Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Sean Parnell and Michael McKenna The Australian March 28, 2012

Campbell Newman
Premier Campbell Newman has defended his decision to reward political allies with top jobs in Queensland's public service. Picture: Glenn Barnes Source: The Courier-Mail
PREMIER Campbell Newman says he did not call for applications for new department heads in Queensland because "we've been processed to death". 
Mr Newman has picked two political allies and raided the offices of his former fiefdom at City Hall to fill the top jobs of his new-look bureaucracy following the sackings of several departmental heads of the Bligh government.

After repeatedly accusing former premier Anna Bligh in the past year of politicising the public service, Mr Newman yesterday announced six new department heads that include one-time Queensland Liberal MP and party president Michael Caltabiano, and David Edwards, the son of Joh Bjelke-Petersen-era deputy premier and Liberal leader Lew Edwards.

On ABC radio this morning, Mr Newman was asked how he could know Mr Caltabiano was the best man for the job of transport department boss if he had not advertised the position and called for applications.

“Look, you know, we've been processed to death these days,” Mr Newman said.

“I've been in political life for almost 10 years now and when I have been responsible in the lord mayoralty I have filled appointments in both ways.”

Mr Newman yesterday defended his appointment of Mr Caltabiano to transport, saying he had formerly worked in the public service, had run his own business and although he was a “political player” he was also “well-qualified as a civil engineer”.

“Here's the difference - he's a civil engineer, he's a project manager, he's qualified to do the job,” Mr Newman said. “They (Labor) appointed people who didn't have a clue what they were doing, it's as simple as that.”

The remaining four appointments, who will oversee the dismantling of the Bligh government super-departments, all worked for Mr Newman during his seven years as Brisbane's lord mayor.

The LNP leader has conceded the appointments could draw criticism, after being asked if it was a case of “jobs for the boys”.

But Mr Newman said all six new directors-general were well-qualified and were selected on merit.

“I accept that criticism could be there, and I'm saying to all Queenslanders these are people who'll do a fantastic job,” he told a press conference yesterday.

“These people will perform and deliver on the promises we have made,” he said.

This is about making the whole process, the change we are after, come through.

“This will make our state go forward at a rate of knots.”

Mr Newman, who is now leading the government with a cabinet of just two - Treasurer Tim Nicholls and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney - will hold a party room meeting today of his 73 confirmed MPs before announcing his new-look ministry on Friday.

It is understood Mr Newman will elevate several first-term MPs to his frontbench, including Brisbane lawyer Ian Walker, tipped to be the state's attorney-general, and former Australian Medical Association state president Chris Davis, who will serve as a junior to the new health minister, tipped to be Mark McCardle, who was the opposition's spokesman in the health portfolio.

Parliamentary tyro Saxon Rice, who defeated Labor deputy premier Andrew Fraser, will be elevated to the ministry with new Nanago MP Deb Frecklington and Dale Shuttleworth, who won the seat of Ferny Grove, both set to be made “assistant ministers” in roles that were previously known as parliamentary secretaries.

Opposition frontbenchers Jann Stuckey, Ray Stevens and Jack Dempsey are expected to be sent to the government backbenches.

On ABC radio this morning, Mr Newman said ministers “will go” if they do not perform, but cautioned that they should perhaps be given a two-year honeymoon period, as many were inheriting a “schemozzle” from Labor.

Mr Newman also said he would support increasing the parliamentary term from three to four years, but would need to talk to the new opposition leader first, and pledged to fully resource the Labor team in the Legislative Assembly.
- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/premier-campbell-newman-shuns-process-in-picking-top-bureaucrats/story-fnbsqt8f-1226312203314#sthash.CeYgySaK.dpuf

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