|CPDS Home Contact||Professionalism: Chronological Summary|
5 May 2002
Dr David Watson, MLA
I enclose a copy of an email that has been sent today to Members of the Legislative Assembly concerning a yet-unresolved dispute with the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
As you will be aware the Department of the Premier and Cabinet now seem quite happy to concede that it could not provide any reasonable justification for preventing merit being considered in a grievance about the making of a senior appointment that I drew to your attention several years ago.
And doing so was apparently 'legal' because, as the Ombudsman pointed out, Parliament had legislated to prevent appeals against SES appointments and thus made it anomalous for merit to be considered (and in doing so also legitimised manifest injustices).
Despite this 'legality' the Department's actions clearly:
When I have contacted other MLAs, they invariably tell me that it is you, as my local MLA, who should have made representations on my behalf about this. And I frankly find it incredible that the Department of the Premier and Cabinet would have been able to get away with refusing to provide a serious response to the issues that this dispute raises, if you have not accepted that its meaningless brush-offs are 'good enough'.
As it is my understanding that you intend to retire from politics at the next election, I would appreciate information about your understanding of this matter so that this may be accurately conveyed to your successor.
|Reply #1 from Dr David Watson, MLA||
13 May 2002
I refer to your letter of 8 May 2002.
Ten years is a long time but I was still surprised by the following comment in your letter, namely
could have been able to get away with refusing to provide a serious response to the issues that this dispute raises, if you have not accepted that its meaningless brash-offs are 'good enough', "
As you should recall I did make representations on your behalf back in 1992. In fact, I personally saw the Premier, Wayne Goss, to specially plead your case in an attempt to stop the termination process. The then Premier not only listened to me but also agreed to consider your case.
Representations by Members of Parliament do not always bring the desired result for constituents. Yours was such a case. But having appealed personally to the Premier, there was no higher authority to approach. I spoke to you about this at the time.
When you continued your own representations to the Government, I again made representations in 1995, on your behalf, to the then Director General of Premiers, Mr Loftus Harris in order to expedite consideration of your concerns.
John, I am not sure what else you want me to do. As your letter of 8 May 2002 concedes, the Government of the day complied with the law. In those circumstances, having spoken to the Premier himself about your case. there was no further political avenue for redress.
14 May 2002
Dr David Watson, MLA
I am sorry if you read my letter of 8th May 2002 as implying that you had not made representations on my behalf. I was well aware that you had done so.
The aim of my letter was to establish your understanding of why the Premier’s Department has been able to avoid giving any serious response to the issues raised by the dispute arising from its refusal to allow merit to be considered in relation to making a senior appointment.
From your letter I interpret your position to be that:
I needed to know this because it will be important background when the matter is raised with your successor. I do not believe that it is enough to ‘go through the motions’ and then accept an outcome which is clearly neither just nor reasonable. In this regard I note that:
I do sincerely appreciate the representations that you made on my behalf, but I can not accept that this was enough under the above circumstances.
|Reply from Dr David Watson, MLA||
24 May 2002
Thank you for your letter of 14 May 2002.
As indicated in my previous letter to you, I made personal representations on your behalf to the then premier. These were done in person and with sufficient rigour that the Premier agreed to review your case.
There was no higher authority to approach on your behalf. If there is any outstanding legal issues regarding your termination, then that is a matter for you to pursue in the appropriate legal forums.
27 May 2002
Dr David Watson, MLA
In response to your letter of 24 May, I note that there can never be any outstanding 'legal' issues in relation to that matter because, as pointed out by the Ombudsman's Office, Parliament had legislated to prevent appeals against SES appointments.
His office also suggested to me that the matter thus had to be resolved politically.
The problem is that Queensland's political system has proven quite content to countenance injustice and ineptitude in making senior Public Service appointments. In particular:
As indicated in my letter of 5 May 2002, this is a matter which I will need to take up with your successor.