TRUTH IN GOVERNMENT AND THE POLITICIZATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE ADVICE
Article first published online: 17 AUG 2007
2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 85, Issue 3, pages 569–586, September 2007
How to Cite
MULGAN, R. (2007), TRUTH IN GOVERNMENT AND THE POLITICIZATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE ADVICE. Public Administration, 85: 569–586. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9299.2007.00663.x
- Issue published online: 17 AUG 2007
- Article first published online: 17 AUG 2007
- Date received 29 October 2005. Date accepted 18 January 2006.
Recent controversies over intelligence in Iraq, to give one example, have raised problems about the politicization of official advice from government, particularly what we are led to believe is factual or ‘objective’ advice. Objectivity is a contested value and the lines are often hard to draw between fact, spin and misrepresentation. Public servants are held to higher standards of objectivity than politicians, a fact on which politicians trade when they seek to attribute assessments of evidence to their officials. The growing openness of government documentation is placing pressure on departmental officials who wish to be both loyal to their political masters and honest in their factual assessments. These issues are discussed with reference to recent Australian experience (and also with reference to the UK Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly.