Cited and rejected? Better than peer review!

Mr Morrison's Multiple Ministries Meme by Mr Morrison

My submission to the inquiry into Morrison's Multiple Ministries was cited in the final reportReport of the Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments. But ultimately rejected. It's good to be part of the process and even though my recommendations were rejected, they were cited. So it's like being rejected for a journal but they cite you. So that's good.

The submissions will be published on Monday. Here is the section from today's Report of the Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments (p. 94) relating to my submission. It did not pick up on my (and others') position that the habit of holding inquiries into previous governments does more to erode trust than Morrison's bizarre actions (see my full submission), but that is the nature of our inquiry process:

In contrast to these views, Dr Michael de Percy contended that public confidence in government is “unlikely to reside in the minutiae of constitutional legal opinion”. Dr de Percy questioned the assumption that transparency necessarily leads to more trust in government, by reference to the findings of a study that “national cultural differences are an important independent variable in assessing whether transparency leads to increased trust". Putting to one side the nuances of the constitutional debate raised by these appointments, and accepting that many variables bear on the quality of trust in government, it is difficult to conclude that the assumption of the capacity to exercise significant public power in secret is not one of those variables.

In the meantime, The Guardian has suggested that the report "lays waste" to Morrison's reasons for appointing himself to the multiple ministries. To be sure, it was unnecessary, but the inherent flexibility in our Westminster system is now likely to be curtailed yet again.

In response, I have written the following letter to The Guardian:

Karp over-reaches in headlining with "lays waste". That Morrison's self-appointment did not "appear to have been closely thought through" was obvious. Voters had already rejected the Morrison government for being on the nose. Yes, it was "exorbitant", "bizarre", and "unnecessary". But the obvious glee your reporter takes in forgetting the laying of waste of the Morrison government by voters is equally "bizarre". Perhaps more journalists acting as the fourth estate rather than "inexcusable" partisan reports on behalf of the government would be more appropriate. It will be interesting to see what inquiry the next government launches into this current government after its rejection by voters.

I find it interesting that my colleagues picked up on the Australian Financial Review on their headlining when I saw no issue, but the letters were still published. Whether that happens on the other side of politics remains to be seen.