Jim Varghese

Interviewed by
Chris Salisbury & Kezia Griffin
Feb 16 2011
Jim Varghese
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:00 Jim Varghese outlines his early career as a state registered teacher in Victoria, his roles as the Chief Executive of the Victoria Assessment and Curriculum Board, General Manager for the Ministry of Education, Employment and Training in Victoria. He discusses his move to Queensland and his appointment in 1991 as Director General of Education and later Director General of Employment and Training.
00:01:08 Jim Varghese addresses why he joined the public service and explains how he was invited by Thomas Fenwick to take up the position of Deputy Director General of Natural Resources. He describes his decision to continue in the public service rather than accept a position in the commercial sector. Borbidge Government 1996-98, Craig Emerson, Hit List, Jim Elder, Wayne Goss
00:04:13 Jim Varghese outlines the key issues during his time in Natural Resources including natural resources management, water management, farming rights and sustainability. He compares the handling of environmental issues under the Borbidge and Goss governments. Cubby Station, Environment, Howard Hobbs, Lawrence Springborg
00:07:14 Jim Varghese discusses water management and the key policy shifts including recycled water debates, water infrastructure facilities and in his view a serious error of political judgment in not building the Wolffdene Dam. Tom Fenwick, Toowoomba, water policy, Wolffdene Dam
00:11:44 Jim Varghese discusses Indigenous issues and explains why he feels that the Government Champions Initiative implemented in 2002 is such a success. cyclones, Indigenous issues, Noel Pearson, Peter Beattie
00:14:56 Jim Varghese explains the three learning frames that he uses to work effectively with interest groups. Indigenous issues, Mt Isa
00:18:20 Jim Varghese discusses his time at the Department of Main Roads and explains some of the strategies he used to implement change within the department. Indigenous issues, Main Roads
00:21:50 Jim Varghese outlines his appointment as Director General of Education and the strategies he used to implement change. He discusses some of the policy initiatives, including New Basics, preparatory education and a restructuring of the SES. Education Department, education reform
00:29:42 Jim Varghese addresses the role of the public service in providing advice to governments. Anna Bligh
00:30:35 Jim Varghese speaks on the origins of the Smart Start strategy, the aftermath of Glyn Davis leaving the department and the affects of this strategy on the Education Department. Anna Bligh, Beattie Government 1998-2007, Dean Wells, Education Department, Glyn Davis, Peter Beattie, Smart State, Terry Moran
00:34:56 Jim Varghese discusses his working relationship with Dean Wells and Anna Bligh and the style differences between these two education ministers. He discusses the preparatory year of education implemented in Queensland. Anna Bligh, Dean Wells, Education Department, education reform, GST
00:38:03 Jim Varghese outlines the collection of state revenue and the education budget. budget process, Education Department
00:42:30 Jim Varghese discusses his relationship with the Queensland Teachers' Union and recalls negotiation efforts with both the QTU and the Catholic Education Office. Education Department, Teachers Union
00:45:13 Jim Varghese speaks on education strategies for children with disabilities and his implementation of a chat line to get feedback from staff. disability services, Education Department, education reform
00:48:42 Jim Varghese discusses vocational education, and the learning, schooling and skilling strategy which encouraged strong links between schooling and TAFE. education, Education Department
00:52:18 Jim Varghese discusses employment and industrial relations with specific mention of Indigenous programs. He discusses the range of skilling and work initiatives that were trialed with mixed success. CDEP, housing, Indigenous issues
00:54:03 Jim Varghese outlines the role of affirmative action in implementing change. affirmative action, Indigenous issues, women
00:57:08 Jim Varghese outlines the strategies he used during the early weeks of his employment as director general within various portfolios. He highlights the importance of developing a good relationship with the minister and discusses the role of ministerial staff. ministerial staff, relationship with ministers
01:03:34 Jim Varghese discusses approaches to governance and the effects that 'franchise government' has on public service policy advice. Beattie Government 1998-2007, Glyn Davis, media, Peter Beattie
01:08:11 Jim Varghese discusses the role of frank and fearless advice during the Borbidge era. He recalls a story regarding Lawrence Springborg and the issue of water allocations. frank and fearless advice, Hit List, Howard Hobbs, Lawrence Springborg, Tom Fenwick
01:11:13 Jim Varghese reflects on his achievements as Director General in the Department of Main Roads and Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries including pushing a reform agenda for sugar industries, dealing with natural disasters, building research centres and linking research. He states that he would have preferred to continue as director general a little longer in Education to make further changes. Main Roads, Primary Industries and Fisheries
01:14:45 Jim Varghese explains why he choose to move to the private sector and how he feels the public service has become politicised. He outlines some further reforms he feels are needed to improve government practice. Anna Bligh, Fitzgerald Inquiry, Springfield Land Corporation
01:18:33 Jim Varghese outlines his achievements in various portfolios as director general. Cyclone Larry, Forestry
01:24:51 Interview ends.