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Wednesday November 8, 2023

Insights, inspiration, integrity: Hear from New South Wales Auditor-General Margaret Crawford PSM

  • Insights, inspiration, integrity: Hear from New South Wales Auditor-General Margaret Crawford PSM image

Ahead of our Garran Oration on 18 August, this year’s speaker Margaret Crawford PSM talks about how past work has shaped her, acting with integrity, and more.

In the past, you’ve worked across various areas including homelessness and community services and taxation administration. How have these roles shaped how you work today?

I can’t divorce my past experience from how I shape my role as Auditor-General today. Just about everything we audit, I have had some exposure to in past roles. This means I can see things from the perspective of the public servants working hard to deliver programs or services or infrastructure. It doesn’t mean I go easy on them if I see failures that could be avoided. In fact, it probably means I have high expectations of how things should be done. But I can relate to the work and the circumstances faced by the public service.

What does acting with integrity look like to you?  

I like to keep it very simple; it means providing good advice to decision-makers. Not what they want to hear, but what they need to know. And following good processes that will ensure the work has the best chance of delivering the right outcomes.

People come to the Garran Oration to be inspired. Who is someone who inspires you and why? 

Many of the past speakers have inspired me – Mike Baird in 2015, Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs in 2018, Professor Garry Banks AO, 10 years ago. It’s daunting to be included in this cohort. I am inspired now by Marcia Langton for her brilliant mind and cut-through commentary. Closer to home, Aurora Andruska really inspired me when she navigated the complexity of the Essendon drug saga – her total integrity under enormous pressure. And Dr Chris Sarra’s recent Frances Adamson Oration was inspirational in its plea for public servants to trust their humanity.

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