Decision on request to inquire into the appointment process for the Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau

11 April 2013

On 4 April 2013, the Auditor-General was asked to carry out an inquiry into the appointment process followed in 2011 for the Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

The Auditor-General does not intend to carry out an inquiry into this issue.

The Prime Minister has responsibility for this appointment. Unlike for chief executives of other government departments, the relevant legislation does not prescribe any particular process that has to be followed before making that appointment. The person appointed serves at the Prime Minister’s pleasure. As with many other ministerial appointments, the responsible Minister therefore has considerable discretion about how appointments are made. He or she is accountable to Parliament and the public in the usual way for those decisions.

The State Services Commission provided support to the Prime Minister in this appointment process. Although it appears that the process initially envisaged by the State Services Commission did not eventuate, we do not regard that as necessarily requiring investigation. It is relatively common for recruitment processes to adapt as they progress, depending on the applications received.

The Auditor-General considers that the questions raised about this appointment process can be adequately addressed through the normal processes of public and parliamentary accountability.