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Burton misfires on Defence appointment process

Max Bradford National Defence Spokesperson

11 October 2001

Burton misfires on Defence appointment process

The Government's decision to radically change the way Defence Force heads are appointed is not the right way to go, National's Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

Mr Bradford was commenting on changes announced today by Defence Minister Mark Burton under which, for all intents and purposes, the appointment panel formed by the State Services Commissioner would make a recommendation to Government on the appointment of the Chief of the Defence Force and the three service heads. Cabinet would make the final decision.

"Decisions on the appointment of subsidiary heads within a department are normally made by a department's chief executive, not the Government.

"In any case, the Defence Force is an unique organisation with an important set of responsibilities for the defence of our country. This alone sets it apart from other public sector departments and should be reflected in the way the Chief of the Defence Force and the service heads are appointed.

"For the right appointments to be made, there needs to be appropriate military representation, whether in service or recently retired, and others with the appropriate expertise to assess the applicants.

"The Minister's proposals as announced today, are vague and unstructured. On the face of it, this appointment process could simply be a case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

"The Minister of Defence seems incapable of giving proposals or answers which allow proper consideration by interested parties, characterising his stewardship of the defence portfolio," Mr Bradford said.


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