CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

6 October 2000

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

AWU / ALP Practices for Filling Positions

I refer again to my letter of 10 July 1998 which requested that you resolve a dispute resulting from your Department's refusal under the Goss Government to allow merit to be considered in a grievance about the process for appointment to a senior position. The letter also repeated my request for your Department's reasons for deciding not to allow merit to be considered.

Your reply of 26 August 1998 stated that you could not deal with the matter.

However recent public allegations concerning AWU / ALP practices for filling internal positions have included the following:

  • the Sherperdson inquiry could reveal 'that it is hard to become a Labor Party candidate. (and that) Many of the state's MPs will be exposed as residents of a world where conniving is a way of life and there are no prizes for honesty and few rewards for merit' (Franklin M., 'Monster stalks Beattie', Courier Mail, 3019/00); and
  • Karen Ehrmann's claims include (a) having been placed under pressure of being destroyed politically and publicly if she didn't do what was wanted to support the ALP's right wing AWU faction, and (b) participating in a group discussion on how to get the dirt on a factional opponent to get him sacked (Meredith H., 'Electoral fraud testimony blow to Beattie', Financial Review, 4/10/00).

If proven to be the case, such practices provide the beginnings of an explanation of:

  • legislation which Parliament enacted to prevent appeals against SES appointments;
  • the disgraceful treatment of the Queensland Public Service in the early 1990 and the general purging of its real knowledge and skill base in the process of (alleged) 'reform' under the Goss Government which was dominated by the ALP's AWU faction; and
  • the Premier's Department's refusal to allow merit to be considered in my grievance.

Such alleged practices also provide a context for assessing the credibility of the 1992 Fair Treatment Appeal which dismissed my complaints about the grievance process, and suggest the standards by which the then Chair of the PSMC might have judged that I had been afforded 'fair and proper treatment in relation to (my) grievance' (in a letter of 4 August 1994).

Accordingly, I ask that you now take meaningful action to resolve my dispute as requested in my letter of 10 July 1998, and particularly that you respond to my (repeatedly asked) questions (eg why merit was not allowed to be considered in my grievance, and how a person in my position had been expected to gain fair and just treatment).

[Signed John Craig]


14 November 2000

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

AWU - ALP Practices for Filling Positions

I refer to your letter of 10 November 2000. In this you continued to maintain that you have no 'authority' to examine the matters raised in my letter of 6 October 2000 - using the (so-called) Fair Treatment Appeal which was conducted in 1992 as an excuse.

Unfortunately life is not that simple. Recent reports have now linked the allegations being made to the Shepherdson inquiry about AWU practices for filling positions to the way Public Service appointments have been made (1).

For this reason, and for others outlined below (2) , your Department can't avoid hard problems indefinitely just through reference to farcical bureaucratic processes.

Your Department's response to my request was hardly a surprise - for reasons outlined in a letter to a Ms Palaszczuk (copy enclosed dated 18 October 2000). However, as difficulties are increasing and there is little of practical relevance to show for a great deal of paper-shuffling and public cost, even Queensland's undemanding political system may not be tolerant forever. If government in this state eventually takes Public Service merit seriously, your Department will probably no longer be able to hide behind facile excuses.

[Signed John Craig]

1. For example: It has been reported that five young ex ALP members alleged to the Shepherdson inquiry that 'a chance to land public service and ministerial office jobs awaited those who complied with AWU faction requests. Those who did not comply faced political death' (Griffith C., 'Inquiry told of jobs for the boys', Courier Mail, 12/10/00 - emphasis added). [[Does this not suggest that landing Public Service jobs during the (alleged) reform process in the early 1990s which was controlled by AWU dominated ministerial offices might have depended mainly on whether individuals were seen as likely to comply with AWU faction requests?]]

2. Bureaucratic processes don't necessarily mean anything. For example:

  • the dispute mentioned in my letter of 6 October involved your Department's refusal to allow merit to be considered in relation to defects that I pointed out in the process of making a senior appointment;
  • if consideration of professional merit had been allowed, your Department would have been discredited - for technical reasons outlined in an updated form in Defects of Economic Tactics, Strategy and Outcomes (see Attachment B to enclosed letter to MLAs of 9 August 2000);
  • the endorsement of your Department's disgraceful action by appeal bodies merely ensures that the professional credibility of the whole Public Service is now in tatters. And, not only did the said Fair Treatment Appeal decide (in effect) that refusing to allow merit to be considered was 'fair', but the Ombudsman's Office went so far as to suggest that it would have been legally 'anomalous' for merit to have been considered;
  • your Department has never given reasons for its refusal to allow professional merit to be considered - as it should have to conform with the spirit of the Judicial Review Act. The old-fashioned idea of 'justice being seen to be done' also clearly now means nothing;
  • your earlier response of 26 August 1998 was meaningless as (a) it did not even acknowledge what my dispute is about, and (b) most of the 'detailed information provided' had nothing at all to do with it.