CPDS Home Contact Professionalism: Chronological Summary

17 December 2001

Email to all Members of the Legislative Assembly

"Putting the victims first" seems to be easier to preach than to practice

As you will be aware the Premier has reportedly called on Brisbane's previous Anglican Archbishop, now the Governor General, to speak out on the issue of sexual abuse of students by a teacher at an Anglican school:

"Sometimes (the Premier reportedly said) we get put into a political straight jacket by the lawyers. It happens to all of us. But there are times when we have to break out of that and put the victims first ..... " (Morley P and Taylor C. 'You must speak out now, urges Beattie', Sunday Mail, 16/12/01)

However it appears to be much easier to advise others to give priority to the victims of abuses of trust, than to put this into practice where the political straight jacket is created by both lawyers and one's political allies.

In this respect you may recall earlier communications that referred to:

In relation to the current pretence about merit and fairness in Public Service appointments, I should like you to be aware that the Department of the Premier and Cabinet now appears to accept (see copy of a letter of 5 December 2001) that:

However that Department appears reluctant to do anything the above clear abuse of natural justice - despite the fact that Queensland's political establishment has long had evidence that Public Service 'reform' was incompetently managed.

Evidence: see Attachment A to Towards Good Government in Queensland, and note that a Chairman of the Public Service Management Commission even described the 'reform' process in terms of 'bullying' (Koch T., 'No more bullying of Queensland Public Service', Courier Mail, 29/7/95).

If you should be curious about the incredible situation that has been allowed to develop and ask the Department of the Premier and Cabinet for an explanation - then you will probably be brushed off (as the Public Service Commissioner apparently was - see letter of 4 October 2001) with a dismissive reply to the effect that 'the matter has been fully discussed previously'. However if you get this response and then ask for evidence and details about this claim, you will then encounter as deafening a silence as that with which the Anglican hierarchy apparently responded to allegations of sexual abuse against one of their schoolmasters.


John Craig

PS: I must also draw your attention to the implications of a current move by the Government's of NSW, Victoria and Western Australia to question why Queensland obtains a far greater share of Commonwealth funds through the Grants Commission than the Commonwealth receives from Queensland's businesses and citizens by way of taxes and other revenues (see Egan M, Brumby J and Ripper E., 'Donor states carry an unfair burden', Financial Review, 30/11/01).

This challenge to Queensland's revenue is directly relevant to the merit issues which the Department of Premier and Cabinet refused to allow to be considered which gave rise to the above dispute (see account of the issues involved on my web-site). The underlying problem is that Queensland presents a weak base for Commonwealth taxes because of failures to develop a highly productive economy, due to an amateurish preference for the growth of economically unproductive activities - a preference which also results in low per capita community incomes and (probably) in a large contribution to Australia's sometimes-restrictive current account deficits.