No ‘night of long knives’, but Qld bureaucrats face axe

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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  • roger dennis scott

    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.