The Ros Kelly school of public accountability

Ros Kelly – a former minister in the Keating government – allocated government funding on a large white board in her office. The board was then erased and poor records kept.

Mrs Kelly, a former teacher, stunned MPs when she told the inquiry that she made her decisions by writing the short-listed applications on ‘a great big whiteboard’ in her office, after which her staff rubbed them out.

Although no one accused Mrs Kelly of corruption, she performed unconvincingly in parliament against opposition charges that she had been biased, incompetent and had misled the House.

After first rejecting the charges, she was forced to concede that she had approved sporting grants in at least one marginal Labor seat after advice from her own department that the bodies in question were ineligible. Most leading newspapers called for her resignation last week. The parliamentary report, tabled yesterday, stated: ‘Her record- keeping was seriously inadequate and her administration was deficient.’

This got labelled the sport-rorts affair.

We now have the Fink-rort.

A GROUP of five cabinet ministers signed off on Labor’s independent media review without seeking written submissions on its terms of reference or the candidates to run it.

Details of how the inquiry was established emerged as officials revealed the inquiry’s head, former judge Ray Finkelstein, was paid $308,000 and the inquiry’s top adviser, academic Matthew Ricketson, was paid $175,000.

Officials from Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s department told a Senate committee yesterday they were not asked for written advice on the review by Mr Finkelstein, who has called for statutory regulation of print and online news.

In the first detailed questioning over the process, the Senate estimates committee heard there was no cabinet submission about the Finkelstein review and that Senator Conroy’s department did not offer written advice about the terms of reference or the potential candidates who would lead it.

Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Anthony Albanese, Penny Wong and Senator Conroy signed off on the exercise after the government met with the Greens.

So did they even write up stuff on a white board or was it just a nod and a wink?

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8 Responses to The Ros Kelly school of public accountability

  1. Fleeced

    Fink-stink is a better name than Fink-rort

  2. JC

    Officials from Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s department told a Senate committee yesterday they were not asked for written advice on the review by Mr Finkelstein, who has called for statutory regulation of print and online news.

    The sight of rats deserting this sinking ship is like being in heaven.

  3. Sid Vicious

    Ros Kelly and her whiteboard; what a team. Imagine telling the ATO that you worked out your tax return on a whiteboard and the sums indicated that you didn’t owe the ATO any dosh. I think the amount of money that Kelly handed out was about AUD$33 million.

    Politics…what a caper.

  4. Mother Hubbard's Dog

    Storm in a teacup. In the kitchen cabinet era, the Budget was signed off on a similar basis. They probably used a whiteboard for that, too.

  5. Helen Armstrong

    Exactly my thoughts, mother Hubbard’s Dog, the Kitchen Cabinet rides again.

  6. Jim Rose

    those were the days. minister making onw their ow. not vessels of their department as per yes minister

    Minister has three functions.

    First as an advocate, making the Department’s actions seem plausible to Parliament and the public he is in fact our public relations man.

    Second, he is our man in Westminster, steering our legislation through parliament, and

    third. He is our bread-winner. He has to fight in Cabinet for the money we need to run our department. But he is not here to review departmental procedures with principle and assistant secretaries.

  7. H B Bear

    While most of Rudd and Gillard’s cabinet are simply incompetent or interfering do-gooders, Conroy is actually malevolent.

    The NBN will do more long term damage to Australia’s economic well being than any other single decision of these hopeless governments. The sabotage of the Australia Network tender was one of the most disgraceful acts of political interference I’ve seen for years.

  8. It becomes increasingly obvious the ALP regime is either hopefully incompetent or deliberately malicious. Their intent is to do permanent harm to Australia as evidenced by their ‘open borders’ migration policy.

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