Further to my earlier post, it is interesting to see the likes of Albo, Bowen and Shorten railing against the Prime Minister’s decision to sack Blair Comley who got his leg up because of Labor connections. In Government, Labor tried to protect Comley by moving him out of the Department of Climate Change.
Even former Treasury Secretary Ted Evans has got into the act saying
It’s a great pity – we can’t afford to lose people of that quality.
On the contrary, the Government must dispense with their services. It is also a myth that there is only a small pool of people competent to do such jobs. This has been a justification behind the massive increase in the remuneration of secretaries over recent years (which are among the highest in the world) which always seemed to me as self-serving. A bit like some CEOs claiming they are indispensable to justify salary packages that are frankly ridiculous. The world’s cemeteries are full of indispensable people, as Charles de Gaulle once said.
A number of these secretaries have reached their position precisely because of their close connections and linkages with the Australian Labor Party. Indeed they would not have been promoted to secretary without those linkages. They now think they should be protected from dismissal from a Coalition Government.
Evans cites the example of Arthur Sinodinos, But he was never a departmental secretary. In addition, Labor enjoys the support of the vast majority of the public service. The Coalition faces a rather hostile public service, even if the hostility is disguised by sheep’s clothing.
Presently it seems that the Government has to justify why individual secretaries are sacked.
This should be reversed. I think all departmental secretaries (but not more junior officers) should have to re-apply for their positions on a change of government. No doubt many would in fact be re-appointed, but the Government should not have to justify its decision to replace a secretary. After all, a Secretary does not have to justify his or her decision to replace a departmental employee.