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Rational avoidance of accountability by Queensland governments

Queensland University of Technology
Publication Date
  • Queensland History
  • Public Sector Ethics
  • Accountability
  • Public Service
  • Anthony Downs
  • Public Choice Theory
  • Public Service Reform
  • Freedom Of Information
  • Whistleblowers
  • Integrity Commissioner
  • Criminal Justice Commission
  • Electoral And Administrative Review Commission
  • Public Service Commissioner
  • Political Science


Anthony Downs public choice theory proposes that every rational person would try to meet their own desires in preference to those of others, and that such rational persons would attempt to obtain these desires in the most efficient manner possible. This thesis submits that the application of this theory would mean that public servants and politicians would perform acts of corruption and maladministration in order to efficiently meet their desires. As such action is unavoidable, political parties must appear to meet the public demand for accountability systems, but must not make these systems viable lest they expose the corruption and maladministration that would threaten the government’s chance or re-election. The thesis demonstrates this hypothesis through a study of the history of the public sector in Queensland. It shows that all governments have displayed a commitment for accountability whilst simultaneously ensuring the systems would not be able to interfere with government control or expose its flaws.

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