The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (15:50): Members will be aware that Mr Lance Worrell was a long-term economics and political adviser to the Premier. Members will probably recall that the thesis for his original degree at the University of Adelaide Department of Politics went under the title ‘Marxist Theory and the State’.
In the middle of 2008 he was appointed chief executive of the Public Sector Performance Commission. I asked a series of questions back in 2009 about that appointment—on 30 April and 3 July 2009. Unsurprisingly, the minister and the Premier have refused to answer those questions as of this day, in particular the details and length of Mr Worrall’s contract.
Having instituted an FOI in 2009, amongst many interesting details we established that he was never an applicant for that position: he says he was asked to apply. But term 3.5 of his original contract has the very interesting provision as follows:
If the executive [that is, Mr Worrall] is not reappointed to the position at the expiry of this agreement, it is noted that the Premier intends that he will return to his substantive position of senior adviser, economy policy, in the office of the Premier.
So Mr Worrall had organised a fallback position as ministerial adviser with the Premier should he not be reappointed to the position of chief of the public sector—
The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins interjecting:
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Well, it was about half the amount of money: instead of $300,000‑plus, it would have been around $150,000 in that particular office. A range of questions I put, in particular as to whether or not he had been appointed to a five-year or three-year contract in that position, have never been answered by the Premier and the minister. Yesterday I indicated in a question to the leader that the Premier and the government were currently involved in negotiations with Mr Worrall to find him a new position in the public sector, I believe for a contract term of up to five years and at an annual pay of $300,000 a year or higher. It is interesting to note that, when asked for a comment by the The Advertiser, the Premier’s office refused to make any comment about the claim I put on the public record in the council yesterday.
Further information provided to me today indicates that one of the positions being considered currently is as the chief executive officer of the Department of Trade and Economic Development. Certainly, if that is the case and they continue to appoint persons to chief executive officer positions like that without going through some sort of advertising and public process, the Premier and the government should attract great criticism.
Given the history of this department, when in its early days the government appointed to the position rampaging Ray Garrand, a former economics adviser to premier Bannon and a very close Labor associate not only in this state but also in Queensland, subsequently the government appointed Mr Brian Cunningham. Without criticising Mr Cunningham in relation to his political affiliation (because I do not know it, and make no claim), he certainly had a Port Adelaide affiliation, which is of course shared with the Premier and the Deputy Premier. He was appointed to the department known as DFEEST (or whatever was its acronym at the time), and when that was unsuccessful he was appointed to the Department of Trade and Economic Development (DTED); and when that was unsuccessful, earlier this year he indicated that he would not continue in the position.
The history of this most important position—chief executive officer of DTED—has been a sad one in terms of the government’s record of managing the department. There is no doubt that there is significant criticism in the business and trade community about the poor performance of this department, and certainly, in my very strong view, it should not be continued by the appointment of Mr Lance Worrall, if that is one of the positions Mr Rann is contemplating. We seek a public assurance from Mr Rann that he will not be appointing Mr Worrall to this position, certainly without advertising and merit selection. We want Mr Rann to start answering the questions that we asked in this house back in 2009 about the appointment of Mr Worrall to previous positions.