costly consultants within the Australian Public Service and we demand immediate action.

The PwC tax scandal has not only harmed our community but has also exposed deep-rooted mistrust surrounding the reliance on consultants within the public service. It is disconcerting to witness consultants profiting from assisting multinational tax dodgers while simultaneously advising our government on tax laws. These practices undermine the integrity of our public service and erode public confidence.

Therefore, we collectively urge you to take decisive steps towards ensuring transparency, accountability, and fairness in our public service. We believe that it is of utmost importance to address this issue promptly and comprehensively. Considering this, we request your attention to the following key actions:

Ensure appropriate penalties: We call on you to take all necessary steps, including referrals for consideration of criminal charges, to ensure that PwC faces appropriate penalties for their involvement in the tax scandal.

Establish a robust Code of Conduct: Develop and implement a legislated Code of Conduct for consultants that includes substantial penalties for breaches. This Code should encompass ethical guidelines and professional standards that promote transparency, integrity, and responsible conduct.

Disclosure of client lists: Enforce the requirement for consultancies to disclose their client lists, enabling the identification of possible conflicts of interest. This step is crucial in safeguarding the public service against undue influence and ensuring impartial decision-making.

Debarment regime: Develop and implement a debarment regime, similar to the one established by the WA Labor Government, that allows consultant firms to be banned from government contracts for breaches of ethics and integrity. This measure will reinforce accountability and integrity within the public service procurement process.

Roadmap for in-house consultancy: Develop a clear roadmap towards bringing all consultancy work in-house within the Australian Public Service. By building internal expertise and capacity, we can ensure the effective delivery of public services while minimising reliance on external consultancies.

We firmly believe that these actions are essential for restoring public trust, safeguarding taxpayer funds, and creating a transparent and accountable public service that serves the best interests of the Australian people.

We kindly request your urgent attention and commitment to addressing these issues. The time for action is now, and as concerned members of the community, we stand ready to support and collaborate with you in implementing these much-needed reforms.

Thank you for considering our petition. We hope that you will hear our collective voice, acknowledge our concerns, and initiate the necessary steps to create a public service that upholds our shared values of transparency, accountability, and fairness.