Work with Purpose | Podcast series

Welcome to the 2022 Work with Purpose series, with the latest episode featured below. Work with Purpose explores the important role the Australian Public Service and supporting organisations are playing in the Government’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and priorities for the future. The series is produced in a partnership between contentgroup and IPAA ACT, with the support of the Australian Public Service Commission



Working in the public service means to serve for the country and the future of its people. The public service is a critical function of Australia’s democracy; however, it is a complex and challenging environment. With the last couple of years of the pandemic, the Australian public service has shifted rapidly from a competitive environment to a more collaborative one between departments.

In this episode, we are joined by Harinder Sidhu, Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Patrick Hetherington, Chief Operating Officer at the Department of Social Services, and Sean Innis, Principal of Damala Street Consulting. Hosted by Chairman of Partners Canberra at KPMG, Cath Ingram, they explore the purpose, impact, rewards, and challenges of contemporary public service.
Discussed in this episode:

  • The pressures of an ‘always-on’ environment.
  • The role of stewardship.
  • Ethical decision making.
  • The hollowing and building of capability.



EP#64 | Data and Digital Strategy Intersections | 1 August 2022

In this episode, we are joined by National Data Commissioner Gayle Milnes and Chief Executive Officer at the Digital Transformation Agency, Chris Fechner. Listen as they discuss how they work to increase the use and availability of Australian Government Data. Listen

EP#63 | The Questacon Expierience | 18 July 2022

In this episode we are joined by three members from Questacon, The National Science and Technology Centre; Deputy Director and General Manager Kate Driver, Exhibition Designer Rachel Ball and Learning Programs Content Development Leader, David Cannell. Listen as they discuss a truly different side to working in the APS. Listen

EP#62 | What Makes a Great First Nations Public Servant | 4 July 2022

This episode features Professor Tom Calma AO FFA, Chancellor of the University of Canberra, Kate Thomann, General Manager of Business Development and Employment at Aboriginal Hostels Limited, and Geoff Richardson PSM, First Nations Development Consultant. They share insights from decades of service and explore the push and pull factors for First Nations people in the APS. Listen

EP#61 | The Future of the APS | 20 June 2022

We’re joined by Australian Public Service (APS) veterans, Andrew Podger AO, Professor of Public Policy at the Australian National University, and Carmel McGregor PSM, Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra. They discuss what the APS can expect from the new government, a new reform agenda and future directions for the public service. Listen

EP#60 | Making Meetings Work | 6 June 2022
In this episode we’re joined by Sean Innis, Principal of Damala St Consulting, and Dr Subho Banerjee, Deputy CEO, Research and Advisory at ANZSOG. They speak with Megan Aponte-Payne, IPAA ACT Future Leaders Committee Member, on designing and conducting meetings that work for you and for your organisation. Listen

EP#59 | Australia's place in the Asia-Pacific | 23 May 2022
This special episode features the late Brendan Sargeant, Professor of Practice in Defence and Strategic Studies and Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the ANU, former Associate Secretary of Defence, and long-time supporter, Fellow, and Deputy President of IPAA ACT. He is joined by Katherine Mansted, Director of Cyber Intelligence and Public Policy at CyberCX and Senior Fellow at the ANU’s National Security College. They discuss a rapidly changing Asia-Pacific region and its impact on Australia; articulating difficult conversations to develop a robust sense of defence in a complex time; the impact of climate change on the strategic order and the APS repsonse. Listen

EP#58 | Working across jurisdictions | 9 May 2022
In this episode we're joined by Kate Lynch, the First Assistant Secretary of the Environment Protection division at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and Warrick McGrath, the Director of Biodiversity Regulatory Reform at the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning. Listen as they explore the topic of working across jurisdictions on environmental policy and regulation here.

EP#57 | Leading from a Distance | 26 April 2022
Duncan Young, General Manager of the Census and Data Acquisition Division at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and Ali Jenkins, First Assistant Secretary, APS Reform Office at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, share how they are leading teams in Canberra and beyond, both remotely from Tasmania. Listen to the podcast and read the transcript here.

Special Release | Let's Talk Elections | 11 April  2022
On the eve of the 2022 Election, we revisited the discussion around the role of the APS at Federal Election time. Dr Stein Helgeby, Peter Rush, Rina Bruinsma and Katrina di Marco, talk about caretaker conventions, the role of the Parliamentary Budget Office, the relationship between the APS and Ministerial offices and staying apolitical during caretaker periods. Listen to the podcast and read the transcript here.

EP#56 | Planning for Uncertainty | 28 March 2022
What are the building blocks for improving performance and productivity? How do we manage and sustain not just our own performance, but the performance of the people who we lead? In this episode we are joined by two former Federal Departmental Secretaries who are now part of the team at Proximity. Glenys Beauchamp PSM is the Principal Advisor of Proximity’s health and industry practices and Kerri Hartland is a Principal Advisor and Chair of their Advisory Board. Listen here.

A National Perspective EP#6 | What are we doing about bullying and harassment? | 14 March 2022
What does workplace bullying and harassment look like? And what can be done to ensure we have safe and respectful workplaces in the public sector? In this special episode of we’re joined by Adam Fennessy PSM, Victorian Public Sector Commissioner, Renée Leon PSM, Vice-Chancellor and President at Charles Sturt University Bathurst, and Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM, President of IPAA National. This important discussion is led by guest host Clare Walsh, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Finance and IPAA ACT Councillor. Listen here.

EP#55 | Reducing Domestic Violence | 28 February 2022
We're joined by the Co-chairs of the National Plan Advisory Group, Alison Frame, Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Liz Hefren-Webb, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Social Services. They talk about domestic violence in Australia, the 2022-2032 National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, and further closing the gap on violence against women through a range of targeted women's safety agenda initiatives. Listen here.

EP#54 | Women in Economics | 31 January 2022
The number of women in the field of economics in Australia is disproportionally low. How can we address this issue and encourage more women to work in this sector? And what are the consequences if we don’t? In this episode we're joined by Cherelle Murphy, Chief Economist at Austrade, and Dr Leonora Risse, Senior Lecturer in Economics at RMIT University and National Chair of the Women in Economics Network. Listen here.



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IPAA ACT acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

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