In the flurry before the election was called on Sunday and the government entered caretaker mode, ministers rushed to make appointments to government positions. Many are worthy appointments, or re-appointments, and there were also several jobs for the boys/girls.
More than 100 government appointments were made in the lead-up to the election. Just last week alone, there were three Human Rights Commissioners appointed, four federal court roles, a new Reserve Bank governor in Philip Lowe, a new Reserve Bank board member in Ian Harper (of the Harper review), new members to the National Museum council, new members to the National Maritime Museum council, new members to the Australia Post board, new members to the classification board, and several new ambassadors (something Labor could undo if it wins, following the precedent set by the Abbott government).
Dozens of emails were sent out by the government in the last hours of Friday listing positions to be filled. In a single press release, Brandis announced 76 appointments or re-appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
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- Denis Dragovic — appointed to the AAT full time for seven years after losing a battle for Liberal Party preselection to Tim Wilson in the seat of Goldstein;
- Judith Troeth — former Liberal senator, appointed to the AAT for five years, part time;
- Theodore Tavoularis — a former in-house counsel to the Freemasons, appointed to the AAT for five years, full time;
- John Sosso — former director-general of the Justice and Attorney-General’s Department in Queensland, appointed by Campbell Newman and sacked by Labor, part time on the AAT board for seven years;
- Saxon Rice — former Queensland LNP MP ousted in the last Queensland election by Labor’s Stephen Miles. Appointed to the AAT part time for seven years;
- Ann Brandon-Baker — former chief of staff to Treasurer Scott Morrison when he was immigration minister. Appointed to the AAT part time for five years;
- Louise Bygrave — former staffer for Tim Wilson when he was Human Rights Commissioner. Appointed to the AAT part time for five years;
- Michael Manetta — unsuccessfully ran for South Australian Parliament as a Liberal last year. Appointed to the AAT part time for five years; and
- Adrienne Millbank — has called for Australia to ditch the UN convention on refugees. AAT appointment for five years, part time.
Aside from those, there were also several appointments in the Communications and Arts sector. There were 18 reappointments to the boards and councils of various institutions, including SBS and Creative Partnerships Australia. Fifield also appointed Michael Ronaldson, ex-Senator for Victoria who retired to make way for James Paterson, to the Australia Post board as a non-executive director for three years.
Treasurer Scott Morrison appointed four people to the Australian Competition Tribunal, with two reappointments. Productivity Commissioner Karen Chester — interviewed by Crikey last week for the release of the IP report — was appointed deputy chair of the commission, and Commissioner Jonathan Coppel was re-appointed for five years.
Justice John Middleton has been appointed as a part-time president of the Australian Competition Tribunal, while Justices Andrew Greenwood, David Yates, and Alan Robertson have been appointed as part-time vice presidents.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash appointed Lyndall Dean to the Fair Work Commission yesterday.
To its credit, the government did re-appoint several Labor appointees, including John Stanhope (not to be confused with former ACT chief minister Jon Stanhope) to the Australia Post board and Catharine Lumby to the Council of the National Museum of Australia.