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Extreme stupidity at the Department of Defence?

By johnboy - 26 March 2009 80

The SMH reports that the Defence bureaucracy, not content with thieving from the frontline soldiery, has now leaked the contents of their security checking into their own Minister.

Even if they do manage to move him on (unlikely when the relationship in question is no secret) what sort of relationship do they think they’re going to have with a possible incoming Minister after playing a dirty trick like this?

The tea leaves are speaking to me about extra efficiency dividends in the Department of Defence’s future.

UPDATE: The Age has a bit on Fitzgibbon coming unstuck on undisclosed trips to China. Good luck to DoD if this does bring him down.

What’s Your opinion?


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80 Responses to
Extreme stupidity at the Department of Defence?
1
ant 9:20 am
26 Mar 09
#

I read this story on the SMH site last night, with considerable disgust. Fitzgibbon has done the right thing, from the point of view of the taxpayer, in holding the department to account.

Defence, as many know, is quite feral in the way it runs itself. Even its own rulers have trouble getting every area to behave, observe budgets and due process.

Fitzgibbon has come in and rolled his sleeves up and tried to run a broom through the place, with the predictable response, but I have to say Defence have gone too far this time, and I hope enough people see that.

There is a tradition of hanging ministers out to dry if they offend their departments too much… Vanstone’s first ministerial portfolio of DEETYA is a very good case of this, and in that case, she did deserve it.

This though is just wrong. If Defence gets away with this, then we might as well admit that they have carte blanche to do whatever they like, however they like and at whatever expense.

Fitzgibbon is our best hope of something changing with Defence, and it’s necessary.

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2
wishuwell 9:22 am
26 Mar 09
#

Cutting off the hand that feeds…..
Question is, would this happen if there was no major overseas deployment? (You need us more than we need you) I’m sure this is not isolated to Defence.

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3
peterh 9:31 am
26 Mar 09
#

rubbish. The DOD and the ONA are quite correct in investigating everyone. They do this to ensure that a potential threat is quashed quickly, should one arise.

Considering that this man is a senior minister in our government, in a relationship with a person who has links to the chinese government, it is better that defence is able to recognise this now. If a company that has links to the other person wins a major DOD or other Govt contract, the opposition will cry foul – claiming that it is favoritism. DOD have done the minister a favor. It probably wasn’t the intention, but it is a very valuable act nonetheless.

Defence are being asked now to do more with less. The projects that are currently being rolled out were signed a few years ago, or were negotiated over the last 12-18 months. They don’t have a great big pot of gold. They are managing to do a hard job with very little resources. gershon recognised the need to cut DOD spending, but the problem is that the cuts of contractors won’t gain the department much joy, especially when the need for skills that they have lost arises.

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4
wishuwell 9:38 am
26 Mar 09
#

peterh I agree with the bulk of what you say but to leak to the press that you had been secretly investigating your Minister does bring into question why it was done.

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5
johnboy 9:40 am
26 Mar 09
#

Peter next time you have an old man knee jerk to make why not keep it in your pants?

Or do it somewhere else?

The issue is not the investigation.

The issue is the leaking.

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6
Tempestas 9:42 am
26 Mar 09
#

peterh said :

rubbish. The DOD and the ONA are quite correct in investigating everyone. They do this to ensure that a potential threat is quashed quickly, should one arise.

Isn’t the point that this has been leaked, and therein lies the issue.

BTW Defence has not had to do with the efficiency dividend like every other agency and was guaranteed a 3% increase pa by past and current Governments. I’m sure many work hard at what they do, but the scale of the $ stuff-ups in the organisation cannot possibly do anything to help the “operational” personnel.

Lets be honest they can’t even get their pay right. It’s about time DOD stopped hiding behind “operational” reasons for administrative incompetence. It’s not actually helping anyone in the long term

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7
deezagood 9:42 am
26 Mar 09
#

Linking or leaking?

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8
johnboy 9:43 am
26 Mar 09
#

And let’s not confuse the defence bureaucracy with the ADF.

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9
johnboy 9:48 am
26 Mar 09
#

10
peterh 10:02 am
26 Mar 09
#

ok JB, still didn’t understand the knee jerk comment, but then, I am not as edumacted as some of the others on here. Leaking to attack a minister is nothing new. The departments have done it for years. Even ACT Govt has had its fair share.

What amused me about this one was that it has backfired for the department, by singling out the minister’s association with a person who has links to the chinese govt, they haven’t taught him a lesson at all.

They have torpedoed any chance that the opposition had to use this against the minister. It is now out in the open. It cannot be classed as new information.

Whoever did this leaking now must feel pretty silly, as it will turn the focus away from the minister and direct it at the department. The other departments must think that this is mana from heaven… and the auditors will be readying to just see what goes on in DOD.

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11
amarooresident2 10:16 am
26 Mar 09
#

If the article is true than this is NOT a routine check of the Ministers background and associations, it is an unauthorised intrusion into the Ministers affairs (including accessing his private office and computer) by people who have no business doing so.

I’d suggest that the leak isn’t about attacking the Minister at all. Someone has got wind of what’s going on and leaked it to the press which will give the Minister and the Government the excuse to investigate and clear out those elements in defence that are resisting the ministers attempts to reform the department.

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12
sepi 10:27 am
26 Mar 09
#

Ubelievable!!

Defence is a strange beast, and does have some issues, but i would have no idea how to go about fixing it. Many have tried, and moved on.

And as much as they are different, the ADF and the defence aps staff are in fact melded together as the department of defence.

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13
wishuwell 10:34 am
26 Mar 09
#

amaroo that is a very real possibility. It does have precedent.

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14
Loose Brown 10:45 am
26 Mar 09
#

It is no secret that many of the Defence heirarchy despise their minister.

Whoever leaked the info needs to be found and dismissed as an example to others.

These people are responsible for our front line troops and they can’t even sort out their pay.

I’m sure the junior staff at Defence are not happy with this kind of ‘leadership’.

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15
Ian 11:09 am
26 Mar 09
#

I wonder what has to happen at Defence for the likes of the Secretary and CDF to be held accountable for the various screwups. Its never someone’s fault things go wrong, its a systemic failure. Well at the end of the day someone at a very senior level is responsible for those systems, and should be held accountable for fixing them. If they can’t do it, get someone who can.

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