I had never really considered a career in audit before I found out about the ANAO graduate program — I thought auditing was just for accountants. I am basically allergic to maths, which shows in my study and work history. I did an Arts degree at the University of Western Australia, majoring in English and Cultural Studies, but also taking units in things like psychology, history and ethnomusicology. I worked in a bookshop in Perth for eight years.
I wrote my Honours thesis on the use of food in The Godfather and while I haven’t been able to apply my in-depth knowledge of the symbolism of cannoli to any audit work (yet), the skills I learned during my degree are surprisingly relevant to my work at the ANAO. There is a lot of research, a lot of critical thinking, and a lot of writing — sometimes under time pressure.
I am learning more and more here about how government agencies coordinate. Have you ever looked down and seen ants in a long line, passing a crumb from one to the other and leading each other back to the nest? I think of governance arrangements across the Australian Public Service in the same way. It’s fascinating learning about not just what separate agencies do on a day-to-day basis, but also how they work together towards a common goal.
I’ve been lucky enough to go on audit fieldwork to the Torres Strait during my graduate year. Fieldwork was really fascinating and invaluable to understanding how different this region is from the rest of Australia. Getting context for how government operates in such a place is vital and sometimes it really is impossible to understand unless you are physically there. The experience really helped me see the bigger picture of government.