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Allan Asher hanging up the boots

By johnboy 20 October 2011 27

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the Commonwealth Ombudsman is in the process of resigning over his ill advised estimates collusion with Greens’ Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Emails released last week showed he had written questions for the Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young about the conditions inside immigration detention centres and the lack of funding that prevented his office from performing its immigration overwatch role.

Senator Hanson-Young then asked Mr Asher those scripted questions when he appeared before a Senate estimates committee in May.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said this morning that Mr Asher was yet to explain his actions adequately.

It’s a great shame he appears to have over-reached himself this way having had some useful things to say about public administration.

UPDATE: And the resignation is official.

‘It is with sadness that I made the decision to tender my resignation,’ Mr Asher said, ‘but I have done so because I recognise that the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s enduring strength lies in community confidence in its integrity.

‘I have always acted in the interest of those I have served and to bring about meaningful, broad ranging and long-term reforms to public administration. However, I accept that my actions prior to the May 2011 Budget Estimates hearing caused many in the community and the Parliament to call into question the impartiality of my office.

‘I regret deeply that my office’s reputation may have been damaged by my actions and apologise sincerely to my staff and to our clients. However, I do hope that some good will come of this incident by way of public discussion and debate about future funding and an appropriate accountability mechanism for the Commonwealth Ombudsman,’ he said.

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Allan Asher hanging up the boots
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Diggety 12:44 am 22 Oct 11

Thoroughly Smashed said :

poetix said :

I think Thoroughly Smashed was correcting your expression. It’s free rein, not reign. Free rein as in a horse, not as in a royal gone mad.

Actually, I wasn’t! Interestingly the “incorrect” form outnumbers the original form on google by 2:1. Ahh, the evolution of language…

No, I was amused by the notion that the prerequisite for forseeing Australia’s imminent destruction at the hands of the Greens is a severe brain injury.

Imminent destruction? No. Significant loss of life? Yes.

If you don’t believe me or understand, I’ll gladly answer!

http://greens.org.au/policies/climate-change-and-energy/climate-change-and-energy
http://greens.org.au/policies/climate-change-and-energy/nuclear

poetix 4:30 pm 21 Oct 11

Thoroughly Smashed said :

poetix said :

I think Thoroughly Smashed was correcting your expression. It’s free rein, not reign. Free rein as in a horse, not as in a royal gone mad.

Actually, I wasn’t! Interestingly the “incorrect” form outnumbers the original form on google by 2:1. Ahh, the evolution of language…

No, I was amused by the notion that the prerequisite for forseeing Australia’s imminent destruction at the hands of the Greens is a severe brain injury.

Apologies for projecting my pedantry onto you. But the day I modify my English based on Google stats will be the day it rains champagne!

Diggety 3:52 pm 21 Oct 11

poetix said :

Diggety said :

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Diggety said :

I can’t believe the free reign the Greens are given.

Anyone with half a brain could tell you their policies would bring this nation to its knees- a bit more scrutiny is needed please.

Free reign?

Yeah, those ten MPs are running roughshod right over federal parliament.

Perhaps I should explain my comment a little better.

I meant “free reign” of the media (particularly Tony Jones, etc.). Greens policies aren’t as heavily scrutinized as the Liberal or Labor, this makes sense of course because the media never expected their policies to be implemented.

Now, we have a situation where they are indeed being adopted by the minority Government (or at least partially), and those policies had never undergone the type of heavy scrutiny typical in a run up to a federal election.

Dumb ideas have flown under the radar.

I think Thoroughly Smashed was correcting your expression. It’s free rein, not reign. Free rein as in a horse, not as in a royal gone mad.

What a waste of time.

Thoroughly Smashed 3:47 pm 21 Oct 11

poetix said :

I think Thoroughly Smashed was correcting your expression. It’s free rein, not reign. Free rein as in a horse, not as in a royal gone mad.

Actually, I wasn’t! Interestingly the “incorrect” form outnumbers the original form on google by 2:1. Ahh, the evolution of language…

No, I was amused by the notion that the prerequisite for forseeing Australia’s imminent destruction at the hands of the Greens is a severe brain injury.

poetix 3:33 pm 21 Oct 11

Diggety said :

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Diggety said :

I can’t believe the free reign the Greens are given.

Anyone with half a brain could tell you their policies would bring this nation to its knees- a bit more scrutiny is needed please.

Free reign?

Yeah, those ten MPs are running roughshod right over federal parliament.

Perhaps I should explain my comment a little better.

I meant “free reign” of the media (particularly Tony Jones, etc.). Greens policies aren’t as heavily scrutinized as the Liberal or Labor, this makes sense of course because the media never expected their policies to be implemented.

Now, we have a situation where they are indeed being adopted by the minority Government (or at least partially), and those policies had never undergone the type of heavy scrutiny typical in a run up to a federal election.

Dumb ideas have flown under the radar.

I think Thoroughly Smashed was correcting your expression. It’s free rein, not reign. Free rein as in a horse, not as in a royal gone mad.

Holden Caulfield 3:19 pm 21 Oct 11

Grail said :

Annual reports, messages to ministers, what does the office need to do in order to get the funding required to perform the role it is intended to perform?

Well, he failed at being an independent Ombudsman, but if he was an independent MP, well, he’d probably get his funding!

Grail 2:10 pm 21 Oct 11

breda said :

2. It was not a ‘minor indiscretion’ for the Ombudsman to secretly cook up questions with a senator to run his own agendas before an Estimates Committee. Otherwise, why did he resign?

OF COURSE HE’S GUILTY? WHY ELSE WOULD HE BE ON TRIAL?

Political pressure due to someone embarrassing you is not equivalent to something you did being a “fall on your sword” situation.

breda said :

3. The Ombudsman is not a public servant, but a statutory officer. Since his first priority is to be seen to be independent and impartial and to have the highest integrity, his sin was particularly heinous.

What recourse does he have when his consistent cries of not having enough funding to do the job go unheeded? http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/pages/publications-and-media/reports/annual/ar2009-10/chapter4.html#financialmanagement

Annual reports, messages to ministers, what does the office need to do in order to get the funding required to perform the role it is intended to perform?

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