Your questions relate to the establishment of Associate Secretary Capability position in the Department of Defence and to the “Review of the Defence Accountability Framework” (the Black Review).
The Black Review has been publicly available on the Defence website since it was released by the Minister on 9 August 2011:
The establishment of the Associate Secretary Capability position was not a recommendation of the Black Review.
The establishment of this position was recommended by the former Secretary of the Department of Defence Dr Ian Watt to enhance outcomes in capability, effect greater integration between the various stages and sections of Defence involved in and related to capability and to drive the capability reform process.
The position was announced by the Minister on 9 August 2011 in the context of the release of the Black Review.
As the Minister said on 9 August 2011, the then incoming Secretary of the Department of Defence, Mr Duncan Lewis, would be responsible for drawing to a conclusion a merit review selection process for this position.
The Prime Minister and the Minister announced on 3 May 2012 that, on the basis of advice from Secretary Lewis, and as a result of the appointment of Mr David Gould as the General Manager of Submarines in the Department of Defence, the position of Associate Secretary Capability will not be progressed.
That the position would not be progressed was advised in a major joint press statement by the Prime Minister and Minister on 3 May and commented on by the Minister in a press conference with the Prime Minister on the same day:
See statement at: http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2012/05/03/prime-minister-minister-for-defence-minister-for-defence-materiel-joint-media-release-next-stage-of-future-submarine-project-announced/
See transcript at: http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2012/05/03/prime-minister-minister-for-defence-minister-for-defence-materiel-joint-press-conference-canberra/
A Defence DEFGRAM, advising all Defence staff of the decision to not proceed with the position was also distributed by the Secretary on 3 May.
Questions from David Ellery received at 4.56 pm on Wednesday 9 May
An urgent query re the decision to axe the associate secretary capability position and replace it with a deputy secretary equivalent position (General Manager Submarines) in the DMO.
- I understand the decision followed strong opposition to the original Black Review recommendation - and the suggestion that an associate secretary from Customs be co-opted for the role from within the Defence Leadership Group. Was their opposition to the recommendation from Russell and was their opposition to Mr Pezzullo who has been named in previous reporting as the likely preferred candidate for the role.
- Can Defence/the Minister make public the rationale for such a dramatic rejigging of one of the key recommendations of a highly significant report that was welcomed by the Minister but has yet to be publicly released?
- Why was such a significant change to stated policy tacked on as a two liner at the bottom of a press release on a separate, but admittedly not totally unrelated, matter just before the Budget?
- Given a key recommendation of the report has now been sidelined is there any basis for continuing to keep its contents (and other recommendations and the reasoning behind them) a secret from the taxpayers who forked over their hard earned to fund this exercise?
- Can I have a copy of the report? Preferably in unredacted form.
This has just been drawn to my attention and I am planning to go to press tomorrow - a response by 6.30pm would be appreciated; otherwise we can't run the reaction with the story.