Intervene in PM&C appointments? Not us, says minister

By Harley Dennett

May 10, 2016

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo on Lateline
Trade Minister Steve Ciobo

Fringe conservative voices in the media are annoyed that the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has appointed respected national director of UnitingCare Australia, Lin Hatfield Dodds, because she once stood as an election candidate for a minor party.

But a government minister waved off those concerns on Lateline Monday night, saying it wasn’t any business of the government who PM&C appoints for internal roles.

Hatfield Dodds, who has taken up the role of deputy secretary for social policy at PM&C, is one of the most frequently sought witnesses to parliamentary inquiries on social policy matters. Although she once stood for the Greens as the 2010 ACT senate election, Hatfield Dodds is respected across political sides for her deep knowledge of the policy space.

Lateline host Emma Alberici asked Trade Minister Steve Ciobo if appointment reflected shift in social policy from the Prime Minister’s Office. But Ciobo rejected that notion:

“There’s a big difference between the Prime Minister’s Office and the department. What you’re talking about is an appointment within the department that has nothing at all to do with the government, nothing at all to do with the Prime Minister and is in fact a public service appointment.

“And you know what? I think Australians expect that we wouldn’t have in politicians people trying to micro manage what happens within the departments.”

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