CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

4 November 2005

Mr Chris Jones and Ms Margaret Wenham
Courier Mail

'Beattie appoints best-paid servant'

I would like to add a little background information in relation to your article which commented on the merit selection process in making a senior appointment in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

My interpretation of your article: Queensland highest paid public servant has been appointed as Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Ross Rolfe, who was head-hunted as Coordinator General in July from Stanwell Corporation, will replace Leo Keliher. The Premier said that the new Director General, who was previously appointed through a merit selection process, could be appointed to the new position without the need for a further selection process. The Opposition expressed concern that this breached a recommendation in the Fitzgerald Report that the Opposition should be consulted about senior appointments (Jones C., and Wenham M., 'Beattie appoints best-paid servant', Courier Mail, 28/10/05).

While I have no information about the current situation it is clear that merit selection processes, as applied by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, have sometimes been little but a pretence. This is demonstrated by the Ombudsman's decision that, in relation to making a senior appointment, the Department did not really have to allow merit to be considered (see Ombudsman's Reasons for a confused explanation of this conclusion, which built on the fact that appeals against senior appointments were prohibited by legislation).

It is not only ALP administrations that have made 'merit selection' into a charade (see Queensland's Opposition seems Equally Guilty which includes reference to the Opposition's apparent view that merit did not really matter so long as politicians had confidence in those they appointed).

Queensland clearly suffers from a dysfunctional, crisis prone and increasingly costly system of public administration - and the people have no one to blame except the representatives they have chosen to elect.


John Craig