Stewards on the Couch with David Mackie, Public Sector Commissioner


On the 3rd October 2023, IPAA Queensland invited the public purpose community to attend the latest event in our flagship Stewards on the Couch series.

Professionalism, trust, pride and excellence in public service. These are some of the issues most front of mind for Queensland’s new Public Sector Commissioner as he takes on the challenge of developing the long-term capability and sustainability of the public sector in Queensland.

This event saw David Mackie, Public Sector Commissioner, sit down with Professor Deborah Blackman to discuss not only his vision for the sector, but importantly the professional experiences that have shaped him and his strongly held values in public service.

During this conversation attendees heard about the career of the man who will lead the reform and capability of Queensland’s largest workforce. An engaging and down-to-earth individual, who is passionate about people and creating world-class workplaces, David offered reflections from his long-term career as a dedicated and professional public servant. One who is deeply committed to building confidence and trust in the sector.


IPAA Queensland members can watch the entire event recording on the members portal.


David Mackie is a well-respected senior executive with over 30 years of experience in the Queensland public sector.

As Public Sector Commissioner David leads the development of a public sector which is purpose fit for the future – a public sector recognised for its contemporary capability, integrity, robust governance, and dedicated service to the Queensland community.

He is the chair of the Integrity Reform Steering Committee, established to implement recommendations of the Coaldrake review into culture and accountability in the Queensland public sector.

Previously he was Director-General of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. He has held senior executive positions with the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland, the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, and the Commission of Inquiry into the implementation of the Queensland Health Payroll System.

David has provided stewardship of the portfolio entities within the Department of Justice and Attorney-General including the Crime and Corruption Commission, Office of the Information Commissioner, the Electoral Commission of Queensland, the Queensland Human Rights Commission and the Queensland Family and Child Commission.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Economics and Public Policy.


Professor Deborah Blackman is the Head of School, and a member of the Public Service Research Group, in the School of Business at UNSW, Canberra.

Deborah’s research interests include: Public Sector Policy Implementation, Systems Level Change, Employee Performance Management, Organisational Learning and Organisational Effectiveness. In 2021 Deborah coedited the Handbook on Performance Management in the Public Sector. She has published internationally in journals including Public Administration Review, Management Learning, Management Decision, Journal of Knowledge Management and the Human Resources Development Quarterly.

Deborah’s research knowledge transfer in a range of applied, real world contexts. Her primary interest is using philosophical and systems explanations to understand why things do not work when theory implies that they should. From those enhanced understandings, new theories and applications can be developed to support the implementation of change or reform.  The common theme of her work is developing effective knowledge acquisition and transfer in order to improve organisational effectiveness.


Stewards on the Couch is a regular and highly popular feature of IPAA’s annual event program, where a chief executive or public leader takes to ‘the couch’ for an informal, conversation-style interview.

These events provide the IPAA community an opportunity to learn more about the influences, priorities, and core values of stewards leading public purpose work along with the key challenges and opportunities facing their organisation and/or sector.  Guests are invited to stay for networking and refreshments after the interview.

Proudly supported by IPAA Queensland major partner and Stewards on the Couch series partner