Further to my earlier post about the Public Service Amendment Bill 2012 (which apparently the Opposition is supporting), I have another concern. It relates to clause 58 and the appointment of secretaries. Under the present legislation, the Prime Minister may appoint a secretary for any term up to five years. Under the bill before Parliament, it must be for five years, unless the secretary is being reappointed to the same department.
Let’s imagine that X is the secretary of a department, with one year remaining on his contract. A new government wants to move X to another department. Under the Public Service Act as it stands, the transfer of X to the new department could be for one year, as per the existing appointment. But if the Bill is enacted, the transfer would be for a full five years. That seems excessive and an unwarranted intrusion into the flexibility of the Prime Minister to move secretaries around.