The Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary Andrew Leigh has been caught up in trickery by a major Australian Government Corporation, the Indigenous Land Incorporation (ILC), to circumvent the Act under which it is governed, Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion said.
“It was revealed in Senate Estimates Julia Gillard’s right hand man, Andrew Leigh, was involved with Minister Jenny Macklin’s department in a ploy that involved the resignation of the acting CEO of the ILC Bruce Gemmel a few weeks before the end of his six month term. He was then re-hired a few weeks later for a further six months. All this to get around the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Act (ATSI),” Senator Scullion said.
“Section 192P (1) of the ATSI Act requires that acting appointments for the CEO be no more than six months and the process around the resignation and re-appointment of Mr Gemmel was done in such a way to get around that section of the Act.
“The Cabinet handbook requires the Prime Minister to approve significant appointments therefore Mr Leigh, with the full authority of the Prime Minister, approved both the initial appointment and the re-appointment of Mr Gemmell, and engaged in this trickery.
“He has his fingerprints all over this clumsy plan to circumvent the act, showing his contempt for the law because if Mr Gemmell had served his full six month term he could not have been re-appointed.
“At the February estimates, Mr Gemmell admitted while he had resigned on paper he continued to use his ILC phone, kept his keys to the office, was not removed from the ILC email list and he even chaired a corporate management meeting in Adelaide – all at ILC expense and all while he was no longer an employee of ILC.
“It was a Clayton’s resignation with proper governance, Australian taxpayers and Indigenous Australians the losers.
“The Act that governs the ILC is meant to protect a publicly-funded multi-million concern that should be focussed on helping Indigenous Australians close the gap,” Senator Scullion said.
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ILC CEO PM Pal Sec release.pdf