CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

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14 July 2001

Dr Glyn Davis,
Director General,
Department of Premier and Cabinet

I am writing as a result of an interview with yourself that was reported in The Bulletin of 17 July 2001. In this Maxine McKew stated that you ascribed your career success to 'dumb luck'.

Your flippancy about the undemanding requirements for a senior Public Service appointment in Queensland was extremely offensive to professional Public Servants in view of:

  • the cynical claims that have been made that Public Service appointments have been based on merit - eg in a letter I received from the Premier dated 8 September 2000;
  • my still unresolved dispute with your Department concerning its blank refusal to allow merit to be considered in relation to the making of a senior appointment; and
  • your refusal on two occasions to initiate action to resolve this dispute, or to provide reason for your Department's refusal to allow merit to be considered (following my previous letters to yourself of 10 July 1998 and 6 October 2000).

You also reportedly described the task of running a university (or the public sector) as like being 'a magician' who creates something from nothing through an 'illusion' of direction.

However, while a sense of vision is useful for motivation and coordination, it must not be mere ‘illusion’ but must be grounded in reality. Our system of government relies on the Public Service to complement politicians by ensuring that public policies can be effective in practice.

Moreover Queensland's Public Service and system of government are now clearly failing because the early 1990s 'reforms' (which gave rise to the above dispute) resulted in a Service that has become part of the political system and content with the appearance of progress (ie with 'illusions') and much less concerned with whether policies are likely to work in practice.

Evidence of this is available online ( in relation to (a) the deskilling resulting from a poorly conceived and incompetently managed 'reform' process (see Towards Good Government in Queensland) (b) the serious difficulties now in the public sector (see Queensland's Challenge and its Continuation), and (c) illusory programs to address critically important public functions (see Comments on 'Innovation: Queensland's Future' and Notes on 'Strategic Infrastructure for Queensland's Growth').

In view of this, as in my letter of 10 July 1998, I again request that you take action to resolve my dispute with your Department resulting from its refusal to allow merit to be considered.


John Craig


A skilled Brush-off !!

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1 August 2001

[To John Craig]

I refer to your letter of 14 July 2001, in which you request that I take action to resolve a dispute you have in relation to your previous employment with the Queensland Government.

I have responded to the claims you make in this letter on a number of previous occasions, including a detailed response on 26 August 1998. While I acknowledge your continuing dissatisfaction with previous decisions made by this department, my position in relation to your claims has not changed.

I now consider this matter closed.

[signed for]

Dr Glyn Davis
Director General


7 August 2001

Dr Glyn Davis,
Director General,
Department of the Premier and Cabinet

I refer to your reply of 1 August to my letter of 14 July 2001.

Your most recent letter, which did nothing but refer to an earlier irrelevant you ‘now consider this matter closed’.

I can understand that you may be too uncomfortable about your Department’s past behaviour to discuss it. I can also understand that a defensive dis-information process may have emerged in your Department to try to ‘officially forget’ its disgraceful history. None-the-less your perspective on this matter (ie on the fact that merit has not been a necessary consideration in senior Public Service appointments) has led you to a false conclusion.

Published and anecdotal evidence is growing rapidly of difficulties facing Queensland’s community, economy and public administration, and of professional and public concern about the impact of politicisation on Public Service competence (see

Moreover the general situation that is emerging suggests that many opportunities will continue to arise to show the need for merit to be taken seriously in Public Service appointments.

Thus, despite your Department’s quite natural anxiety to ‘consider this matter closed’, it will not be closed until your Department’s blatant abuse of natural justice is remedied.


John Craig

PS - Regarding your reference to an (allegedly) ‘detailed response’ of 26 August 1998: The charade and lack of common decency that have apparently become the foundation of Public Service in Queensland were all too apparent in that letter. As my reply of 28 August 1998, pointed out, that letter (a) mainly dealt with the situation in 1998 which had nothing to do with my dispute about your Department’s actions in the early 1990s; and (b) was utterly meaningless because it failed, perhaps out of embarrassment, to even mention what my dispute is about. My reply then went on to remind you of your Department’s outrageous behaviour that is the basis of the dispute