EP#100: At the heart of public service with Dr Gordon de Brouwer

Today, we celebrate 100 episodes of Work with Purpose with a special conversation between two passionate public servants: Dr Gordon de Brouwer, Australian Public Service Commissioner and Thanuri Welaratne, education programs officer at Questacon. Together, they explore Gordon’s extensive career journey, covering the APS reform agenda and his report on bullying and harassment.

Gordon highlights the critical role public servants play in maintaining democratic governance and upholding the principles of transparency, accountability and service to the community. Along with Thanuri, Gordon also discusses how public servants can navigate work-life balance, and what flexibility means post-pandemic.

Framing the conversation, host David Pembroke looks back on Work with Purpose’s 100-episode journey – from its first episode covering the public service’s COVID-19 response to today’s conversation about reform, stewardship, and purpose.

Discussed in this episode:

  • Defining effective leadership in the APS
  • The role of flexibility and work-life balance in modern public service
  • Building trust and integrity within the APS
  • Tips for building leadership skills


Dr Gordon de Brouwer

Dr Gordon de Brouwer is the Australian Public Service Commissioner. He was previously secretary for public sector reform, where he led and implemented public sector reform, working closely with the public service commissioner and reporting to the minister for the public service.

Gordon brings 35 years of experience in public policy and administration in Australia, having served as secretary of the Department of the Environment and Energy, held senior roles at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury, and ANU, and other key positions.

Before returning to public service, Gordon was a director at ANSTO, served on advisory boards, led AusPECC, and was national president of the Institute of Public Administration Australia. Gordon holds a PhD in economics from the Australian National University and has been honored with a Public Service Medal and France’s Legion of Honour.