PRESSURE MOUNTS: Baillieu slammed over "disgraceful" ministerial staff vetoes

vetoThe bizarre situation where Victorian ministers of the Crown are entrusted with running multi-billion dollar portfolios but not able to select their own private office staff is on the verge of creating instability in the new Baillieu government.

One minister – the highly regarded and ambitious Michael O’Brien – is understood still not to have a Chief of Staff despite nominating no fewer than five people for the role, including the deputy federal director of the Liberal party, Julian Sheezel.

Many are blaming Baillieu Chief of Staff Michael Kapel for the “disgraceful overzealousness” of the Star Chamber as one critic put it but he is clearly obeying orders from his boss.

So O’Brien is the Minister for Gaming (including the hotly sensitive area of pokies), Consumer Affairs (a potentially high profile gig if it’s used properly) and probably most critically Energy & Resources. Each of them enormous responsibilities, certainly politically delicate ones.

As capable as O’Brien is, the man needs staff. So too does Matthew Guy, the Minister for Planning apparently also labouring without a full complement of staff (although patriots point out he has had a COS since December 3rd) and he’s not alone in that, with many ministers unable to get their staff approved for hire, even appointments few ever thought would be controversial. Some Liberals wonder whether it could be that these two prospective leaders are being nobbled by the current one?

Instead, O’Brien is encountering what some Liberals describe as a Rudd-esque level of meddling and interference.

That’s not even true, we know of no purported veto exercised by Kevin Rudd against any prospective ministerial staff. He wasn’t that petty, even though he knocked off a prospective DFAT appointee as Ambassador to Germany for dissing him back at ANU.

It’s nearly March. The government was elected to ‘fix the problems, build the future’. A slogan that promises much. The good people of Victoria will cut Baillieu plenty of slack. But if they cannot appoint ministerial staff in three months, then we think they’ll struggle to keep both developers and NIMBY residents satisfied, electricity prices down, train services punctual and safe, Police from complaining, teachers from striking, the dodgy Ombudsman from defaming and speeding motorists from being angry about getting fines in the mail.

If you snooze, you lose.

As ever, VEXNEWS thanks its small army of fact-checkers, from all walks of life.



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29 responses to “PRESSURE MOUNTS: Baillieu slammed over "disgraceful" ministerial staff vetoes

  1. Captain (Retired) Adrian Jackson, ASM (SE Asia), DFSM & Clasp, ADM

    We saw what some of Sleezel’s staff at Liberal HQ were doing so why wouldn’t Big Ted be cautious about employing potential quislings or rival factional hacks who are their to destroy rather that work for the government and the state.

    That said the whole matter of career public servants in some area being replaced with party hack, minders and advisor, many of who are just out of nappies, is a costly duplication of the PS. This problem started with both major parties about 3 decades ago

  2. Anonymous

    Ted is a Stalinist at heart. Micro-management and total autocratic control is his game. This is just one example of his totalitarianism.

  3. Anonymous

    water minister Walsh only has one staff member
    Dalla River the man with no portfolio responsibility also has no staFF
    Ryan has a full compliment
    Kim Wells wants them to work on electorate officers wages so no one is interested

  4. RDR

    Wrong I have responsibility for ‘driving’ home young ladies to their abodes.

  5. Fatinga

    I am looking for young lad who is willing and able to be my PA.

  6. Victorian hayseed anarchy

    C’mon Andrew

    we already have a lazy millionaire as Premier…the effect of this is too much power for a bunch of hayseeds and liberal bayside throw backs.

    Your want them to go down the path of brumby a bunch of no nothings based on the old school tie?

    Perhaps you are a recycled left wing trot after young Paul want to increase the contradictions of a leftwing liberal Premier with a bunch of rightwing Ministers….let the feral ministers hire the tender young boys of their choice…a case of give em enough rope.

  7. Evil Bastard

    how about a list of the staffers in each office so far?

  8. Rampant

    If I was O’Brien, I’d walk.

    Not because of competency (in fact MOB is one of most competent MPs you could find), but because of a relationship with Ted that has no trust.

    Better to sit back and let the current arrangements implode.

  9. blackmambo

    How much does a COS get paid? How much does a media minder get paid?

  10. Jeez-Chill-u-lot

    Wy karnt eny of youse spel good?

  11. Underpaid

    @blackmambo: A COS is around $120k (not sure if inclusive of car and super) media minder goes from $65K – $100K.
    For jobs that are 24/7 these salaries go no where near to compensating the time away from family and having a life

  12. Top Shelf Tony

    Given that Sheezel oversaw nothing but lost polls when he was State Director, it’s hardly unreasonable to not want him infecting the rest of the government.

  13. to Top Shelf Tony

    Poggioli lost an incumbent gov as State Director but has been rewarded a COS with Asher. Let Sheezel be MO’B’s COS!!

  14. Sir cum

    Labor took staff recruitment to an all time high filling departments with union lacky’s and second class journo’s. Better to get the right person in the first place rather than end up with the dickheads that Batchelor and Kosky had advising them.

  15. Shambles

    What they need down in Victoria are some respected political strategists.

    People who are respected as I am.

    Just look at what I’ve done for the NSW division.

    No wonder I’m so respected. Just ask Alan Jones.

  16. Micky D

    So who would be stupid enough to work for the Medieval Liberal Party. The Libs cannot get any takers so there are empty chairs throughout their offices. Pity that the chair sniffers want to get to work.

  17. Not joking

    Dean Mighell was seen in Parliament last week with O’brien applying for the COS job. I dont see how Kapel could knock back someone so right ring as Mighell unless he’s concerned about his hobbys

  18. Sandy Taggert

    Has Rudd become the Premier of Victoria?

  19. Lark

    I thought Baillieu was going to cut the number of spindoctors and ministerial advisers, not merely bicker about who gets who.

  20. Bob Dillon

    Andy, the dailies have not touched this story. Why are they so weak on getting the news?

  21. Kroogerite leaking again

    When you are part of the Kroger faction can you really expect to be appointed after all you have done?

  22. Anonymous

    RDR is waiting for working with children permits to come through first before he can employ staff

  23. Anonymous

    I agree with anon…16FEb …1744
    the petty micro managing paranoia must stop. We voted for the Libs…were is the good, the fix, the positive. Get over your win and get on with it!! Be respectful, trusting and normal. You won…stop being caught up in the political party bitching that is ruining this country federally and state! AND stop wasting money working out your staff!!!! And be kind to your own staff and Ministers

  24. move it along kapel

    Why doesn’t Kapel focus on getting staff with substance– significant education and experience. It just may help them a bit with robust policy making, rather then boring spin and shortsighted narrow policy, that will see them out of office sooner, rather than later.

  25. Septic sceptic

    Wacko Jacko – the post nominals you use are not valid. Long service medals and a gong for going to that holiday camp in Malaysia for a few months are fine but nothing to brag about.

  26. Captain (Retard) Wacko Jacko (Active) WANKER

    Septic sceptic, whatever could you mean?

  27. Giuseppe De Simone

    In defence of Julian Sheezel, he did run a very successful campaign – at the 2004 Federal election when he kept the Greens vote down. Unfortunately, that all came to nought in 2007 when we lost a bunch of seats that had been held in 1998, 2001 and 2004. Also, the 2006 State election did see a significant narrowing of ALP margins in many seats and some really talented new members. This set up the 2010 election victory.

    Sheezel was a vastly more competent State Director than Poggioli who was the engineer of the 1999 disaster. However, Poggioli is now enjoying the spoils of victory and I cannot begrudge him that because of his total loyalty to the Jeffistas such as D2 and Baillieu under the watchful eye of Petro.

    By the way, I am still impressed with the performance of the Premier.

    I am delighted that as a result of a relative paucity of trusted advisers we have a government that is moving reasonably slowly and carefully. In fact, the less any government does, the better off we all are as citizens and tax-payers. That is why I voted for the Liberals – I want a government that does as little as possible, preferably much less than the previous government.

  28. Anonymous

    Why on earth are minisertial staff not sorted at this stage of the game? Major issues not beginning to be sorted? Why are the cattle men back in the NE ranges? Libs looking after their mates? Political donation pay back? Where is the new governments conviction to its promises and representing a steadfast solid new government? Seems that’s only held in the Premier’s office. That’s all sorted. Cronies in place. Henchman in place. Insular. Internalised insecure Premier’s office. Out of your depth is what is coming through!!!

  29. When are you going to post again? You really entertain a lot of people!

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