Foreign Minister Alexander Downer remained
“relaxed” despite being warned by AWB in the middle of last year about the
prospect of a UN investigation finding it paid kickbacks to Iraq, the
Cole inquiry was told yesterday.

We’ve
asked about mandarins who may have been too frank and full with the advice – a
characteristic unappreciated in Canberra these days – and this missive
arrived:

Andrew
Podger was unceremoniously not renewed (or sacked as) Secretary of Health after
some years. He was given a six month job to review and report on the Health
(financing) system before being left with no choice but to retire. The
report on his six months work on health was lodged with the PM (or his
Department) but has never seen the light of day.

He is
now an adjunct Professor at ANU public policy and maybe at Griffith Uni as well
as doing a review on bullying in Defence (where he was a Deputy Secretary).

I would
not be surprised if his recent Menzies Address (not widely reported) contained
one or two ideas from his review/report, if not his several years as Secretary
of Health and earlier days.

Any other names? Emails to [email protected].

Peter Fray

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