The testing of Lloyd: two hats too many for senator

By Stephen Easton

October 20, 2015

In the Finance and Public Administration committee yesterday, Australian Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd appeared, directly after fronting the committee as Parliamentary Services Commissioner, a more minor role he also holds. The APSC slot was originally scheduled for later in the day, after Prime Minister and Cabinet, but was brought forward.

Ever the efficiency expert, maybe it was Lloyd who suggested it would be more sensible to arrange both of his appearances one after the other.

The committee chair, Senator Cory Bernardi, wearily explained that Lloyd was “wearing a different hat” as Parliamentary Services Commissioner, first, before doing the APS Commissioner bit straight after. “It’s very clear to me; I understand it perfectly,” Bernadi said, clearly frustrated that some his fellow committee members didn’t get that the same man had two different jobs with similar-sounding names.

He declined a suggestion from Senate president Stephen Parry, sitting opposite with his officers, that he explain it so everyone was clear on the matter, saying he didn’t think it was necessary. “What I will do, just for your benefit Senator Rhiannon, is explain … there are two items, and they both involve Mr Lloyd,” said Bernardi, before clearly setting out the schedule. “They’re two distinct things.”

But Greens senator Lee Rhiannon still didn’t get it, kicking off by asking: “Can you expand on your comments about the FOI laws being ‘pernicious’? ” before Lloyd reminded her: “That relates to my other role as the Australian Public Service Commissioner … ”

“It always happens to you, Senator Rhiannon … ” mused a puzzled Bernardi.

Rhiannon got her chance soon after.

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