Secretary provides facts on false reporting in The Australian

Secretary provides facts on false reporting in The Australian

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Departmental logo and crest

The article in today’s The Australian contains a series of assertions about departmental support for Ministers who submitted their resignations during the past week.

There is no factual basis for any of these assertions relating to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet or me.

Neither Prime Minister Turnbull nor his office issued any direction to me or my department about any of the alleged matters.

Nor did I issue any ‘official instruction’ as claimed. No such instruction, official or unofficial, exists. 

Had either of the journalists checked the facts with me or my department we would have clarified these matters.

I have contacted The Australian to seek a retraction.

My Department was approached on this issue by The Daily Telegraph last Thursday and we provided the following response:

Dr Parkinson has not issued instructions to departments to cease communications with Ministers or their offices.  All Australian Government departments continue to provide support to their Ministers. Where Ministers have resigned, there is a period of transition before support services are ceased.  All policy and operational engagement ceases when a Minister’s resignation has been accepted.

A key requirement is that departing Ministers and their office be supported and accorded utmost courtesy and respect, a message I emphasised to Secretaries this week.

The Australian Public Service has an important role to play during a change in the Prime Ministership or ministry. I am disappointed that our reputation has been called into question by false reporting.

I have only observed public servants acting with complete professionalism throughout this week. 

Martin Parkinson