More than 400 delegates recently participated in the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) National Conference in Canberra. Three Australia Awards Cambodia scholars, Ean Sokserei, Te Kimhok, and Veng Pitou participated in the two day-conference and then joined the masterclass the next day.
The Conference included discussions and debates around how Australia can adapt and rise to the challenge of geopolitical shifts, the prolonged impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, a net-zero emissions future, a global war for talent and growing polarisation in democracies.
The Conference was designed to provide strategic and practical learning for all levels and equip participants with insight, skills and connections. Reflecting on his experience, Kimhok said,
At the first keynote address, Future Crunch, an Australian think tank presented the concept of Adaptability Quotient (AQ). Future Crunch was founded to foster intelligent and optimistic thinking about the future, and to empower people to contribute to it. They argue that AQ is a key quality for individuals and organisations that wish to thrive in a world of constant change.
Pitou was impressed by the caliber of speakers during the conference. He was interested in the increased use of technology in governance in tackling emerging issues such as election misinformation and disinformation. In the recent Australian federal election, the Australian Electoral Commission used social media campaigns to provide reliable information about the election and educate the voter. It was considered highly successful in tackling election misinformation and disinformation, which increased public trust. Pitou said,
Participants also heard from Senator Katy Gallagher, the Minister of Public Service, about her major task of transforming the Australian Public Service (APS). She was among the 50 prominent speakers at the conference. Addressing the conference, she explained that she wants all Australian public servants to have integrity in all they do and to put people and businesses at the center of policy and services. Integrity, transparency and respect are the hallmarks of an ambitious reform agenda she has for the APS.
Katy said that being transparent and accountable to the public is the way to restore people’s trust in the government. She expects the public service to give frank and fearless advice to the government.
The three scholars had a great time participating in the conference and networking with the Australian public servants and the private sector. Ean Sokserei said,
IPAA is a non-profit and non-partisan organisation that provides a platform for debate and discussion about improving and striving for excellence in public administration in Australia. The members of IPAA include all current Commonwealth Departments, the ACT Public Service, a range of other corporate members and individual members, which reach over 150,000 professionals in public administration.