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Extreme stupidity at the Department of Defence?

By 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.

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80 Responses to Extreme stupidity at the Department of Defence?
#1
ant9:20 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.

#2
wishuwell9:22 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.

#3
peterh9:31 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.

#4
wishuwell9:38 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.

#5
johnboy9:40 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.

#6
Tempestas9:42 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

#7
deezagood9:42 am, 26 Mar 09

Linking or leaking?

#8
johnboy9:43 am, 26 Mar 09

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

#9
johnboy9:48 am, 26 Mar 09

Leaking.

#10
peterh10:02 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.

#11
amarooresident210:16 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.

#12
sepi10:27 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.

#13
wishuwell10:34 am, 26 Mar 09

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

#14
Loose Brown10:45 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’.

#15
Ian11:09 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.

#16
peterh11:10 am, 26 Mar 09

every time that some moron in a department thinks that the public has a right to know, or that his superiors should have given him that promotion, even though he isn’t right for the job – lets punish them by releasing classified info, and remember, a report on a minister would be at least classified, more likely top secret, the perpetrator should be found, sacked and prosecuted.

#17
BerraBoy6811:12 am, 26 Mar 09

Lets not forget that Minister’s offices also have a record of leaking to get one over on their Departments.

“The ship of State is the only ship that leaks from the top down” Sir Humphrey Appleby.

#18
S4anta11:37 am, 26 Mar 09

BerraBoy68 said :

Lets not forget that Minister’s offices also have a record of leaking to get one over on their Departments.

“The ship of State is the only ship that leaks from the top down” Sir Humphrey Appleby.

Agreed. the chances of this coming from the area concerned are laughable.

#19
monomania12:48 pm, 26 Mar 09

If an Intelligence organisation believes that a Minister of the Crown represents a security risk which warrants investigation it should approach the Prime Minister for permission. Not to do so is treasonable and has the capacity to undermine our system of government.

Whoever authorised this should be dismissed.

#20
Spam Box1:15 pm, 26 Mar 09

An interesting side angle to all this is an article written by Glenn Milne a while ago. There’s talk around the political blogs that the leak is connected to that.

http://tiny.cc/ydykN

#21
wonsworld1:19 pm, 26 Mar 09

AT what point will the media start calling this Defence-Gate

#22
Mr Evil1:20 pm, 26 Mar 09

Oh well, he could always go and join those idiots in Airpower Australia if he gets the arse from job of Minister of Defence – considering he spent so much time listening to what Kopp, Goon and Criss had to say when he was in Opposition.

#23
caf1:23 pm, 26 Mar 09

Let’s not forget that the Australian Crime Commission was only last year found compiling a dossier on their Minister, too. (And these are only the ones that have leaked!)

#24
Skidbladnir1:39 pm, 26 Mar 09

RE: Ministers of the Crown and all the “Rabblerabblerabble. Off with his head!”, isn’t that the IGIS’s role for oversight, and only if there’s anything interesting, -then- go to the PM?

#25
AG Canberra1:43 pm, 26 Mar 09

Investigating the Minister’s friend – fair enough.
Snooping in his personal computer – poor form.
And for what? Were they hoping to find something so he’d get the arse?

This is one sure fire way to put the keepers of the purse strings offside….

#26
peterh2:06 pm, 26 Mar 09

AG Canberra said :

Investigating the Minister’s friend – fair enough.
Snooping in his personal computer – poor form.
And for what? Were they hoping to find something so he’d get the arse?

This is one sure fire way to put the keepers of the purse strings offside….

wait for the bleating after the security audit is completed…

#27
Emlyn Ward2:26 pm, 26 Mar 09

Tempestas said :

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.

This is a direct result of the SAS pay issue.

There are two ways of dealing with subordinates who fail to perform:
– sort them out
– bitch about them

Fitzgibbon chose to give press conferences bitching about “incompetence”.

So he’s been hoist with his own petard.

Frankly, his close personal and financial association with a Chinese government agent should disqualify him from even entering a government department let alone leading one.

#28
peterh2:29 pm, 26 Mar 09

Emlyn Ward said :

Tempestas said :

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.

This is a direct result of the SAS pay issue.

There are two ways of dealing with subordinates who fail to perform:
- sort them out
- bitch about them

Fitzgibbon chose to give press conferences bitching about “incompetence”.

So he’s been hoist with his own petard.

Frankly, his close personal and financial association with a Chinese government agent should disqualify him from even entering a government department let alone leading one.

whoa there. agent has not been confirmed. that is purely speculation. and now that it is out in the “open”, so to speak, what worth would she have anyway?

#29
caf2:38 pm, 26 Mar 09

Bahaha, “agent”.

Check extra carefully under the bed tonight, Emlyn!

#30
amarooresident22:58 pm, 26 Mar 09

Emlyn Ward said :

Tempestas said :

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.

This is a direct result of the SAS pay issue.

There are two ways of dealing with subordinates who fail to perform:
- sort them out
- bitch about them

Fitzgibbon chose to give press conferences bitching about “incompetence”.

So he’s been hoist with his own petard.

Frankly, his close personal and financial association with a Chinese government agent should disqualify him from even entering a government department let alone leading one.

Except the SAS issue came after the alledged spying.

And the poor petals in defence who got upset when their minister described them as incompetant (when they quite clearly are) should really harden the f**k up.

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