The number of Ministerial staff and spin doctors in the Weatherill Government is far greater than the 107 published in this week’s Government Gazette, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today.
The true figure (including media monitoring staff) is 273, according to a leaked copy of the Government’s confidential Ministerial staff directory for December 2011.
“The Gazette listing of 107 staff gives a very misleading impression of the total number of spin doctors and Ministerial staff employed by Premier Weatherill and his Ministers, and is in fact just the tip of the iceberg,” Mr Lucas said.
“Premier Weatherill’s total of 273 staff is a massive increase on the 191 staff employed by the former Liberal Government in December 2001.
“This massive increase of 82 staff would be costing taxpayers at least $6 million per year, or $24 million over a four year term of Government.
“This is yet another example of the warped priorities of the Weatherill Government – whilst jobs are being slashed in health and education and across the board, 82 extra staff are being employed to try and make Labor Ministers look competent.
“Mr Weatherill is obviously embarrassed about the large number of staff in Ministers’ offices because since the middle of last year his government has been refusing to release copies of the confidential Ministerial staff directory under Freedom of Information.
“It is beyond belief that a Minister like Russell Wortley, who has such limited portfolio responsibilities, requires 15 full-time staff, 3 part-time staff and a Ministerial Chauffeur.
“Minister Wortley only has responsibility for Industrial Relations and State/Local Government Relations. Virtually all responsibility for Industrial Relations is now in the federal arena and for the first time ever the Premier removed responsibility for WorkCover from the Minister for Industrial Relations.
“In the last three months, Minister Wortley employed prominent unionist Jimmy Watson as a Ministerial Liaison Officer for Industrial Relations even though he already had (and has kept) another officer filling the same position of Ministerial Liaison Officer – Industrial Relations.
“Minister Wortley has been refusing to answer questions in Parliament on how much money Mr Watson is being paid.
“Premier Weatherill needs to explain to taxpayers why his Ministers need 82 more Ministerial staff and spin doctors than the last Liberal Government required.”
Confidential Ministerial Staff Directory Figures: December 2011
MINISTER / NUMBER OF STAFF
Hon Jay Weatherill 21
Media Monitors 10
Hon John Rau 18
Hon Gail Gago 20
Hon Patrick Conlon 17
Hon Jack Snelling 19
Hon John Hill 20
Hon Jennifer Rankine 19
Hon Paul Caica 20
Hon Tom Koutsantonis 17
Hon Michael O’Brien 14
Hon Grace Portolesi 18
Hon Tom Kenyon 14
Hon Russell Wortley 15
Hon Chloe Fox 13
Hon Ian Hunter 18