Greg Hunt | Perspectives on Managing Risk and Expectations
The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service and Cabinet in discussion with IPAA’s National President, Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM
The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service and Cabinet, recently joined Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM — IPAA’s National President — in conversation following the Minister’s delivery of the 2020 Garran Oration.
One of the topics they discussed was whether the months of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic had changed the Minister’s views on risk taking in the public sector, especially around trialling something new.
This is how the Minister responded:
“it’s understandable that people are cautious about risk, and the risk that is unacceptable is a risk with negative consequences for somebody’s safety, security, or for their circumstances.
The risk that is acceptable is that … in order to deliver an immediate need, you can take an action which may mean that there has to be a variation in the policy subsequently — and we talked about that around the Cabinet table and the Prime Minister was clear about that.”
“And then what we have to do is set expectations.
That’s how we can condition the public to the fact that we go into this with the best of will, but there may need to be changes and they recognised that this was an iterative process.”
“They also posed the counterfactual in their own mind of ‘Here’s Australia. Gee, what could it have been like, particularly when you look around and you see 100,000 cases a day in Europe at the moment, or you see the Americas, or the Sub-Continent and the challenges’.
So the outcomes have built trust, but the approach of working, and it’s been a unique partnership between the public service — whether it’s been the then Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy with myself or the Prime Minister, whether its been the Paul Kelly as the new Chief Medical Officer, or people such as the Deputy Chief Medical Officers, Michael Kidd, Nick Coatsworth, Ruth Vine, or the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Alison McMillan.”
Before finishing with the observation:
“That partnership between expert advice and national leadership has given people confidence that there was a genuine, open relationship where the experts were being drawn on, but government was making considered thought-through decisions.”
The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service and Cabinet in conversation.
You can read more on the 2020 Garran Oration in the feature: 2020 GARRAN | GREG HUNT HONOURS EXTRAORDINARY PUBLIC SERVANTS IN THE YEAR OF COVID.
You can also download an edited copy of the 2020 Garran Oration, or watch the video of the 2020 Garran Oration from the link below.
The ‘In Conversation’ discussion between Minister Hunt and Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM begins at 21:06 in the recording.