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Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Page: 6794

Mr DREYFUS (IsaacsCabinet Secretary and Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (17:59): I will start with Dr Ken Henry's appointment. The questions that I have just been asked seem to have been drawn from various instances of misreporting in the media. It has been made very clear that Dr Ken Henry AC has been appointed by the Governor-General as a special adviser and his senior appointment was announced on 1 June 2011. The result of this appointment is that Dr Henry's extensive knowledge and experience are going to continue to be a valuable resource, and I am pleased that those skills are going to continue to be available to the Australian government.

Dr Henry has had a very distinguished Public Service career which spanned more than 25 years, 10 of which were spent as the secretary to the Treasury. In that time Dr Henry has made major contributions to the wellbeing of Australians and to the prosperity of the nation, not least of which was the extraordinary, timely and invaluable advice he provided to the government with the onset of the global financial crisis. His appointment does not require a gazettal—there seems to be a misapprehension on the part of the member for Mackellar in that part of her question. He is appointed by the Governor-General. He is presently being remunerated at secretary level, but he is expected to work part time and will be paid on a pro rata basis.

I can point out that the most recent appointment under section 67 was that of Mr Fergus Ryan as strategic investment coordinator, and this expired in 2002. Other examples include Dr Paul Twomey as chief executive officer of the National Office for the Information Economy, Ms Gwenyth Andrews as chief executive of the Australian Greenhouse Office and Mr Michael Hutchinson as chief executive of the Office of Asset Sales and Information Technology, all in 1998—these appointments were made by the Howard government. It is a process recognised under the Constitution and it should be a surprise to anyone here that the opposition were expressing concern about it. We have a distinguished Australian who has provided distinguished service to the nation. It is an excellent thing that Dr Henry is going to continue to be able to provide service to the people of Australia.

Another question asked by the member for Mackellar related to the Prime Minister's former chief of staff Amanda Lampe. Again, as I indicated to the member for Mackellar in relation to some of her earlier questions, that question needs to be addressed to the finance portfolio, since prime ministerial staff are not paid out of the appropriation under consideration here for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. It is the responsibility of the department of finance to operate the MOPS ministerial and parliamentary staff system.

The other matter is one that the member for Mackellar pursued, using inappropriate language and the word 'disgraceful' in relation to present negotiations with Malaysia, and asserting that I had not answered her earlier question about whether the Ombudsman would be reviewing each possible transfer under the yet-to-be-concluded arrangements with Malaysia. The question that she actually asked when she first stood up to ask about the Malaysia arrangement was in relation to whether or not the government would be making public details of the arrangement, not the question that the member for Mackellar now asserts that I have not answered. Again, it is a question that is better directed to— (Time expired)