JSB178 Week Four Lecture Notes
Public Sector Ethics
Those characteristics that make a person a good public servant
What is the role of a public servant in the community?
What would you expect of such a person?
Queensland Public Sector Ethics Act 1994
Integrity and impartiality
Promoting the public good
Commitment to the system of government
Accountability and transparency
Integrity and Impartiality
In recognition that public office involves a public trust, public service agencies, public sector entities and public
officials seek to promote public confidence in the integrity of the public sector and:
o Are committed to the highest ethical standards
o Accept and value their duty to provide advice which is objective, independent, apolitical and
impartial – (remember frank and full advice)
o Show respect towards all persons including employees, clients, and the general public
o Acknowledge the primacy of the public interest and undertake that any conflict of interest issue will
be resolved or appropriately managed in favour of the public interest
o Are committed to honest, fair and respectful engagement with the community
Promoting the Public Good
In recognition that the public sector is the mechanism through which the elected representatives deliver programs
and services for the benefit of the people of Queensland, public service agencies, public sector entities and public
o Accept and value their duty to be responsive to both the requirements of government and to the
o Accept and value their duty to engage the community in developing and effecting official public
sector priorities, policies and decisions
o Accept and value their duty to manage public resources effectively, efficiently and economically
o Value and seek to achieve excellence in service delivery
o Value and seek to achieve enhanced integration of services to better service clients.
Commitment to the System of Government
(1) In recognition that the public sector has a duty to uphold the system of government and the laws of the
State, Commonwealth and local government, public service agencies, public sector entities and public
o Accept and value their duty to uphold the system of government and the laws of the State, the
Commonwealth and local government
o Are committed to effecting official public sector priorities, policies and decisions professionally and
o Accept and value their duty to operate within the framework of Ministerial responsibility to
government, the Parliament and the community
(2) Subsection (1) does not limit the responsibility of a public service agency, public sector entity or public
official to act independently of government if the independence of the agency, entity or official is required
by legislation or government policy, or is a customary feature of the work of the agency, entity or official. Accountability and Transparency
In recognition that public trust in public office requires high standards of public administration, public service
agencies, public sector entities and public officials:
o Are committed to exercising proper diligence, care and attention
o Are committed to using public resources in an effective and accountable way
o Are committed to managing information as openly as practicable within the legal framework
o Value and seek to achieve high standards of public administration
o Value and seek to innovate and continuously improve performance
o Value and seek to operate within a framework of mutual obligation and shared responsibility
between public service agencies, public sector entities and public officials.
There are five main ethical approached:
Deontology (action based)
Consequentialism (action based)
Virtue Ethics (character based)
Environmental Ethics (issue based)
Theories of Justice (issue based)
Note: in practice these may all overlap.
Kant’s Categorical Imperative
Kant tried to create a scientific approach to ethics based on pure reason.
He wanted a set of rules that could be relied upon the same way as Newton’s Laws of nature.
Thus, reason demands that you must follow them.
Unlike modern science, both