Peter Henneken

Interviewed by
Roger Scott, Brian Head & Ann Scott
Jun 08 2010
Peter Henneken
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:00 Peter Henneken discusses his family's migration to Australia from Holland in 1956 and their move to Queensland. He discusses his education and his move into the public service in 1969 after spending two and half years in a Catholic seminary and a short period in the private sector. He states that he applied for a range of positions but the Queensland public service was the first to respond.
00:02:27 Peter Henneken tells of his first job in the public service as a computer technician in Main Roads. He also discusses the assistance he received from what he terms the 'Catholic mafia' in obtaining the role in information technology. Catholics
00:03:46 Peter Henneken continues to discuss the Catholic mafia. He tells of the assistance he received from them in furthering his career. He notes in this period the Public Service Board and the Labour Department were both predominantly populated by Catholics. Catholics, Justice, Masons, Public Service Board, unions
00:06:04 Peter Henneken discusses his family's work history. He notes the importance of the public service in encouraging good in the community. Public Service Board
00:07:19 Peter Henneken discusses his time at Main Roads and working for the Public Service Board. He also touches on the tradition of studying while working as a public servant. Main Roads, Public Service Board, Sport
00:09:31 Peter Henneken describes the transition from working as a computer programmer for Main Roads to the Public Service Board in 1976, primarily working in the inspection area. He also discusses recruitment trends in the senior public service. Audit Office, Leo Hielscher, Main Roads, Public Service Board
00:14:00 Peter Henneken discusses his decision to work as a planning officer in the Department of Labour in 1980. He notes his time in the Public Service Board as a time of building knowledge and contacts in the public service. He also discusses merit, equity and the independence of the public service. equity, J.D. Storey, merit based selection, Public Service Board
00:15:50 Peter Henneken recalls the early Bjelke-Petersen years. He discusses his impression of the relationship between the government and the bureaucracy in this period. Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, budget process, infrastructure, Public Service Board
00:18:21 Peter Henneken describes his move to the Department of Labour. He tells of different departmental arrangements in this department. He notes his involvement in vocational training policy including the development of traineeships. Clyde Gilmour, Education Department, Roy Wallace, Tourism Department, unions
00:23:00 Peter Henneken discusses his relationship with unions during his time in the Department of Labour and negotiations over apprenticeships. Don Lane, Industrial Relations, Labour Department, unions
00:26:05 Peter Henneken discusses his relationship with the ministers he served under. He touches on the internal politics of the Liberal Party. He notes the freedom that bureaucrats had over policy during this period. He discusses the culture in the public service under the Bjelke-Petersen regime. Bill Knox, Labour Department, Llew Edwards, Peter Coaldrake, Primary Industries and Fisheries, public sector reform, Terry White, Treasury
00:32:32 Peter Henneken discusses federal-state relations with regards to labour market reform. He compares the policy resources of the Commonwealth Public Service as opposed to various the state bureaucracies with reference to labour policy. Bob Hawke, John Howard, Kevin Rudd, public sector reform, Treasury, Wayne Goss
00:37:22 Peter Henneken discusses the impact of the Savage Report. Peter Coaldrake, Savage Commission of Inquiry, White Shoe Brigade
00:38:55 Peter Henneken reflects on the different approaches of the Bjelke-Petersen and Goss governments to public sector management. He states that public servants were largely left alone during the Bjelke-Petersen Government. He also argues that public servants were ready for a change. He recalls his memories of the reform process. 1989 election, Peter Coaldrake, Public Sector Management Commission, public sector reform, Treasury, Wayne Goss, Wendy Armstrong
00:43:35 Peter Henneken discusses public service reform and the centralisation of decision making. He notes the reforms in relations to labour policy. He also makes the point that some of the language about the unions used by Kevin Rudd as prime minister was also used during the Goss years. He discusses the balance between central agencies and departments in successive Queensland governments. Brian Head, Cabinet Office, Erik Finger, Kevin Rudd, Premier's Department, Public Sector Management Commission, public sector reform, unions
00:48:50 Peter Henneken recalls his role in the 1990s. He discusses industrial relations and the development of the traineeship program. He notes the benefits and drawbacks of the accord and post-accord industrial relations policy. He also discusses wages bargaining in the public service. Industrial Relations, Paul Keating, Peter Coaldrake, Public Sector Management Commission, Treasury, unions
00:56:12 Peter Henneken discusses his relationship with the Goss Government industrial relations ministers. He notes that Warburton focused on industrial relations and implementing a system of conciliation and arbitration; and Foley was interested in industrial relations and focused on training. Bob Marshman, Industrial Relations, Matt Foley, Neville Warburton, relationship with ministers, Terry Mackenroth
01:00:39 Peter Henneken discusses how his career changed during the Borbidge years. He states that some people believed that he was tainted having been retained by the Goss Government which led to him been moved from his position. He touches on public sector management in this period. Allan Male, child protection, Doug McTaggart, Frank Peach, Santo Santoro
01:07:47 Peter Henneken outlines his shift to become the Deputy Director General of the Industrial Relations and Training portfolio under the Beattie Government. 1998 election, Bob Marshman, Industrial Relations
01:08:53 Peter Henneken discusses the ministers he worked with during the Beattie years. He notes that in his last eight months the department was a super department and had four ministers. He then goes on to comment on functionality of mega-departments. Andrew Fraser, Gordon Nuttall, Paul Braddy, relationship with ministers, Stephen Robertson, Tim Mulherin, Tom Barton
01:12:42 Peter Henneken compares public service arrangements under the Goss and Beattie governments. He discusses the usefulness of advisors federally and in Queensland under different governments. directors general, ministerial advisers, Peter Coaldrake
01:16:19 Peter Henneken discusses the role of ministerial minders and their interactions with the public service in the 1990s. He segues into employment arrangements in the public service, including the impact of the contract system on advice. He discusses public service activism and the role that public servants can play in shaping the policy agenda. Courier mail, directors general, ministerial advisers, Public Service Commissioner, Rachel Hunter, Savage Commission of Inquiry
01:24:46 Peter Henneken describes his role in devising the traineeship program as his greatest achievement.
01:25:55 Peter Henneken discusses his regrets from his time as a public servant.
01:27:04 Peter Henneken provides a macro view of the changes in the public service and the role of government. Health Department, Noel Pearson, Queensland Rail
01:31:01 Interview ends.