Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

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Get out! The way we do things in Tasmania. But not to FT

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Premier Lara Giddings. In the shadows, Deputy Premier Bryan Green

I was ordered from a job working within the Premier’s office for which I was highly qualified and which I was performing completely satisfactorily, at 11.20am on Monday, 24 January 2011. A few hours later I was told by email that I was to be out of my office that day.

The Premier wished to reward her personal connections and had no regard for loyal government employees.

I was told to seek employment in the private sector. When the Premier discovered that I was a public servant on secondment I was told to return to the Department of Health and Human Services where I was told no jobs were available.

I have a substantial skill set, having worked as a project officer and in administration and clerical roles in the public sector over a sixteen year period including almost 10 years in the office of the Premier.

With less than 24 hours notice I was removed from my position in the Premier’s office in order that I be replaced by a less qualified personal connection of the Premier.

The Premier remains in breach of my employment agreement and the Tasmanian government has not produced any of the documentation my legal team has sought.

After a very lengthy wait, instead of the Premier’s department reaching a resolution a process server came to my home with a letter from the DHHS Secretary Alice Burchill directing that I confirm and accept a job offer of the position of policy coordinator in the office of the chief psychiatrist and for me to report for duty on Wednesday, 7 September.

I had been directed to accept a position in DHHS for which I do not meet the critical selection criteria. This job belongs to someone who does meet the criteria.

Job offers ought not to be delivered by way of a process server, and without any discussion regarding suitable qualifications.

The government might not take qualifications seriously. I do. I do not believe public sector jobs should be used to make the personal and political problems of ministers go away. These positions are funded by taxpayers.

I am not the only one affected by this Government’s appalling attitude towards taxpayers’ money and public sector jobs.

Whilst awaiting a resolution it seems to me the Government was trying to force me into silence by ordering me to take a job for which I am not suitable, denying the position to people who are.

This is not a Government that has shown any regard for me or for the people they have sacked nor have they shown any regard for proper processes.

The Giddings Government is not a transparent Government.

It is no wonder the Premier’s popularity and the popularity of her government continues to plummet.

Within Ministerial offices this Government has sacked qualified experienced staff whilst giving jobs to less qualified people as personal favours.

The Integrity Commission is now investigating these matters.

*Martha Gellhorn is not the writer’s real name

First published: 2011-12-16 04:50 PM

Nigel Burch, in Comments: I am surprised that “Martha” was given over 5 hours to leave her desk. I was sacked from the Deputy Premier’s Office on the spot by a woman from the Premier’s Office (it wasn’t you was it Martha?). … I would be interested in talking to you and comparing notes. I do agree that every Premier’s Office seems to adopt the same bullyboy tactics, and never talks – only hits.

$1.1 MILLION HANDED TO FORESTRY TAS – NO QUESTIONS ASKED
Rushed Transport Subsidy Lacked Due Diligence

Kim Booth MP
Greens Forestry spokesperson

The Tasmanian Greens today said documents obtained through a Right to Information request revealed an alarming lack of due diligence behind the Forestry Minister Bryan Green’s decision to pay a $1.1 million transport subsidy to Forestry Tasmania in October this year.

Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that within only a few days of Forestry Tasmania making its funding request to the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, the Minister had rushed through the payment in full, apparently without asking any questions.

“What this shows is that Forestry Tasmania can simply thrust out its hand to demand more public money with the flimsiest of reasons, and the Minister will suddenly be falling over himself to find the money,” Mr Booth said.

“The Minister must reveal what due diligence, if any, was undertaken before he decided to drain $1.1 million from the public purse, because it appears from these documents that there was none.”

“We have a situation in Tasmania where the sick and infirm are literally queued up for hospital treatment, and Forestry Tasmania is still being allowed to reach into the public purse and take what it wants.”

“In this unseemly haste and lack of due diligence to provide this money, we also now learn that Forestry Tasmania has only used a part of the money that it had claimed was so desperately needed.”

“We also note that the Minister has also shelled out money to transport high value and minor species timbers to meet a supply shortfall at Britton Brothers sawmill in Smithton, which has nothing to do with Triabunna being shut.”

“If industry players cannot cover the costs of transporting these logs to either Bell Bay or the north-west, then the logs should not be getting cut down in the first place.”

“The Greens do not support this use of taxpayer money to keep on propping up patently unviable operation like Forestry Tasmania, particularly when the operation already has outstanding debts of $38 million at the end of the financial year which it hasn’t recouped.”

“Forestry Tasmania, by interfering in the Tasmanian timber market, have now driven the price of the product so low that they can’t even afford the diesel to carry the logs to the wharf, let alone return any money to the public purse through royalties for the timber.”

Download: Documents obtained under Right to Information:
Released_information_DIER_part_2_of_2_Aprin_letter_RTI_93_Kim_Booth_subsidies.PDF9Dec2011_FT_response.pdf
NB: TT couldn’t upload two of the documents. No doubt they will be available online at the Greens website: HERE
This MR is also published HERE: Don’t bother coming back after Christmas. Comment on FT is best made on this later article, HERE

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]
49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. Malcolm McNamara

    December 23, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Why won’t someone help this lady out. she has clearly been maltreated and deserves a proper hearing. I would love to hear more details of the whole saga. Can you give us more please Martha?

  2. ALF1

    December 23, 2011 at 6:15 am

    The Integrity Commissioner too was sacked. A simple Christmas truth.

  3. David

    December 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    #47 As Bazzabee so frequently says when someone uses the C word show us the evidence of the corruption. Or better yet take it to the Police if you don’t trust the State Police take it to the Federal police it’s that simple.

    But oh no each and every contributor just wants to snipe away from the sidelines this time it’s “Tas Inc …one big happy clique”. A clique dear Martha was privy to in fact at the very center for a decade. A decade during which time she kept so quite no one even knew she was there. A decade during which it seems nothing pricked her conscience and nothing disturbed her resting hours until that is she got the sack.

    And like a criminal who has been caught red handed first Martha finds her conscience and then she proclaims her innocence. Then she broadcasts her complainants to anyone who will listen enough is surely enough.

  4. john hayward

    December 21, 2011 at 10:19 am

    David, #46. Martha (pace the real Martha) is obviously someone who can tolerate heavy pollution, but that doesn’t mean Tas Inc is just one big happy clique.

    John Hayward

  5. David

    December 20, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Frankly this string is becoming a load of bollocks talk about non cronies etc this lady stayed eh course in the hottest office in Tasmania for ten years. Ten year in the top office is a life time. A life time during which the complainer must have learned to play the game with great skill and dexterity to have survived for so long.

    Clearly this woman whose name we all know is after revenge not reconciliation because if this was as she claims an industrial matter she would be taking her claims quietly and professionally supported by her union and the evidence to the Industrial Commission. She would not be going to the Integrity Commission a body that can not redress her claim for unfair dismissal. Am I the only one who smells a political set up here?

  6. Fed up

    December 19, 2011 at 11:18 am

    #26 has the right of it.

    While there are always two sides to every story, those who think Martha’s situation can or will be investigated or resolved by the integrity commission fail to understand that the infrastructure of accountability in this state is as incompetently and ineffectively run as everything else the government is involved with. This broken system essentially protects the guilty as they can get away with poor performance, incompetence and unprofessionalism, conflicts of interest and even ….

  7. Concerned Citizen

    December 19, 2011 at 11:14 am

    #martha I doubt we can rely too much on the Integrity Commission here. The lady who ran it resigned. Now we are hearing rumours she is ‘mad’. Who would say that about a highly respected ex (deputy) Police Commissioner. The government perhaps?

  8. Richard Powers

    December 19, 2011 at 11:10 am

    The Lady *Martha in her original statement said she raised some concerns about a political favour. It seems to me this was a catalyst for her sudden dismissal. Even Gough Whitam had more notice than this poor unfortunate woman. Surely Nigel Burch can help her out in this regard. He too has been a victim of this appalling behaviour.

  9. john hayward

    December 18, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Despite being on the edge of a political cliff, Lara still seems oblivious to the rudiments of both the law and basic morality.

    She doesn’t quite comprehend that her power wasn’t given to her for her personal use. Mercifully, she is surrounded by a government, an integrity commission, a judiciary and a journalistic culture that is similarly disabled.

    Martha’s old boyfriend also mulled over whom the bell tolls for. In Tassie’s case it tolls mainly for non-cronies, such as herself.

    John Hayward

  10. David Mohr

    December 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Squizzy #34
    In February 2007 the Mercury newspaper also reported that Bob Gordon, told Julian Green to ‘get lost’ when Green complained about the taskforce’s aggressive promotion of the pulp mill.
    A senior public servant told the paper that Bob Gordon told Julian Green that any complaints he had about the Pulp Mill taskforce’s actions would fall on deaf ears, since Premier Paul Lennon was one of his mates. `Go ahead,’ said Gordon, he’s my mate (the Premier) you know—he won’t do anything’.

  11. Former Labor Govt Staffer

    December 18, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    There would be many people who have read this post knowing perfectly well who “Martha” is, and the circumstances of her removal from the Premier’s Office. I would like to state what several of them would be thinking reading this for a bit of balance to the article and comments.

    The fact “Martha” was able to sustain her central role within the Premier’s Office for a decade and across three very different Premiers is a testament to her capacity to well and truly play the system she now condemns. An average length of tenure for most staffers in any political office, including the Office of the Tasmania Premier, would be a single term of government at most given the intensive nature of the work and regular changes in Ministerial responsibilities and personnel. The fact “Martha” was able to sustain her position into a fourth term of government is all the more remarkable when you consider it also involved two separate changes of Premier, Bacon to Lennon, and Lennon to Bartlett. With each new Premier inevitably comes a high turnover of staff, with Premiers bringing in their own people, meaning other people move on – this is the nature of working in a political office, it’s nothing personal, and staffers are remunerated well in recognition of this uncertainty and the constant threat of dramatic change.

    I know there was a very high turnover of staff when Jim Bacon resigned and Paul Lennon took over, partly because Lennon at the time was also Treasurer and needed advisers and staffers with different skills set to that of Bacon’s staff. While the office nearly entirely turned over during the next couple of years, “Martha” was able to maintain her closely guarded position throughout all the changes. A similar turnover occurred when Bartlett took over from Lennon and seemingly “Martha” was retained while many other capable individuals were asked to go back to departmental jobs, or asked to look for alternative employment to the public sector, depending on their employment conditions.

    I wonder how much thought “Martha” has given to the many people who have left the Premier’s Office, and other Ministerial offices, over the past decade, either voluntarily or involuntarily? Not much is my bet.

    The fact that when Lara Giddings took over as Premier she wanted to bring in her own people and “Martha” did not survive a third change in Premier, should not have come as a total surprise to her, and the grievances we read here are as much as case of sour grapes that a very long and no doubt rewarding trip on a rewarding train came to a sudden and abrupt end – I just think how lucky “Martha” is to have permanency in the public service meaning she is now being offered alternate positions at a time when so many other temporary public servants are being shown the door.

  12. Russell

    December 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Re #23
    “Let the Integrity Commission investigate. Let the legal process decide on “Martha’s” claims.”

    and #37
    “We should all calm down and wait for the appropriate industrial body to hear the case before pronouncing sentence of death on the premier or her office.”

    Again I ask, in which century?

  13. Carol Rea

    December 18, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I would love to see the documents Kim Booth got through FOI. Unfortunately they are nowhere to be seen. Perhaps after todays story in The Mercury they might surface. Financial accountability of the Forest Transition money ( I believe that is where it came from) needs to be displayed. This is a test case. Bryan and Lara are on notice here. Just like the Forestry Tasmania Strategic Review report by URS that was to have gone to Cabinet to discuss. Lara spoke about this 25 November. I wonder if it has been tabled yet or is gathering dust in the bottom drawer of Bryans office. Put this one on your list of reminders for the pollies when they get back from their hols!

  14. David

    December 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    We get to hear one side of what no doubt is a complex story and the usual suspects jump on board screaming unfair, unfair.

    I have no idea if this sacking was unfair, or unjust. It is up to the Tasmanian industrial commission to make such a determination. A determination needs to be made based upon the facts and not upon the uncontested statements of the aggrieved person.

    I assume that as this lady was working for a Labor government and as such she shared some if not all of its beliefs and principles and that would include being a member of the relevant trade union to which clearly she should take her case for wrongful dismissal.

    As to the industrial behaviour of this Premiers office or for that matter any ministerial office past or present like it or like it not they are different in both practice and fact from other offices within the public service. I for one would find it very surprising that a long time public servant would not know this when she/he accepts a transfer to such an office from a far more secure position with a government agency or department.

    Premier’s, deputy premier’s, ministers even the offices of backbench MPs are notoriously risky places to work. They are frequently fickle and employment is all to often based on the will and caprice of the ‘boss’ alone . Political jobs are tenuous at best with frequent comings and goings being commonplace even in the best run of offices. Frankly I would be surprised had this lady not known this as she says say worked for almost ten years in the Premier’s office during which time she would have seen many people come and go including several premiers and deputy premiers.

    I therefore suspect that there is more to this case than this than at first meets the eye. So lets all clam down and put our pet positions, long standing animosities and chronic conspiracy theories back in the box under the bed. We should all calm down and wait for the appropriate industrial body to hear the case before pronouncing sentence of death on the premier or her office.

    And no – I don’t and never have worked for this or any Premier in any paid position although in the past I have worked in federal parliamentary offices so I do know what I’m talking about unlike some.

  15. David Obendorf

    December 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Squizzy [comment #35] that is precisely how the upper echelons of Tasmanian public service work!

    Those selected to take up ‘gatekeeping’ positions in GBEs and Government Departments know they are in effect political appointments and as you correctly highlight they ‘know a lot’.

    Of course if they became whistleblowers on their respective ‘pack of cards’, these games of deception and smoke & mirrors would be over. But as you know that never happens in Taz-mania because money rules! The resigned inaurgural Tasmanian Integrity Commission CEO perhaps has some first-hand awareness of this.

    Squizzy, you suggest: “smart people dont go arousing animals that can bite them.”

    I would phrase it somewhat differently: People in Tasmania’s high places know how to feed off others lower on the food-chain and only cannabalise the weaker ones amongst their own species.

    Welcome to Taz-mania!

  16. Roislyn Latimer

    December 18, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Whoever perpertrated this disgraceful treatment of this lady should hang their head in shame.

  17. squizzy

    December 17, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Re FT, i have long wondered about the extraordinary good fortune of FT managing director.

    How he is untouchable, never feeling the brunt of government and opposition criticism and seemingly always able to have FT’s needs met by government.

    But then smart people dont go arousing animals that can bite them.

    I can only guess that FT MD must know a lot.

  18. Steve

    December 17, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    2000 – 2010. Interesting times to have been employed in the Premiers office!
    We can’t expect “Martha” to reveal all, everyone has their future to consider, but I sincerely hope that “Martha” and Nigel sit down together to compare notes.

  19. Russell

    December 17, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Re #4
    In which century?

  20. russell

    December 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Rotten pollies have compromised public administration and integrity in this state. I hope the libs have learned by this and not perpetuate a similar folly. They may not be dealt with as gently as what labor is getting away with. Does the OSSC have absolutely NO role to play anymore? The ossc should be taking care of these compromised arrangements as well as doing the work the ict is supposed to be doing. What happened to the ossc? Who was responsible for nobbling their capacity to do their statutory duty, as is required by law?

  21. David Obendorf

    December 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Mr Booth’s comment: “What this shows is that Forestry Tasmania can simply thrust out its hand to demand more public money with the flimsiest of reasons, and the Minister will suddenly be falling over himself to find the money,” is not percular to the antics of Forestry Tasmania!

    If the Tasmanian Greens had taken the time and effort to investigate other arms of State Government, they would realise that this sort of thing is par for the course!

    Another example of bottomless-pit money that has gone un-sniffed by the Tasmanian Greens is the Fox Eradication Program appropriations over 10 years!

    What the heck…it’s only taxpayer’s money!

    Welcome to Taz-mania – Exploit the Opportunities!

  22. Luca Vanzino

    December 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Ben @ # 21.

    Thanks cobber…I didn’t miss the conclusion…it is just that I was a bit circumspect to say what you did due to the TT site rules

  23. Martha

    December 17, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Dear Nigel. I was indeed sacked for standing up for others, as the sacking commenced in November 2010, but the full story has yet to come out and no, I am not the one who sacked you. I was sacked less than 24 hours after raising concerns about one of the special favours bestowed by a member of parliament. Kind regards Martha

  24. The Torch

    December 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    It looks as though this premie’rs office is as questionable as all the rest in the last decade. Call an election now!.
    ‘The Torch’

  25. Margaretta Pos

    December 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    A point overlooked in this discourse is the role of Alice Burchill. I encourage readers to check out Alice Burchill (in Tasmania) and Alice Casey (as she was in the UK). You will find – or be reminded – that she and David Roberts, the former DHHS Secretary with whom she worked in both Tasmania and the UK, have an interesting history when it comes to terminations and appointments …
    http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php/category-article/76

  26. Nigel Burch

    December 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I am surprised that “Martha” was given over 5 hours to leave her desk. I was sacked from the Deputy Premier’s Office on the spot by a woman from the Premier’s Office (it wasn’t you was it Martha?). No warning and had to clear my desk immediately. As I recall the woman from the Premier’s Office took great pleasure in doing so. If you were in the Premier’s Office for 10 years, Martha, then you were there at the time – did you show me the sympathy that you now ask for from others?

    Perhaps, “Martha”, you were a decent and useful person as you say, but were scared to lose your job if you stood up for anyone else. If so, it is a pity that people like you don’t have more courage to stand up for what is right when you are in a position of power and able to do something. The real Martha did.

    I would be interested in talking to you and comparing notes. I do agree that every Premier’s Office seems to adopt the same bullyboy tactics, and never talks – only hits. But were you any different? You weren’t sacked for standing up for others, or speaking out, after all. You didn’t talk to me then. Will you talk to me now?

  27. Barnaby Drake

    December 16, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Pity we can’t do the same with the pollies. Notice by 11.20 am – OUT by 5.00!

    If they need help with the emails, I could offer my services – FREE!

  28. You Can't Fool All the People

    December 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    There are two sides to every story and TT readers should be aware that “Martha” is only giving one side and it is distorted and unfair.

    Like many others who don’t like the way they have been treated and are unable to see that they have contributed to their own demise, she appeals to the gullibility of others with her claims that it is all someone else’s fault.

    She claims the moral high ground when if the facts were known – and they won’t be because they have been censored here – TT readers would know she is not entitled to it.

    Nepotism and implied corruption have nothing to do with “Martha’s” case.

    How about taking such claims with a dose of salt, instead of lapping up every untested allegation and bit of gossip from those who clearly have their own barrow to push?

    Let the Integrity Commission investigate. Let the legal process decide on “Martha’s” claims. But I bet that when they are found to be baseless the usual conspiracy theorists won’t accept the umpire’s verdict anyway. They’ll argue that if the independent anti-corruption people can’t find corruption it must be because they’re corrupt. And thus Tasmania cannibalises itself…

    ——
    Editor’s note: The comment has been edited to comply with the code and keep it on topic. A previous comment by the same author was deleted, not because of the point of view expressed, but because it didn’t comply with the TT code provisions relating to legal risks.

  29. Arnold Magnaught

    December 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    #3, With that strategic misspelling of Murray’s surname, I’m not entirely sure you meant the Chief Commissioner or someone else at the TIC! But then Murray’s mates in the Tas Supreme Court are no doubt a law unto themselves …

  30. Ben

    December 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Very good point Luca Vanzino, but you’ve missed the obvious conclusion.

    If “Martha” was working in the Premier’s office for the last 10 years, I have to wonder why it is only now that she complains about the Giddings Government’s lack of transparency and proper process.

    What about the Bartlett, Lennon and Bacon Government’s lack of transparency and proper process?

    Oh, that’s right, those Premiers didn’t ask “Martha” to return to her actual job in DHHS.

    This article is nothing more than a long-winded and totally hypocritical whinge from a person who obviously has an axe to grind.

    Grinding the axe is fair enough, we all do it from time to time, but to complain about transparency and percieved lack of process in 2011 after working in the same office since 2001 does suggest a very selective application of morals … something along the lines of “its okay to do what you want Mr Premier as long as I can keep my job in your office, but if Ms Premier tries to send me back where I came from I will grow a conscience and shout the house down.”

  31. Barnaby Drake

    December 16, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    “Lazy public servants who refuse to work harder can finally be sacked under proposed changes to the State Service Act. …

    Incompetent seems to be fine in the public service, but laziness will not be tolerated.

    Does this apply to the upper echelons too? How about starting at the top and working down. There are few senior MP’s and Ministers I could think of who might qualify! I wanted to ask some questions myself, but it seems all the ones I need to contact are on an extended holiday.

  32. You Can't Fool All the People

    December 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Editor’s note: comment deleted for legal reasons. Please see “Some legal red flags” section in the TT code http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php/pages/legalbits

  33. Pilko

    December 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    #13 Dave. Lawyer Vanessa Bleyer on behalf Friends of the Tamar Valley submitted a complaint to the Integrity Commission which included a complaint on the issues you raised (I have a copy of the complaint submitted).
    I cant speak for Vanessa or FTV but i’ve heard nothing since about the success/failure of the complaint.
    Based on the public comments by the Integrity Commissioner regarding complaints in the TIC’s first year i can only assume the TIC rejected the complaints. If this is the case i would be very interested to know why the complaints were rejected.
    As you say Dave, the legislative councils committee looking into executive govt appts. heard evidence from a number of witnesses who directly contradicted Mr Lennon’s version of a number of events surrounding Gunns withdrawal from the RPDC. The committee’s interim report is a compelling read. Perhaps the TIC accidentally overlooked that particular document.

  34. John Biggs

    December 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I have just googled Martha Gellhorn. A thoroughly admirable journalist who was one of the first to write about Dachau; she covered the Vietnam War, the Six-Day War in the Middle East and the civil wars in Central America. Aged 81, she travelled impromptu to Panama, where she wrote on the U.S. invasion. A gutsy female, strongly disliked by authoritarian, secretive governments. Good choice “Martha”.

  35. John Biggs

    December 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    “Martha’s” treatment seems outrageous, deeply unethical if not illegal. #4 JohnBoy appears to make a reasonable point — except for two things: the fact that the Govt has not responded in any way that might show some transparency is in fact part of “Martha’s” point; and second, the Integrity Commission could well be part of the problem. We’ll see. But what are you saying JohnBoy, that “Martha” has no right to go public on the way she, and qualified others, have been treated?

  36. George Moffat

    December 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I question whether Martha Gellhorn’s article here is all part of an orchestrated attempt to undermine Giddings in preparation for installing David O’Byrne as Premier. Martha’s article’s appearance right now seems a bit too coincidentally timed.

    Would Martha perhaps indicate whether she might possibly be a member of the Labor Party or the Greens?

    Tas Times readership has the reputation of being a lot more circumspect regarding what it has been presented with.

  37. Christine Vermay

    December 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Disgraceful! This woman has been treated in the most dreadful fashion!
    Christine Vermay

  38. David Mohr

    December 16, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Being in the Premier’s office for so long I wonder if Martha knows whether Paul Lennon knew that Gunns Ltd would withdraw from the RPDC process on March 14th 2007? Was the PMAA already being drafted before the withdrawal?
    Paul Lennon made statements to parliament that he learned of Gunns’ decision to withdraw from the RPDC at 1pm on March 14 2007. Simon Cooper later told an Upper House committee this was untrue.
    He said Lennon telephoned him on March 12 — two days before the pull-out — to tell him Gunns was going to quit the RPDC.
    This should be investigated by the Integrity Commission. Those who work/have worked in the Premier’s office would surely know if there was collusion between Gunns Ltd and the Government

  39. Graham Robards

    December 16, 2011 at 10:22 am

    When people are in their death throws others need to look out for the flying knives.

    It comes to all public servants who have risen to ‘positions’ in the inner sanctum of Tasmania’s elite one way or another.

    Another issue now buried inside the mysterious workings of the Tasmanian Integrity Commissions.

  40. Dave Groves

    December 16, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I have no faith in government whatsoever.

    They couldn’t organise a chook raffle in a henhouse.

    They seem to encourage a very twisted mindset reminiscent of the days of the wild west and have employed an apparently hamstrung integrity commission to allow them some unearthly guidance through the maze of self created shemozzle.

    Things will not get better by magic.

  41. Luca Vanzino

    December 16, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Martha Gellhorn writes:

    “I have a substantial skill set, having worked as a project officer and in administration and clerical roles in the public sector over a sixteen year period including almost 10 years in the office of the Premier.”

    This would therefore include the tenure of Bartlett, Lennon and Bacon.

    Would Martha care to comment on the situation in the Premiers Office – pre Giddings?

    Tasmania where the Public Servants are appointed on the MERIT principle.

    Mates Employed Regardless of Intellect or Talent.

  42. Leonard Colquhoun

    December 16, 2011 at 12:50 am

    The claim is that “this government sacks qualified people” – how would it know?

  43. Sam Betts

    December 16, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Don’t know why she has changed her name, wasn’t the story in the Mercury a few weeks after Giddings got in. Anyway if she wasn’t appointed to a permanent position in DPAC, but was only on secondment then sorry, but once those terms are up, you have to go back the agency you came from, which in this case is Health. Being 10 years in the public service ,she should know this. There are no “squatting rules” in the service which states if you sit on a job, then its forever yours, you must be appointed. She wasn’t, so back you go.

  44. Karl Stevens

    December 16, 2011 at 12:28 am

    mark barron. I think you will find Lara was never elected as Premier of Tasmania, she simply replaced David Bartlett who just disappeared one day. Her entourage of supporters would be people within the Tas Labor party who support her particular faction.
    A faction devoid of any real philosophy who rely entirely on spin. The setting-up of the Tasmanian Integrity Commission is a good example of how they think. All show, no substance.

  45. Garry Stannus

    December 15, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Reading this brought to mind the recent changes to terms of employment in the Public Service, which were introduced by this Premier. The papers headlined it along the lines of ‘lazy workers will now face the sack’. However it seemed to have been a confused response to our forecast budgetary situation, not well articulated, and mixing things up. Wish I could remember it better. Something about reducing the amount of time previously required before a person could be sacked if no suitable (transfer) position could be found.

    Anyway, “Martha Gellhorn’s” case recalled that to my mind and I wondered was it possible that such a legislative change could have been dreamt up to expedite “Gellhorn’s” removal? Probably not, maybe I was over-exposed to ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes PM’. In any case, that was fiction, and it was set in GB, wouldn’t happen here, would it?

    Here … I just did a google … [www.examiner.com.au/news/…lazy-public-servants/2176462.aspx] and found the Examiner 27 May 2011 –
    ‘”Lazy public servants who refuse to work harder can finally be sacked under proposed changes to the State Service Act. … firefighter, every child protection worker in Tasmania, is now effectively on six months notice,” he said. …’

    I wish “Martha Gellhorn” good luck with the Integrity Commission. Has there been any one who has got satisfaction from it? And I wish her goodluck in finding a suitable position.

  46. JohnBoy

    December 15, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Perhaps we should wait until the Integrity commission brings down it’s findings before people comment on a one sided assertion. On a lighter side if her name really was Martha Gellhorn I wouldn’t be surprised that she got moved sideways.

  47. Simon Warriner

    December 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Whilst past performance is no guarantee of future results it is generally a useful indicator. Don’t expect much from Murray Kellan’s mob any time soon.


    Editor’s note: edited for legal reasons

  48. mark barron

    December 15, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Sad that the electoral process requires such a circle of supporters in order to improve one’s chances of winning. Might perhaps campaigning be limited to the internet, formal campaigning areas within newspapers/radio and also perhaps phone info lines? Then major parties would be less able to drown out what minor parties and independents are saying.

  49. Tom Nilsson

    December 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Unfortunately no one will be surprised by this story. Throughout the last nearly 14 years of this government nepotism has been a feature.

    Calling in an external administrator for Tasmania might be the best solution, but it can’t happen. So O’Byrne taking over might create a small amount of positive change, he is probably the best of a bad lot.

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