Peter Coaldrake

Interviewed by
Peter Spearritt & Brian Head
Sep 22 2011
Peter Coaldrake
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:00 Peter Coaldrake discusses his childhood and education. He was born in Marrickville, NSW, his adopted parents were Anglican missionaries so he spent his early years moving about. He went to boarding school in Charters Towers and then to James Cook University in Townsville. He describes the benefits of undertaking work while studying his arts degree. After finishing his degree he began working for the public service during the Whitlam years in the federal Department of Urban and Regional Development (DURD). Commonwealth Public Service
00:03:24 Peter Coaldrake discusses his time in Canberra working for DURD and the make-up of the department and its work. Commonwealth Public Service, Whitlam Government 1972-75
00:05:27 Peter Coaldrake discusses the 1972 federal election and the youth support for Gough Whitlam. Gough Whitlam
00:06:38 Peter Coaldrake outlines being awarded a scholarship to study at Griffith University and becoming the first Griffith University student to be awarded a PhD. Griffith University
00:09:14 Peter Coaldrake describes his desire to become an academic and his strategy to move into the political science field. He discusses his time spent at George Washington University as a Fullbright scholar where he observed the close relationship between academia and politics.  academia
00:13:58 Peter Coaldrake describes being offered a tenure track position at Griffith University where he rose to be dean and cites hiring Pat Weller as his best decision. Glyn Davis, Griffith University, Pat Weller, Roy Webb
00:15:46 Peter Coaldrake states that he held the position of dean for three years, before moving to become head of school at QUT. He became a pro-vice-chancellor of research but decided to work for government after the election of Wayne Goss. Dennis Gibson, Goss Government 1989-96, Jill Palmer, Queensland University of Technology
00:17:50 Peter Coaldrake outlines how he came to know Wayne Goss. He discusses his own political position, and how he joined the Labor Party but only remained a member for a few years. He describes the transition from academia to government. academia, Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, Glyn Davis, Wayne Goss
00:20:51 Peter Coaldrake discusses the process of writing Working the System and how he interviewed a number of Bjelke-Petersen Government ministers. He discusses his role as a media commentator. Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, Don Lane, Ken Wiltshire, Llew Edwards, media, Mike Ahern, research, Russ Hinze
00:26:21 Peter Coaldrake discusses the origins and structure of the PSMC. He notes Glyn Davis's and David Chen's roles as well as his own. He reflects upon the criticism levelled against the commission that they moved too fast. Fitzgerald Inquiry, Glyn Davis, Keith De Lacy, Public Sector Management Commission, Tom Burns, Wayne Goss
00:31:29 Peter Coaldrake reflects on his early impressions of the Queensland public service. He discusses the appointment of heads of department. He highlights Erik Finger's role as the head of the public service. Bruce Wilson, directors general, Erik Finger, Henry Smerdon, Kevin Rudd, Peter Ellis
00:35:28 Peter Coaldrake discusses the influences behind the reform agenda. He states that the decentralisation of the state had to be taken into account when planning. Criminal Justice Commission, EARC, Gary Sturgess, Glyn Davis, Kevin Rudd
00:37:06 Peter Coaldrake discusses the reviews of government departments. He outlines the review of the Police Department and the decision to release the report produced by the review. Bruce Wilson, Peter Ellis, Police, Public Sector Management Commission, Ross Dunning
00:39:28 Peter Coaldrake discusses the reform of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and influences behind the reforms. He reflects on the criticism that the SES was being populated with academics and 'Mexicans' (from outside of Queensland). Beattie Government 1998-2007, Courier mail, Russell Cooper
00:42:07 Peter Coaldrake describes the efforts made to implement an equity agenda in the Queensland public service. equity, Glyn Davis, Phyllis Tharenou, Ros Kinder, Ruth Matchett, women
00:44:12 Peter Coaldrake describes his transition from the PSMC to become Deputy Vice Chancellor at QUT. Public Sector Management Commission, Queensland University of Technology
00:44:35 Peter Coaldrake describes his time at PSMC and the lessons he learnt during this period, including the importance of teamwork and benefit of having a small central team. He notes the efforts to build a positive work environment through CEO meetings, events for the SES and working closely with ministers and directors general. He reflects on the criticism that ministers were ambushed in Cabinet. Erik Finger, Kevin Rudd, Matt Foley, Public Sector Management Commission, Wayne Goss
00:47:53 Peter Coaldrake discusses the debate concerning the politicisation of the public service. corruption, Wayne Goss
00:49:50 Peter Coaldrake discusses Kevin Rudd and the role of the Office of Cabinet. He reflects on the relationships between the central agencies and the line departments. Cabinet Office, Gary Sturgess, Glyn Davis, Kevin Rudd, Malcolm McMillan
00:52:40 Peter Coaldrake reflects on the Goss Cabinet. He notes the skills of Goss, De Lacy and Burns. He discusses the daylight saving debate. daylight saving, Goss Government 1989-96, Keith De Lacy, media, Tom Burns, Wayne Goss
00:55:15 Peter Coaldrake discusses the tradition of state government involvement in Queensland universities and education. He discusses the Smart State agenda and the role of Chuck Feeney. Chuck Feeney, Mike Ahern, Peter Beattie, Russell Cooper, Smart State, universities, Wayne Goss
00:57:47 Peter Coaldrake details the skills and lessons learnt from his time in government. He discusses his involvement in a review of the university sector and his relationship with government and opposition as the Vice Chancellor of QUT. Glyn Davis, John Hay, Queensland University of Technology, universities
01:00:19 Peter Coaldrake discusses his regrets from his time in government. He states that there could have been better management of the pace and communication of reforms. He also argues that some reforms should be pushed further. Tony McGrady
01:01:38 Interview ends.