Reinventing Administrative Leadership in Australian Taxation: Beware the Fine Balance of Social Psychological and Rule of Law Principles
35 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2016
Date Written: July 6, 2015
The Australian Taxation Office’s goal of “reinventing” the way it goes about administering the Australian federal tax system raises fundamental questions about the role and implications of administrative “leadership”. This article considers administrative leadership from the general perspectives of rule of law principles and leadership theory, with a focus on the social psychology and public administration literature. The article questions whether a greater focus on administrative leadership might conceal potential problems when viewed through the lens of the interaction between the rule of law and leadership theory in building trust in tax administration. It is the second of two articles to do so. The first focused on China. This article uses Australia as an exemplar, so that the two articles allow for an examination of administrative leadership in a jurisdiction with weak rule of law and with strong rule of law. Ultimately, it is suggested that before pursuing administrative leadership to achieve change or influence regulatees, the Commissioner of Taxation must be careful to define precisely what that leadership will entail, to what context it is proposed to be employed and how it might interact with upholding the rule of law. Simply advocating leadership as a positive is too simplistic an approach.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation