Australian Society for the Study of Labour History
Public service employment has traditionally been perceived as secure and permanent. This security has been reduced in recent years, as economic pressures and broader public sector reforms have resulted in the redundancy of numerous public servants. While many consider this to be a revolutionary or novel trend, a review of the Queensland public service demonstrates that redundancies have long been a feature of public sector employment. The nature of redundancy appears to have changed over time, with earlier redundancies being largely related to economic circumstances, and those in more recent times being related less to economic cycles than to organisational decisions to restructure. The legislative provisions for redundancy have also changed and become more flexible and accessible. This combination of the change in the nature of redundancy, and the more accessible provisions, is not consistent with the traditional rationale for public service tenure as a protection against political dismissal.