Senate debates

Monday, 19 March 2012

Questions on Notice

Immigration and Citizenship: Staffing (Question No. 1431)

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration) Share this | | Hansard source

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, upon notice, on 9 November 2011:

In regard to the interim replacement of the secretary of the department, Mr Andrew Metcalfe, with Mr Martin Bowles:

(1) What is the usual process for replacing a departmental secretary when they take extended leave.

(2) Was this process followed in this instance; if not, why not and what process was followed.

(3) When did Mr Metcalfe first raise his intention to take extended leave, and who was this communicated to.

(4) When did Mr Metcalfe formally submit a leave application for annual leave, study leave and long service leave.

(5) When were these applications formally approved and by whom.

(6) How many days will Mr Metcalfe be taking as study leave and what is the approved course of study to be undertaken during this time.

(7) How many days will Mr Metcalfe be taking as annual leave.

(8) How many days will Mr Metcalfe be taking as long service leave.

(9) Was the position advertised; if so, where was it advertised and on what date, and can a copy of the advertisement be provided; if not, why was it not advertised.

(10) How many applications were received for the position.

(11) How many applications were received from within the department.

(12) Were applicants required to address selection criteria; if so, can a copy of the selection criteria be provided.

(13) How many applicants were interviewed for the position.

(14) Were any applicants interviewed more than once; if so, how many.

(15) Did Mr Bowles submit a formal application for the position.

(16) Did Mr Bowles address the selection criteria.

(17) Can a copy of the memo sent to departmental staff advising of the appointment of Mr Bowles to the position of acting secretary be provided.

(18) What experience does Mr Bowles have: (a) in the department; and (b) with immigration policy.

(19) Given Mr Bowles' appointment as special advisor to the department from 5 December 2011, prior to taking up the position as secretary from March 2012: (a) what will his duties be as special advisor; and (b) does the position of special advisor have a role description; if so, can a copy of the description be provided.

Photo of Kate LundyKate Lundy (ACT, Australian Labor Party, Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation) Share this | | Hansard source

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship has provided the following answers to the honourable senator's question

In line with the Prime Minister's determination on Secretaries remuneration and conditions of 30 June 2012, applications to take recreation and long service leave must be made to a secretary's minister. Mr Bowen has approved Mr Metcalfe's request for leave and supports his plans for further studies.

Arrangements for appointing acting Secretaries are a matter for the Prime Minister. Accordingly, advice was sought from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on 7 February 2012 in relation to this question.

I am advised that the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act) provides that the Prime Minister may appoint a person to act as the Secretary of a Department during any period when the Secretary is absent from duty. Following advice from the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Ian Watt AO, the Prime Minister agreed that Mr Martin Bowles PSM act as Secretary in Mr Metcalfe's absence. Dr Watt consulted the Public Service Commissioner, Mr Stephen Sedgwick, before recommending the acting appointment of Mr Bowles to the Prime Minister. He also canvassed the acting appointment with the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, the Hon Chris Bowen MP and Mr Metcalfe.

Mr Metcalfe will commence his leave in late March 2012 and return to duty on 1 October 2012. Apart from 9 days as study leave approved by the Prime Minister, approximately 40 days will be taken by Mr Metcalfe as recreation leave, and approximately 103 days will be long service leave. Mr Metcalfe has worked for the Australian Public Service since January 1980 and during that time he has accumulated substantial amounts of unused leave.

Management Circular 22/2011 was sent to staff of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship advising of the acting arrangements. A copy of the circular is attached.

Mr Bowles is currently undertaking a significant briefing program across the Department, including close involvement with Mr Metcalfe and Deputy Secretaries on all senior management issues, as well as being involved in major policy issues in his own right. There is no specific role description for the position of special advisor.



The management circular was sent to staff at 10am on 4 November 2011, and will provide sufficient background to this issue.

Management Circular 22/2011 (04/11/2011)—Acting secretary arrangements during 2012


I am writing to you today to provide details of my personal plans for 2012.

As you may recall, last year I was named the "Federal Government Leader of the Year" in the Leadership in Government Awards supported by the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia. The award included a substantial prize to be used for my continuing professional development. For some time now I have been looking for opportunities to pursue further study and to combine this with a period of recreation and long service leave, and this award will assist me to do this.

Following discussions between Dr Ian Watt (Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) and Stephen Sedgwick (Australian Public Service Commissioner) and myself, it has been agreed that I will be able to undertake further study overseas and access a period of several months leave commencing in late March 2012. Minister Bowen has approved my request for leave and supports my further studies.

Given the substantial time that I will spend overseas for my study and leave, it has been decided that Martin Bowles (Deputy Secretary, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) will transfer to the department to act as Secretary for that period of time. Prior to his current role Martin has served as a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Defence, and also in several senior positions in the New South Wales and Queensland State Governments.

In order to better familiarise himself with our work, Martin will transfer to our department from the beginning of December 2011 and undertake a significant briefing program across the department, including close involvement with the deputy secretaries and me in all senior management issues.

I look forward to Martin joining us in December, and I am sure that you will make him feel very welcome, and will no doubt enjoy working with him.


Andrew Metcalfe


A similar message was also sent to Commonwealth agency heads, and Department of Immigration and Citizenship stakeholders and advisory boards.

Cleared by:

Andrew Metcalfe


4 November 2011