With the election outcome now part of Australia’s history, federal agencies will need to manage a smooth transition for the incoming government. But some immediate challenges lie ahead.
A Howard led Coalition Government has been in power since 2 March 1996. Many managers in government agencies, and for that matter in industry, have never worked with a different government, or through a government transition.
Government agencies need to change gear quickly, and start preparing to implement the new government policy agenda. This will inevitably have some impact on tendering and contracting. Many agencies will have put any contentious projects into suspended animation during the caretaker period. But there could be some short term disappointment for industry as some anticipated work is re-evaluated.
There will inevitably be some short term unease as new relationships are developed between government agencies and incoming ministers and their staff. Some may remember that this was an early challenge in 1996 for the new Howard government. The unease is understandable, as some of the incoming government ministers have only recently been on the other side of the table at gruelling Senate Estimates enquiries.
Incoming governments typically announce a reshuffle of agencies and their roles. There are early indicators of the shape of the new government, based on policy discussions and announcements during the campaign, but there are usually some surprises in the final announcement. Mr Rudd will announce the makeup of his new ministry on Thursday.
For those interested in political trivia:
John Howard is currently still Prime Minister, even though he lost the election and probably his seat. He will remain Prime Minister until the incoming government is sworn in. Kevin Rudd is referred to as the Incoming Prime Minister.