Professor Ian Anderson: Building future Indigenous policy makers

Professor Ian Anderson: Building future Indigenous policy makers

PM&C Careers
Friday, 05 April 2019

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Professor Ian Anderson, Deputy Secretary, Indigenous Affairs

My family are Palawan. I have worked in Indigenous health for most of my professional life and graduated as a doctor. Before that, I worked as an Aboriginal health worker, ran an Aboriginal health service, worked in the Commonwealth Department of Health, and also worked at the University of Melbourne for about 20 years where I was an academic.

I’m about to clock up one year in Prime Minister and Cabinet as a Senior Executive in the Department. I came here to lead some of the thinking around the refresh of Closing the Gap through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

PM&C is at the heart of the Australian Public Service, supports the Prime Minister’s agenda and has a key role in coordinating across government, including delivering Indigenous programs.

PM&C is an excellent place to get a real sense of how government works and a great place to understand how Indigenous affairs policy can be developed within an organisation that has significant influence across the public service and government.

PM&C delivers about $1.3 billion in services and programs every year to Indigenous communities. We have a key role in leading policy around Indigenous affairs and working with our colleagues in other departments.

It’s a fantastic place to really learn about the policy making process and to understand how that works in Indigenous affairs. It’s also a great way to see how you can apply your skills in ways that actually contribute to the development of policy and programs which ultimately affect the lives of Indigenous Australians.

I have a couple of pieces of advice for those Indigenous graduates looking to apply for the program:

  • Have in your mind that this is not necessarily a destination for your career; it might be a starting point.
  • Don’t necessarily think that Indigenous affairs is all you can do. Think about other areas of public policy that might interest you.
  • Talk to people who have been on the PM&C graduate program before.
  • Talk to people who have worked in government to get a real sense for the flavour of how things work.
  • And finally, be brave and ambitious and strive to be excellent!

PM&C is looking for graduates who are committed to helping improve the wellbeing of all Australians and who bring diverse experiences, education and backgrounds.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, you can find more information about applying for PM&C’s graduate program at our Graduate Careers page.