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Foreign affairs: Ivory Tower, closed shop



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Media Release IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bill Taylor M P FEDERAL MEMBER FOR GROOM TOOWOOMBA

JAN 12 1995 07\95

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: IVORY TOWER, CLOSED SHOP

The Acting Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bill Taylor, said that Senator Gareth Evans should butt out of any process

involving the appointment of candidates to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mr Taylor said that the outcome of the recent controversial Senior Officer Grade B round in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in which Senator Evans had directly intervened, would serve to reinforce public concern that DFAT was a closed shop.

"Although internal DFAT candidates constituted 60% of applicants to the round, they made up a whopping 96% of successful

applicants. This is eloquent testimony to the strength of

Departmental hostility to "outsiders". Also disappointing was the fact that less than 30% of successful applicants were female - DFAT did not disclose the overall percentage of female

applicants.

"Coming in the wake of DFAT division head Mr W Fisher's trenchant personal abuse of Australian business leaders in August, the result of the round would reinforce concerns about DFAT's self- perpetuating "ivory tower" mentality.

"The fact that only one out of eighty external candidates was considered acceptable shows that DFAT believes it already possesses the requisite human resource base and no other skills need to be imported from "outside". Given the ivory tower

mentality displayed by Mr Fisher, this is manifestly not the case.

"The outcome should also be considered in light of DFAT Secretary Mr Michael Costello's vehement denial, in recent Senate Estimate Committee hearings, that DFAT ever had or ever would consider appointing a Merit Protection Review Agency Officer (MPRA) to a

DFAT promotion selection committee.

"Perhaps given the exclusivity of the result and Senator Evans attempts to influence the process, the MPRA should be involved in future," Mr Taylor said.

END.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT BILL TAYLOR ON (076) 32 4144.