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Home News No ‘night of long knives’, but Qld bureaucrats face axe
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TAGS Queensland, Queensland government, Queensland public service, 2015 Queensland election, Annastacia Palaszczuk, Transport for NSW, Qld Department of Premier and Cabinet, Jon Grayson, Dave Stewart
Sacked by Campbell Newman, Dave Stewart returns to Queensland to head up Premier and Cabinet under Annastacia Palaszczuk. And other director-generals will have to reapply for their jobs.
New Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has dumped the director-general of the Department of Premier and Cabinet on her second day in the job, luring top New South Wales bureaucrat Dave Stewart back to Queensland to lead her department.
And director-generals at other departments will be forced to reapply for their jobs via a merit-based process. The new Premier says there will be “very minor changes” to the bureaucracy but bosses do face the axe if they don’t measure up.
Palaszczuk (pictured) was sworn in on Saturday after a final vote count confirmed Labor had claimed 44 seats, with the vote of independent Peter Wellington providing a majority. On Sunday Palaszczuk named her 14-person ministry, which she called an “exciting mix of experience and fresh talent”.
Jon Grayson was recruited from the corporate world by former Liberal-National Party premier Campbell Newman to lead his department in 2012. Labor pressured Grayson last year to divest his business interests after he was mentioned in a NSW corruption hearing concerning Australian Water Holdings. Palaszczuk said in May:
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The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
Jason Whittaker is managing editor of The Mandarin based in Melbourne. He has written for and edited political, business and culture publications for a decade. He spent two years as editor of sister Private Media publication Crikey.
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Queensland's top public servants have been put on notice by the new Labor government. And a shake-up of state government ministries presents particular policy challenges, according to one former director-general.
Given the constraints of factionalism and an understandable loyalty to the tiny band who toughed it out in the last parliament, this is as good a team as any serving bureaucrat could expect. There will be some tricky cross-department relationships to be developed, with unexpected separation of function as well as some laudable integration : main roads and ports might superficially fit comfortably with transport, infrastructure and local government; and training and skills might have something to do with education or industrial relations rather than justice. But good to see the ambulance service kept close to the hospitals and sensible groupings around the environment.