TAFE SA, Director Appointment

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:48 :05 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills a question about an appointment by TAFE SA.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: Recently, Mr Jadynne Harvey was appointed as the Director of Policy and Strategy at TAFE SA. Members would recall that Mr Harvey was a former adviser to the Premier, drawing a salary of some $145,000, and was implicated in the Debelle report in 2013. My questions to the minister are:

1.When the position of Director of Policy and Strategy at TAFE SA created?

2.Was the vacancy advertised internally or externally?

3.Was the minister advertised of Mr Harvey's appointment prior to any public announcement?

4.Was the minister advised of Mr Harvey's application or approach for the position of Director of Policy and Strategy at TAFE SA?

5.Did the minister or any other member of the government or previous Labor minister provide a recommendation or reference for Mr Harvey in support of his application, either written or orally?

6.Will the minister rule out that any involvement, either formally or informally, of any government minister or government official in Mr Harvey's appointment as Director of Policy and Strategy at TAFE SA?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 15:49 :19 ): I see that the break has not improved the disposition of the opposition; it continues to come into this place with snide innuendo and has no compunction whatsoever about possibly damaging the reputation of good people.

As honourable members in this place know, TAFE SA is an independent statutory authority. It has its own board and makes its own independent decisions in relation to staffing matters and employment matters. I understand that it fairly recently did a review of its executive and the employment and hiring of staff is completely a matter for the board and its executive. If the honourable member wants answers to those questions he would need to contact TAFE SA, the chair, Mr Peter Vaughan, and I invite him to ask the appropriate authority.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:50 :46 ): I have a supplementary question. Has the minister been briefed or sought a briefing on how Mr Harvey was appointed as the Director of Policy and Strategy at TAFE SA?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 15:50 :59 ): I have just answered the question. It is a completely independent matter for the board; it is an independent statutory authority. The board is independent and it makes its own independent decisions concerning staffing and other operational matters. As minister, I would not seek to interfere. The hiring and firing of staff is an operational matter for TAFE SA.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:51 :28 ): I have a further supplementary. Can the minister confirm that the position was not advertised by TAFE SA?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 15:51 :36 ): If the honourable member wants an answer to that question he would need to go and ask TAFE SA. It is a matter for TAFE SA. I do not know what its particular procedures are for each staff member: it is a matter for them. If the Hon. David Ridgway is genuine in wanting to know what process was undertaken for that particular appointment, or any appointment, he would need to ask TAFE SA: it is responsible for its own internal processes.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:52 :07 ): I have a further supplementary question. Is the minister saying that she supports no transparency in the appointment of people in government agencies and, especially in this case, she is unaware if the position was advertised or not?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 15:52 :22 ): I have just answered the question. The employment practices for TAFE SA are a matter for TAFE SA: it is an independent statutory authority and it is responsible for its own staffing policies. If the honourable member wants answers and he wants to know the details of operational matters, I invite him to contact TAFE SA and ask those questions.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:52 :54 ): I have a final supplementary question. When did the minister become aware of Mr Jadynne Harvey's appointment to the role?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 15:53 :01 ): I could not give you a date. I was informed after he was informed—

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: So you were briefed.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I was not briefed. I was informed of his appointment some time after he was appointed but I do not have the date in my mind.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: So you were briefed.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I was not briefed. What I said was that I was informed of his appointment. I do not know when that was. It was relatively recently; some time between the parliament sitting and now. I don't know the exact date. I was advised that he was appointed and that was it.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:53 :44 ): I am sorry, Mr President, but I have one final supplementary question. Is the minister advised of all TAFE SA appointments?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers) ( 15:53 :56 ): Most of the senior ones I am.

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: So you are briefed.

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: I'm not briefed.

The PRESIDENT: Just for your information, the Hon. Mr Ridgway, you can ask as many supplementary questions as you want as long as they are relevant.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: I know, thank you, Mr President.

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