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Accountability in Australia: Control, Paradox and Complexity

PAQ, Vol. 31 No. 4, (2007)

Accountability in the Australian federal system has changed in distinctive ways during the last three decades of public sector reform. In association with each major environmental change has been an extension to accountability from the traditional features of ministerial responsibility and bureaucratic hierarchy to new modes of external scrutiny, accountability management, and most recently accountability within market and governance contexts. Each experiment at the national level, however, has had limitations that produce knock on effects. The paradox of accountability is that attempts to satisfy needs for control have led new forms and variations. The result has been the multiplication of accountability mechanisms and increasing complexity.

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