Independent advice required
Anne Summers makes an important observation in stating “it is easy to forget just how recently policy and politics became unhitched – if not unhinged” (The dead policy scrolls”, December 15–21). Summers provides a long list of policy-free areas of government where only politics reigns, but it is unclear why policy has become unhinged from politics. There is the opportunistic decision about the Israeli embassy; ignoring the renewable energy sector; encryption laws giving police more power without there being any increased threat; obstructing treatment of detained sick children; or slashing immigration that then exacerbates economic downturn, to name a few. It would seem that what has been lost (or deliberately unhitched) is a non-partisan public service with its expert institutional memory that provided realistic advice without fear or favour – that is, fear of losing their job. Revitalising a truly independent public service seems to be a much-needed national interest policy.
– Gil Anaf, Norwood, SA