Michelle Patterson is a Special Adviser to the Associate Secretary of Indigenous Affairs and a driver behind this year’s critical focus on the state of Indigenous Public Administration. Immediately prior, Michelle was the Deputy CEO at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Moving in and out of academia; a master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and starting (but not quite finishing!) her PhD with the Centre for Indigenous Policy, Dialog and Research at UNSW, she is passionate about the need to better theorise public service practice and open up this often hidden activity to research and public critique – so that it does better. With an APS practice history that has included the (2001-04) COAG whole of government Indigenous Trials, creation of the Commonwealth Single Indigenous Budget and the earlier mainstreaming of Indigenous Affairs post ATSIC (recently reversed with the reconsolidation of many programs back into one portfolio), Michelle has moved in and out of the ‘mainstream’ of the APS working also in Industrial Relations, National Security, Competition Policy, Regional Affairs, Human Resources and Social Inclusion.