After winning the Senate majority, Howard counselled against the perception of hubris. So the emergence of Soviet-style "political cadres" second-guessing government officials does not look good. Education Minister Brendan Nelson uses them to personally review thousands of ARC research funding decisions. In a similar vein, Health Minister Tony Abbott's office exercises absolute discretion with the abortion pill RU486.
In both cases, established arms-length processes are over-ridden by ambitious ideologically-driven politicians pandering to their political base as part of a protracted leadership contest. This might help them in the short-term, but voters eventually tire of arrogant ministers who prioritise pet peeves over the public interest.