CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

28 August 1998

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

Thank you for your Department’s response of 26 August in relation to my letter of 10 July. In the latter, I requested action to end a dispute over your Department’s refusal to allow merit to be considered in a 1992 grievance about the process of staff selection.

I must congratulate your Department on its response. This must be the first occasion in which a ‘careful examination of issues’ has been achieved without once mentioning them.

Your Department’s lengthy comment on recent events which forced me to resume this dispute has nothing to do with the dispute itself. And my dispute arose when your Department refused to deal with a grievance on merit, and hid behind procedural formalities. Your Department continues to pretend that merit is not the issue, and still hides from this behind ‘procedure’.

I can understand your Department’s disappointment that I continue to raise the need for merit in senior public service appointments. But the difference between a professional public service and the parody which was first created in the early 1990s is that professionals try to ensure policy works and achieves results, as well as ensuring due process.

I guess that it is futile, but I would point out that my dispute was about:

(a) the erosion of professional competencies related to development of the economy by the politically driven ‘reform’ process inflicted on the Premier’s Department in the early 1990s;

(b) a complete refusal in: interviews for staff selection; a grievance about this; a Fair Treatment Appeal; and in all subsequent representations - to allow me to raise substantive issues of professional competencies as an issue in senior staff appointments - though suppressing this severely damaged me - because of important advances I had made in understanding requirements for developing the economy;

(c) the fact that those procedural formalities - which now supposedly prevent re-opening the matter - could, according to the Deputy Ombudsman, result in un-resolvable injustices;

(d) the massive cost of: the progressive breakdown in government services; the wastage of public resources; the years of mediocre ‘economic development’ efforts; and the great hardships many in the community are thus suffering - which all resulted from a general erosion of the skill base that the public service needed to achieve real results.

It is clear that my dispute has to be taken to a less moribund forum. Members of the Legislative Assembly should want real economic and public service outcomes not just meaningless ‘process’, and thus might be willing to call even your Department to account for its lack of respect for merit and common decency in dealings with public servants.


John Craig