It was also an indirect way of breaking up those pesky, unionised workforces within governments, such as the Commonwealth Employment Service or the tramways employees.
So throughout the Kennett and Howard eras, most public services, from electricity to prisons, from childcare to aged care, were privatised, often through contracting-out processes.
According to the gurus of the NPM movement, government’s new role in service delivery was to “steer not row”. And when Labor governments – Rudd in Canberra and Bracks in Victoria – were returned, they apparently saw no reason to abandon NPM.
Contracting out went hand in hand with the use of another less well-known but very powerful strategy, the elevation of the content-free manager.
NPM disliked specialist managers, those who were either trained in their field or very experienced, or both. Professionals such as doctors and social workers who were also specialist managers held other loyalties, beyond holding