25 July 2023

Kathryn Campbell resigns from AUKUS job in wake of Robodebt report

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Kathryn Campbell

Kathryn Campbell in her capacity as a reserve Major General in the Army. Photo: ADF.

Kathryn Campbell, the beleaguered former Secretary of the Departments of Human Services and Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) under the previous LNP Government, has resigned from her AUKUS special advisor job.

Shortly after the Labor Government took power in July 2022, Ms Campbell – who is also a Major General in the Australian Army Reserve – was given the $900,000 per annum AUKUS role and retained her full DFAT remuneration and conditions, a move that has been roundly criticised.

She was subsequently the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism by the Royal Commission into Robodebt for the role she played as Secretary of the Department of Human Services during the peak of the Robodebt scandal.

READ ALSO Robodebt bureaucrat Kathryn Campbell stood down ‘involuntarily’ from $900k role

Following the handing down of the Royal Commission’s report in early July, Ms Campbell took a leave of absence, and it was subsequently reported she had been involuntarily stood down from the AUKUS job on 17 July.

The highly critical report said that during Ms Campbell’s time as head of the Department of Human Services, she was “responsible for a department that had established, implemented and maintained an unlawful program”.

In her findings, Commissioner Catherine Holmes added that Ms Campbell did “nothing of substance” when she became aware of the substantial issues regarding the income averaging process and its probable illegality.

In a brief statement on Monday (24 July), Defence simply said: “Defence can confirm it has accepted Ms Kathryn Campbell’s resignation from the Department with effect from Friday 21 July 2023. Defence will not provide further comment on this matter.”

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The best news all year. Good riddance to the most hated woman in Canberra.

All of the ministers and the secretary responsible for Robodebt belong in jail. That is what being responsible for a deliberate premeditated crime means, whether you’re a thug, drug dealer, public servant or politician.

A disgrace, should also remove public service medal.

Rob McGuigan1:29 pm 25 Jul 23

So an Army Officer reservist gets a plumb position in AUKUS as an adviser. Not a submariner, not a mechanical engineer, not even a RAN seagoing surface officer. What on earth would she know about submarines, let alone Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines? As an ex-submariner I find this an incredibly stupid and questionable decision. She also evidently did such a terrific job in Human Services as well….. NOT!

She didn’t get the AUKUS job as an Army Reserve Officer, she got it as a public servant. Just like many other APS employees in AUKUS-related and submarine-related jobs. This story inappropriately conflates her two separate roles – senior public servant, and senior Army Reserve officer.
That said, I now want to know (1) will she be required to hand back her AO, awarded in 2019 for “distinguished service to public administration through senior roles with government departments”; (2) will she be sacked from the Army due to demonstrating dishonesty, incompetence, and lack of integrity, albeit in the APS; (3) if not terminated from the Army, will she be allowed to undertake duties as an Army Reserve officer for Defence, even though she has resigned from that Department as an APS employee; and (4) will she lose her Australian Government security clearance due to dishonesty, lack of integrity, and illegal actions, as proven by the Royal Commission?

Stephen Saunders8:54 am 25 Jul 23

“On the one hand, Major General, we will accept with unbearable sadness your prompt resignation.”

“On the other hand, we’d have no choice but to restrict you to a much smaller broom cupboard and double the monthly supply of paper dolls you must cut out.”

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