Andrew Podger was a long-term public servant before joining academia. Amongst his senior appointments were:
- Public Service Commissioner 2002-2004;
- Secretary of the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care (and related designations) 1996-2002;
- Secretary of the Australian Department of Housing and Regional Development 1994-1996;
- Secretary of the Australian Department of Administrative Services (and related designations) 1993-94.
He was also a senior executive in Defence (Deputy Secretary in charge of Acquisition and Logistics from 1990-1993), Finance (1982-1990) and Social Security (1978-1982). He previously worked in the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Social Welfare Commission and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, mostly on social statistics and social policy.
Before leaving the Australian Public Service in 2005, he chaired a review of the delivery of health and aged care services for then Prime Minister, John Howard.
Since then, he has been an adjunct professor at ANU and Griffith University, and Xi’an Jiao Tong University in China. He is also a Visiting Professor at Zhejiang University.
He was appointed Professor of Public Policy at ANU on a part-time basis in 2010 and appointed Honorary Professor of Public Policy from July 2014.
He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of the (US) National Academy of Public Administration, a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration in Australia and a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.
Since 2012 he has been a Public Member of the Australian Press Council.
He was awarded an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2004.